Match report by Rob Kershaw / Photography by David Cunningham
A late Jamie Salter try was not enough to secure any more than a losing bonus point for Plymouth Albion as an underwhelming performance saw them lose at home for the seventh time this season in National League One.
One try, one drop goal and three penalties secured the points during a tremendous afternoon for Chinnor, and a painful one for the hosts.
Seventh-placed Chinnor had claimed four wins on the road this season with eight victories overall, although they fell to a tight defeat to Albion in Oxfordshire when the sides met late last year.
This had seemed like a decent opportunity to put five points in the bag in Albion’s bid to avoid relegation, but blustery and eventually stormy conditions made for extreme difficulties with ball in hand.
It made for a scrappy start, with the referee utilising his whistle more than he would perhaps have been expecting, and both sides exchanged scrums and penalties in a cagey opening 10 minutes that featured an abundance of errors.
From one of the penalties Connor Eastgate, who had returned from injury, took the optimistic option kicking from just over halfway, but the swirling wind saw the ball clatter against the post and bounce away.
The home side were then very nearly in as Herbie Stupple looked to have the freedom of Brickfields to run into the Chinnor half and score, but he failed to collect a pass and the chance dissolved into the rain.
Concern began to grow that Albion’s failure to capitalise on a host of opportunities was always going to cost them eventually, and it did as Willie Ryan scrambled over the line for the away side, before James Bourton clotted the conversion.
It looked for all the world as though Kieran Goss would glide through the Albion defence to further extend the advantage, but just as he waded into what looked like try-scoring space in behind, he was denied by a phenomenal tackle by George Mills.
Albion got the second half under way brightly, earning themselves a penalty. Sadly for them though, Chinnor established further momentum, and spent large parts of the opening 15 minutes of the second period camped in the hosts’ territory.
Albion got the all-important breakthrough though, when Shea Cornish found acres of space in behind, and slid across the line to get Plymouth on the board for the first time; Eastgate’s conversion flew narrowly wide.
From there it was the Luke Carter show. In quick succession, he slotted home a drop goal followed by a penalty, and three more points were then added by the boot of Bourton. Albion looked in trouble – they were not within bonus point range, and Chinnor had vehement responses for every bit of attempted attack being thrown at them.
There would be a further act of defiance left in Plymouth, however, as Salter powered over, before Tom Putt’s conversion just about snuck through the posts having been temporarily halted by the wind.
The referee awarded Chinnor a late penalty for an illegal charge down, and Carter put through the sticks for the third time in the game to see out the win.
The loss denied Albion the chance to move above 13th, but Leeds’ defeat at home to Caldy left them five points clear of the bottom two and prevented a further descent down the table, with a trip to Birmingham Moseley up next.
Craig Duncan, Shea Cornish, Ben Parsons, Phil Jones, Alex Ducker, Connor Eastgate, Henry Clement, Ramaz Rukhadze, Jamie Salter, Dan Pullinger, Wayne Sprangle, Jake Clemson, Torin Clarke, George Mills, Herbie Stupple
Frankie Nowell, Harry Wilkinson, Danny Southworth, Luke Chapman, Tom Putt
Kieran Goss, Josh Hodgson, Jason Worall, James Bourton, Dean Hammond, Nick Smith, Luke Carter, Soane Tonga-Wiha, Charley Robinson, Alex Hunt, Ben Glynn, Connor Brockschmidt, Willie Ryan, Ben Manning, Fred Tuilagi
Replacements: Keston Lines, Bradley Harewood, Alfie North, Max Heathman, Jack Walsh
Join us on Saturday 2nd April for our next home fixture against Tonbridge Juddians.