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FULL TIME: Nottingham Rugby 30 Plymouth Albion 22

IT was back to the bread and butter of the Championship for Nottingham, and they maintained their push for the play-offs with a 30-22 win over Plymouth Albion at Meadow Lane.

Hough try

HAT-TRICK HERO: Ryan Hough crossing over for first of his treble against Plymouth. Pic: Steve Galloway.

For three quarters of this game there was only one side in it as the Green and Whites enjoyed one of their more dominant afternoons.

But for all their possession they couldn't quite put the game beyond the visitors, and the final quarter saw Albion come more into it and force a couple of tries in injury time.

James Arlidge's early penalty effort drifted across the face of the posts, but it was only a matter of minutes before Nottingham opened the scoring.

David Jackson beat a couple of challenges down the right to find Joe Cobden who then sent Ryan Hough clear for a try in the corner.

It was a similar move that brought a try for Alex Lewington after some impressive skill from Cobden.

A rare counter attack form the visitors took them deep into the home 22 but they were penalised for not releasing.

On the half hour Nottingham extended their lead following a penalty reversal on halfway. Driving from the resulting lineout, the pack drew in the defence before a fine pass from Joe Munro sent Hough in for his second. Arlidge was on target this time to make it 17-nil with the conversion.

And it took a last ditch tackle to deny Hough his hat trick as the Green and Whites continued to dominate.

It was against the run of play that Albion finally got their first points on the board when Paul Roberts landed a penalty on the forty minute mark.

Nottingham were straight back on the attack, but an interception midway inside the Albion 22 allowed winger Tom Bowen a clear run almost the length of the field to get their first try, Roberts' conversion the last kick of the half.

That meant that despite near-total domination Nottingham went in at the break with just a seven-point lead.

Their response in the early stages of the second half was clinical and professional as they quickly clawed back the points given away, with Arlidge slotting over a penalty before Hough completed his hat trick, again put clear by Jackson. Arlidge added the conversion followed by a penalty minutes later to make it 30-10.

Surprisingly though, that proved to be their last score and it was Albion who finished the game the stronger.

Their best attack of the game saw them camp on the Nottingham line, and although Alex Shaw was yellow-carded some heroic defence kept that line intact.

The visitors finally forced a try in the fifth minute of injury time as No 8 Aaron Carpenter touched down.

Everyone expected the final whistle but play continued for another four minutes when, somehow, full back Rhodri McAtee managed to weave through some half-hearted tackles for a third try, replacement kicker Declan Cusack knocking over the conversion with the last kick of the game.

Nottingham Rugby: Jackson, Lewington, Cobden (sub: Forsyth 58mins),  Munro, Hough, Arldige (sub: Lynn 78 mins), Romans (sub: Barnham 78  mins), Parr (sub: Harris 54nins), Duffey (sub: Malton 71 mins), Bower,  Quinn (sub: Wells 58 mins), Rouse (sub: Calladine 75 mins), Cooper,  Wilson, Shaw.

Nottingham Rugby 30 (R Hough 3 A Lewington Tries; J Arlidge 2 Conv; J Arlidge 2 Pen) Plymouth Albion 22 (T Bowden A Carpenter R McAtee Try; P Roberts 2 Conv; P Robert Pen)

Referee: S Harding Attendance: 1,370


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