Plymouth Albion 3 Rotherham 21
Plymouth Albion...3 Rotherham...21
PLYMOUTH Albion will only have pride to play for when they travel to Munster on Friday evening after losing 21-3 to Rotherham in their fifth British & Irish Cup Pool 7 match at a wet and windy Brickfields.
The defeat ended Albion's faint hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.
With just one game to go, they now trail pool leaders and reigning champions Munster by eight points and Rotherham by four.
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Albion could have no complaints about this loss to Rotherham, who had also beaten them 59-26 in the same competition at Clifton Lane earlier in the season.
In fact, they were lucky it was not by a larger score. Had Rotherham, who sit just above them in the Championship table, been remotely clinical it could have really been embarrassing.
Rotherham wasted so many good chances inside Albion's 22, whereas Plymouth only had one serious attempt inside Rotherham's 22.
However, up until the 70th minute it looked like Rotherham could pay for not turning their possession and territory into points as they only led 7-3 in a match that was spoilt by the weather.
But Albion then gifted them the softest of tries on 70th minute and they gave them another four minutes later.
Coach Nat Saumi will be hoping his team can restore some pride at Munster this coming weekend before Albion entertain Moseley in a vital Championship match at the end of the month.
Rotherham, playing into the strong wind, made a good start and dominated the opening period.
They wasted two good chances before they did eventually open the scoring on 13 minutes.
Albion lost the ball in their own 22 and Rotherham went right. It looked like Albion had got away with it when the Titans knocked on right on the line, but the referee gave the visitors a penalty which they took quickly and hooker Dan Baines crashed over.
Rotherham captain Garry Law needed a team-mate to hold the ball still but he still managed to put over the conversion and make it 7-0.
The visitors should have scored again on 18 minutes but they were penalised for holding on right on the line.
On 19 minutes Albion, who had not been out of their half with the ball, were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when Wayne Sprangle was shown a yellow card for a professional foul.
Rotherham wasted another great chance a minute later.
It took Albion until the 26th minute to have possession in Rotherham's half but they did not manage to get into their 22.
Rotherham lost hooker Baines with a serious knee injury on 32 minutes, which held the game up for five minutes.
That break took the momentum out of the visitors a bit and on 40 minutes Albion fly-half Paul Roberts kicked a long-range penalty to reduce the gap to four points.
Albion did have their best chance of the game in first half injury-time when flanker Harrison Tovey broke through Rotherham's defence but he was stopped inches short.
Albion changed shirts at half-time but it was Rotherham who had the best attempt of the second period when replacement hooker Ted Stagg, who had a short loan spell at Brickfields a couple of years ago, broke though after Plymouth had lost a line-out but he was stopped 10 metres out and was then penalised for holding on.
Rotherham continued to waste chances and on 55 metres Albion produced a great 40-metre drive that lifted their - and the crowds – spirits.
With the score still at 7-3 Albion knew the game was still there for them to take even though they had not created many chances.
But the match disappeared for them in the 70th minute when the gifted Rotherham a second try.
Albion dropped a pass in their own 22 and Rotherham fly-half Law kicked forward and dived on it to score. He also added the conversion to make it 14-3.
And four minutes later the score became 21-3 when Albion again lost the ball in their own 22 and Rotherham went wide and Stagg was able to go over in the left corner. Law again converted.
The game had failed to excited the 1,037 people inside Brickfields and there were not too many people disappointed when referee Tom Foley blew his whistle on a miserable afternoon.
Albion: 15 Paul Bailey, 14 Rhodri McAtee, 13 Toby Howley-Berridge, 12 Bevon Armitage, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Paul Rowley, 1 Jack Andrew, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 5 Will Carrick-Smith, 6 Harrison Tovey, 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt). Reps: Ruairi Cushion, Keni Fisilau, Ben Rogers, Alex Brown, Tom Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hocking, Sam Matavesi.
Rotherham: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Palepoi Nonu, 11 Mike Doneghan, 10 Garry Law (capt), 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 James Kilbane, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Toby Freeman, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Rory Pitman. Reps: Ted Stagg, Marshall Gadd, Nile *****s, Latu Makaffi, George Oliver, Ed Styles, James McKinney.
Referee: Tom Foley
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