Plymouth Albion Ladies refuse to give up on promotion despite Bristol defeat
PLYMOUTH ALBION Ladies have refused to give up their promotion chase despite a potentially damaging defeat at second-placed Bristol.
Albion lost 30-15 at Bristol, who have a game in hand over the city side and three over leaders London Welsh.
The fourth-placed city side are six points behind Bristol and a further two adrift of Welsh, who Albion play in their final game of the season on March 24.
Bristol have to play the division's three bottom teams, Chipping Sodbury, Reading – twice – and Supermarine Ladies.
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But Albion spokeswoman and number eight, Alison Cooper, insisted the team were not throwing in the towel yet.
She said: "Not the result we were after, but they (Bristol) were a pretty tough side and they had a very well deserved win.
"The league title is now out of our hands, but there is still a possibility of winning on points, as we have the most bonus points in the league and you can't ever predict what might happen.
"Upsets do happen, so the pressure is on Bristol to sustain their wins for the rest of the season.
"So we won't be letting up – but will just keep playing our games to the best of our ability."
Bristol, who have seen an influx of players and funding this season in a new set-up, were a well-drilled side which edged Plymouth out of the match in the first half.
The hosts forced a penalty and then a try in the opening 15 minutes. Albion struggled to retain any form of consistent possession and conceded two further tries in the first half.
However, Albion established some momentum when some blistering running from full-back Alex Smith and sustained pressure by the forwards eventually saw scrum-half Kayleigh Moore score a try for Albion. Fly-half Caitlin Short converted.
The second half saw Albion up the pressure and gain control in the forward line.
Although Bristol were able to sneak another try from out wide, dominance in the forwards saw Albion prop Lucy Lane score from a maul off the line-out.
The final 20 minutes of play were all in the Bristol 22. A possible Albion try was deemed to have been held up, although Short cut her side's deficit with a penalty.
Cooper said her side had taken away lessons from the match and also a well-earned losing bonus point.
She added: "The league title seems all but certain for Bristol, but we've got our next two match against the bottom two, Chipping Sodbury and Supermarine Ladies, so we will be hoping to win with bonus points to keep the pressure on the Bristol side."