By Andi Starr
Nottingham completed their British and Irish Cup campaign, but
it was another disappointing result.
Plymouth Albion's 34-23 win saw them finish top of Pool 4 to
progress to the next stage of the competition. It was also their
first ever win at Meadow Lane.
The Green and Whites had worked hard to take a six-point lead
after a bright start from the visitors, but all their good work
came undone when they had two players sin-binned in the space of
less than two minutes. Albion made them pay, rattling up 17 points
in the time they had the numerical advantage.
A late rally from Nottingham saw them force a consolation
Albion had a try disallowed in only the third minute, but
quickly forced a penalty for Dan Mugford to give them an early
Nottingham soon levelled though when the visitors were penalised
for not releasing a tackled player, Matt Jarvis landing the
Albion showed their adventure minutes later when they spurned a
kickable penalty, instead opting to go for touch. It paid off for
them as hooker Davy McGregor scored in the left hand corner.
Mugford added the conversion to make it 3-10.
The Green and Whites then forced a penalty on the visitors' 10
metre line and although Jarvis was off target, Albion put the
restart kick straight into touch and were then penalised at the
resulting scrum. Jarvis slotted over the kick from in front of the
posts to make it 6-10 just past the midway point of the first
Nottingham then took a scrum against the head and almost scored
in the corner, but when they worked the ball back infield Sean
Romans got through a gap to touch down, giving Jarvis another
straightforward kick to make it 13-10.
And Jarvis was again on target five minutes later to put over
his third penalty to make it 16-10.
The game turned heavily in Albion's favour though with those two
yellow cards and they made their numerical advantage count -
Mugford adding the penalty following Montagu's card to make it
16-13 at half time - and then running in two quick tries at the
start of the second half following Calladine's sin-binning.
First it was back row man Rob Langley who crossed just two
minutes after the break following a close range lineout, Mugford
Three minutes later winger Tom Bowen cut through the defence to
score and Mugford made it 16-27 with the conversion.
It took the Green and Whites a while to get back into their
stride once they were back up to full strength, but Ryan Hough
almost got through when he set off on an angled run having taken
the pass from a quick lineout.
But it was Albion having the better of the second half and after
having one try disallowed they got the bonus point try they needed
when replacement Sam Matavesi crashed over following a long spell
of pressure in the home 22. Mugford's conversion made it 16-34.
In the last few minutes of the game Nottingham put together
their best spell and stretched the visitors' defence, with
Sean-Michael Steven eventually sin-binned.
As Nottingham piled on the pressure the referee awarded a
penalty try, which Jarvis converted to make it 23-34.