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News 2014-15

Preview to Plymouth Albion (H) 08.11.14

06/11/2014

The Hungry Men: a tale of two
Coaches

Hungry

After a four-week gap, it's almost certainly understating
matters to say that the return to Championship action is
eagerly-awaited.

For Jersey and Plymouth Albion, getting back into the swing of
things in the league has the added spice of a crucial game for both
clubs. The Islanders have made the better start, lying eighth in
the table with 11 points, while Albion have just two bonus points
and are currently bottom.

There are certain similarities between the situation when Ealing
Trailfinders - also without a win - visited the Island last
November to play Jersey, who also had 11 points. On that occasion
the lower-ranked team had the hunger to win and claimed a deserved
success, which proved to be the final act in Ben Harvey's time in
charge of the Island side.

Albion's hunger for victory is considerable and long-lasting: the
men from Devon have lost 15 straight competitive matches since an
18-33 win at Bedford on March 8th. The losing run began with a home
defeat by Jersey the following Saturday, and their most recent
match went the same way, with Harvey Biljon's team taking the
spoils in a British & Irish Cup tie at Brickfields two weekends
ago. Unlike Ealing 12 months ago, Plymouth are certainly not
adrift: Moseley have also yet to win a game, and Bedford are only
just clear, and it's easy to forget the season remains in its early
stages - there are 17 of the 22 games still to play.

The spoils of victory will be significant - with Jersey sensing
the calm waters of mid-table could be within their grasp, while
Albion seek to turn a corner and move away from the bottom. The
significance of victory is magnified by tough schedules during the
rest of November before the next Cup break - Jersey travel to
London Scottish and Worcester, while Albion host Worcester and
travel to Leeds.

Biljon will be desperate to underline to his squad the importance
of not taking Saturday's opponents lightly and the irrelevance of
the league table. Meanwhile his counterpart James Shanahan knows
that Albion need to recapture the ability to win games, which they
did regularly for three-quarters of his first season in charge. Two
hungry groups of men will be chasing a single set of meal tickets -
this won't be for the faint-hearted.

News from the Jersey camp

Jersey hope to have prop Sam Lockwood back for the first time
since the previous league outing at Bedford, and have some
interesting selection issues elsewhere. Will it be Aaron Penberthy
or Jonny Bentley at fly-half? Can skipper Alex Rae force his way
into the engine room, or will he play in the back row or on the
bench? Which of the many permutations in the back three will be
selected? The squad will be announced on Friday morning - check it
out HERE

Any previous? (click for links to match
reports)

November 2012 - Jersey 16 Albion 14
March 2013 - Albion 15 Jersey 19
September 2013 - Albion 41 Jersey 27
(played at Sandy Park, Exeter)
October 2013 - Jersey 18 Albion 23
(pictured below)
Plymouth Try
March 2014 - Albion 23 Jersey 30
October 2014 - Albion 16 Jersey 22
(B&I Cup)

Plymouth Albion - a potted history

Plymouth -albion -kit

Formed: 1875

Back in the day: in the early 20th Century Albion played
at Home Park, where Plymouth Argyle Football Club now play. In 1925
they moved to Beacon Park, their home until the move to the current
ground, Brickfields, in 2003

Famous sons: two internationals became Player-Coaches of
the club - the Cornishman Graham Dawe and his successor, the Fijian
Nat Saumi. The latter announced he was stepping down following a
home defeat by Jersey in March 2013

Jersey connections: Islander Ross Allen, who has been
playing for Jersey Athletic this season, played for Albion from
2007-09. This season, the Devon side signed former Jersey duo Tom
Fidler and Jimmy Williams. Scrum-half Williams was a short-term
deal prior to his going travelling, but Fidler is in the long haul
and has featured in all five league matches so far

League history: Started at level three, then known as
Courage League Three, in 1987/88. Promoted in 1988/89 but relegated
after two seasons and didn't return to the second tier until
2003.

The Greene King IPA Championship this
weekend

There are three games on Friday night, with Worcester and Bristol
looking to cement their positions at the top with home wins over
Bedford and Doncaster, while Rotherham travel to Yorkshire Carnegie
for a county derby. On Saturday Moseley host London Scottish at
12noon, while the Sunday game sees Nottingham travel to
Penzance.

See HERE for the full
preview to round 6

And finally

The Colts are the other JRFC team in action this weekend, with an
away match at Basingstoke on Sunday. Jersey Athletic aren't
playing, but will be running out at St Peter next Saturday,
November 15th, for a showdown with the Highlanders of London
Scottish. The 12noon start allows time for a great day of it with
lunch in the clubhouse and wall-to-wall Autumn internationals on
the TV.

Always interesting to see how former JRFC players get on, and it's
especially heartening to see those who have defied injury and
resumed playing. Step forward Charlie Walker-Blair, who was only in
Jersey for a few months in 2013, but played a key role in some
crucial wins for the club and certainly put his body on the line
(see below).

Charlie WB

A proposed move to Sale in summer 2013 was scuppered due to
injury, but Charlie's been back in action for his old club Taunton,
who are flying high in National Two South, and scored two tries
last weekend, earning himself a place in the Team of the Week
selected by writer Nick Verdier of The Rugby Paper.

Enjoy your weekend's rugby!

Tom Innes

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