The Big Match: Club v Plymouth Albion

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Right then, it’s time to put down all those new socks you’ve been lovingly staring at, finish the turkey leftovers and put that peaty malt back inn its cupboard.  Barely have we recovered from the thrills and spills of the pre-Christmas derby at Elthamians, than the New Year is here and the men in red and black prepare for the visit of Plymouth Albion (9th) to Well Hall.

The Devon side have not had the best start to the season by their own standards and are looking to kick start their campaign when they visit Southeast London on Saturday.

The League

National One as at Friday 4 January 2019

Psn Club Pld W    D L F A PD TBP LBP Points
1 Old Elthamians 16 11 2 3 422 304 118 7 2 57
2 Blackheath 16 12 1 3 384 291 93 5 1 56
3 Rosslyn Park 16 11 1 4 420 360 60 9 1 56
4 Ampthill & District 16 10 1 5 427 297 130 9 4 55
5 Rotherham 16 11 0 5 407 322 85 7 2 53
6 Chinnor 16 8 2 6 423 411 12 8 4 48
7 Caldy 16 8 0 8 356 379 -23 6 4 42
8 Cinderford 16 7 1 8 319 349 -30 5 4 39
9 Plymouth Albion 16 7 0 9 319 331 -12 5 5 38
10 Darlington Mowden Park 16 7 0 9 352 401 -49 7 3 38
11 Cambridge 16 7 1 8 312 318 -6 2 5 37
12 Sale FC 16 6 1 9 421 474 -53 6 4 36
13 Esher 16 6 0 10 323 411 -88 3 5 32
14 Birmingham Moseley 16 5 0 11 418 477 -59 6 6 32
15 Bishops Stortford 16 4 0 12 324 311 13 3 7 26
16 Loughborough Students 16 3 0 13 387 578 -191 8 5 25

Past Meetings and Recent Results

Albion dropped into National One for the 2015/16 season and have had the better of the encounters since that time.  They have won 4 of the 7 encounters between the sides, although only one of those was away from home.  Having said that, they have scored more points (82) in the London end of the fixture than their hosts (73), although that away win  – a big 7 (1) to 48 (8) reversal in April 2017 – is largely responsible.

Blackheath just sneaked the equivalent fixture last season 32 (4) – 31 (4) in the season opener on 2 September.  They also won this year’s reverse fixture, their first win at Brickfields, again a very squeaky 20 (3) – 21 (2) victory on the Southwest coast.         

More recently, our guests have had something of Christmas purple patch, having won their last three.  Back on 8 December, they beat Sale FC 14 (2) – 7 (1) at Brickfields.  The following weekend, they trounced Loughborough Students 6 (0) – 34 (5) in Leicestershire and followed this with a squeaky 19 (3) – 16 (1) home win over Esher in the last game of the year.

Match Day Details

Kick off at Well hall is at 3pm.  The man in the middle is Dr Jonathan Cook, ably assisted around the edges by Stephen Light and Philip Bowers.   

Expect some chilly and cloudy weather over the weekend with the occasional burst of sunshine.  It will stay dry with temperatures reaching no more than around 5 degrees during the afternoon.  The wind will be a very light 6/7 mph northwesterly.       

Team News

Blackheath First XV V Plymouth Albion  HOME 5 January 2019

15.       Joe TARRANT

14.       Jake LLOYD

13.       Henry STAFF

12.       Markus BURCHAM (Capt)

11.       Craig DOWSETT

10.       Mark COOKE

9.         Jack DALY

1.         Tom WILLIAMS

2.         Mike PERKS

3.         Danny HERRIOTT

4.         Tom STRADWICK

5.         Neale PATRICK

6.         Freddie OWEN

7.         Harry BATE

8.         Anders NILSSON

16.       Harry FRY

17.       George DAVIS

18.       James CATT

19.       Stef LIEBENBERG

20.       Elliott CLEMENTS-HILL

   

Around the Grounds

Top of the shop Old Elthamians (1st) have the potential banana skin of the long haul to the Northeast and the Darlington Arena to meet DMP (10th).   Their hosts fell 25 (3) – 13 (12) away at Rotherham just before Christmas and will be looking to inject some life into their season after a lacklustre first half.

Lurking behind the two Southeast London clubs and waiting for any slip up are Rosslyn Park (3rd).  They sneaked a narrow win 25 (3) – 27 (3) away at Bishop’s Stortford last time out and this time are probably favourites at home to Rotherham (5th).  Ampthill (4th), also within striking distance of the top spot, follow a 38 (5) – 27 (4) home win over Chinnor with a trip to Esher’s (13th) Molesey Road headquarters.  The Surrey side are looking to recover from a narrow 19 (3) – 16 (1) loss at Plymouth and will need to put in a big shift if they are to see off one of the league’s serious title contenders.

Chinnor (6th) welcome Cambridge (11th) to Kingsey Road.  The guests were eventually winners in another tight pre-festive clash, beating Loughborough Students 25 (3) – 22 (3) at Volac Park although probably enter this match as underdogs.  And, speaking of the Students (16th), they will hope a strong showing against visiting Caldy (7th) will prevent them starting to fall adrift at the bottom of the table.

Cinderford (8th), big 38 (6) – 14 (2) year-end winners over Moseley, travel North to take on Sale FC (12th) at Heywood Road.  The hosts were also buoyed with festive cheer following a hard-fought 20 (2) – 23 (3) local derby win over Caldy.  Finally, a potentially exciting bottom of the table clash sees Moseley (14th) with home advantage over Bishop’s Stortford (15th).  These two have both had a season of very close calls in many of their games so this could be a real ding dong battle.    

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Tim Brindle

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