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Cup Campaign Ends in Defeat

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 penalty try.

Albion had a try disallowed in only the third minute, but quickly forced a penalty for Dan Mugford to give them an early lead.

Nottingham soon levelled though when the visitors were penalised for not releasing a tackled player, Matt Jarvis landing the kick.

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 half.

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 again converting.

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.


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