Dogged effort not enough as Plymouth march on
PLYMOUTH Albion maintained their 100 per cent home record this season but they were pushed all the way by a Cambridge side who thoroughly deserved the losing bonus point they took from the match.
In a game that was littered with numerous penalties Plymouth had much the better of the match, both in terms of territory and possession, but they struggled to break down the excellent Cambridge defence.
A clearly disappointed Plymouth head coach Kieran Hallett said: “It was a poor game but we were also poor.
“Defensively we were OK but accuracy and execution-wise we were way off the pace out there.
“We dominated the game but we haven’t come away with the outcomes we wanted.
“I would question some of our decision making particularly at the end. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the bonus point but a win’s a win.”
Plymouth put Cambridge under early pressure but the visitors’ defence held firm, keeping out a series of close-range drives.
Against the run of play Cambridge took the lead mid-way through the first half when a kick ahead was pounced upon by skipper Mike Ayrton for a try that went unconverted.
That score stung Plymouth into life and they took the lead when wing Jack Arnott stepped inside the last defender to touchdown under the posts, making the conversion for fly-half Dan Mugford a formality.
Plymouth started the second half on the front foot and stretched their lead when hooker Jamie
Salter finished off a catch and drive move.
Most of the second half was played in the Cambridge half of the pitch but as much as they tried, Plymouth just couldn’t get past the resolute defence of the visitors.
Plymouth did think they had scored a third try when replacement scrum half Joe Snow appeared to touch down under the posts but the referee was unsighted and awarded a five-metre scrum.
It took a piece of individual skill from Mugford to ease the home nerves.
The National 1 top points scorer spotted a gap behind the home defence and, after putting through a grubber kick, won the race to the ball.
Plymouth went in search for the bonus point but it was Cambridge who finished off the scoring when replacement hooker Ean Griffiths rounded off a catch and drive which secured the losing bonus point.
Cambridge director of rugby Ross Stewart said: “It was a close game and Plymouth had possession in the right areas of the pitch.
“In recent weeks our defence has been quite leaky, but today we defended very well.
“I was pleased with our performance but not the result.
“I did think we might have snatched a draw at the end.”
Final flourish: Dan Mugford scores for Plymouth Albion
Staying strong: No way through for Michael Stupple of Plymouth as Ben Penfold leads the Cambridge defence