A hat trick from skipper Brent Wilson put Nottingham in
a position to make a winning start to life at The Bay, but it took
a last gasp penalty from Rory Lynn to finally clinch the points
with a 22-19 victory over Plymouth Albion.
They forged enough chances in the first quarter to have won
handsomely, but their execution let them down.
Fighting for their lives - on and off the pitch - Albion looked
capable of capitalising on such wastefulness but Lynn's kick, the
last of the game, meant they travelled home with just a losing
bonus point for their efforts.
Albion had chances of their own, with Declan Cusack missing four
first half kicks at goal.
It was a big occasion in Nottingham's history: a great deal of
hard work has gone into creating a good facility, and no-one was
disappointed. Comments about a "proper rugby club" came from all
quarters of the ground.
But the game was marred by a serious injury to Dan Mugford, who
has made such a big impression for Nottingham this season and was
playing against his former club.
After Cusack had missed an early penalty Mugford started a break
out of defence that almost brought a try, but landed badly as he
was tackled. After a lengthy delay he had to be stretchered
A threatening break form Paul Grant again put the Green and
Whites in a scoring position but they lost control of the ball.
As Albion counter-attacked a good tackle from Billy Robinson
kept them out but they quickly forced a second penalty chance only
for Cusack to pull his kick wide.
A third break form Nottingham, this time from Toby Freeman, set
up another good position but an interception allowed Albion to race
out of defence, with winger Ben Foley getting clear for the game's
opening try midway through the first half.
Cusack was off target with his conversion attempt, and minutes
later Foley also had to leave the action with injury.
As the Green and Whites looked to get straight back into the
game it was Grant who took them into another scoring position, only
for a knock on to frustrate them.
Cusack finally found his range to add a penalty to make it 0-8
just before the half hour, but a powerful scrum from the Nottingham
pack brought them a penalty which they put into the corner.
The resulting lineout saw Wilson drop over for his first of the
day, with replacement Lynn adding the conversion to make it
Albion hit back almost immediately, taking advantage of missed
tackle for Eoghan Grace to cross, but Cusack could not add the
Another penalty in first half injury time brought Nottingham
another close range lineout, and a second try for Wilson to go in
at half time leading 14-13, Lynn having converted.
Wilson's third in the early minutes of the second half made it
19-13 and he was unlucky not to get a fourth when the ball was
knocked out of his hands as he crossed the line.
The visitors frustrated Nottingham's attempts to stretch their
lead, and when they had the opportunity to counter they did so
effectively only for handling errors let them down.
Eventually they forced a couple of penalties, and a change of
kicker brought a change of fortunes as replacement Lawrence Rayner
landed six points in as many minutes to level the scores and set up
a tense last few minutes.
As Nottingham looked to force a winning score a close range
scrum brought them a penalty for Lynn, who won it with what proved
to be the last kick of the game.