The Big Match: Plymouth Albion v Blackheath

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by Nick Sullivan

Well then, Blackheath end their league season against the opponent they played first time out tomorrow, although this time it is the men from Southeast London on the road as they travel the 250 miles southwest to Devon and the Brickfields home of Plymouth Albion (4th).

Albion have had a decent season, currently sitting fourth although have never really been in with a shout of the top spot.  They have suffered more than most with the weather this year and still have three games to play, which actually takes their season out to 12 May and that includes catch up games with 2 relegation threatened sides Loughborough Students and Rosslyn Park.  There are a number of permutations of results tomorrow that mean those games may not be played, but they are in the diary at the moment.   All this also means that Albion may be able to trade their current 4th place for 3rd by last knockings.

 

The League

National One as at Friday 27 April 2018

Psn Club Pld W D L F A PD TBP LBP Ded Pts
1 Coventry 29 26 0 3 1175 474 701 25 0 0 129
2 Darlington Mowden Park 29 22 1 6 814 620 194 19 2 0 111
3 Ampthill and District 29 18 4 7 761 535 226 16 5 0 101
4 Plymouth Albion 27 17 2 8 729 511 218 15 6 0 93
5 Blackheath 29 17 2 10 759 607 152 13 3 0 88
6 Old Elthamians 29 15 1 13 714 679 35 14 5 0 81
7 Birmingham Moseley 29 14 2 13 675 734 -59 13 6 0 79
8 Bishop’s Stortford 29 14 1 14 722 695 27 8 8 0 74
9 Esher 29 10 2 17 744 827 -83 17 8 0 69
10 Caldy 29 12 0 17 708 715 -7 12 8 0 68
11 Cambridge 29 13 0 16 584 593 -9 7 8 0 67
12 Loughborough Students 28 10 3 15 720 837 -117 10 5 0 61
13 Rosslyn Park 28 9 2 17 697 796 -99 14 7 0 61
14 Hull Ionians 29 10 1 18 664 903 -239 14 3 0 59
15 Old Albanian 29 9 1 19 606 886 -280 11 5 0 54
16 Fylde 29 3 0 26 398 1058 -660 4 4 0 20

 

Past Meetings and Recent Results

Since Albion joined National One in the 2015/16 the two sides have met each other on five occasions.  The Devon side hold the whip hand having won 3 games to Blackheath’s 2 and that includes both of last season’s fixtures.  The game at Well Hall earlier this year was a very close affair, the home side snatching a 32 (4) – 31 (4) victory with the final kick of the game.

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More recently, Albion have won two of their last three.  Relegation threatened Hull Ionians put in a big shift to beat Albion on Humberside back on 7 April, Ionians taking a 33(4) – 14 (2) home win on that occasion.  Subsequently, Plymouth have won close ties 28 (4) – 24 (4) at home to Moseley on 14 April and then 21 (3) – 24 (3) away at Old Albanian last weekend.

 

Match Day Details

Kick off at Brickfields is at 3pm.  The man in the middle is George Selwood, ably assisted by Christopher Bartlett and Andy Bickle, and it look like decent rugby weather tomorrow – not too hot, not too cold.  The forecast claims a slightly cloudy day with some sunny spells and temperatures up to about 11 degrees on the South coast.  No real wind is expected and there is only an outside chance of rain.

If you are not travelling to Devon this weekend, don’t forget the always excellent Graham Cox on BBC Radio Kent (96.7 FM, 104.2 FM, 774 AM, DAB & On-line) who provides live score updates and reports, post-match interviews, plus a full round-up National League results for all Kent clubs after 5.00 pm.

 

Around the Grounds

The excitement this week is at the bottom of the table, with the final relegation spot still to play for.  The side most under threat at present, Hull Ionians (14th) have a tough ask as they visit Coventry (1st) and must be hoping that some complacency creeps into the Champion’s game.

Rosslyn Park (13th), who have two games to play, will be looking for a big performance at home against already relegated Old Albanian (15th) in a match in which 4 points or more will see the Southwest London side safe from relegation.  A similar points tally will also keep Loughborough Students (12th) from the drop as they entertain Darlington Mowden Park (2nd) in Leicestershire.

Whilst there is still pride to play for, many of tomorrow’s remaining matches may be dead rubbers in practical terms.  Cambridge (11th) entertain bottom place Fylde (16th) at Volac Park and in the new boys’ clash, Caldy (10th) welcome Bishops Stortford (8th) to Paton Field.  The other new boys, Old Elthamians (6th) sign off their season with a home tie against Esher (9th) and, finally, Ampthill (3rd), who will look to cement their current third place, host Birmingham Moseley (7th) at Dillingham Park.

 

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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