Plymouth Albion R.F.C.
Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club are a rugby union club who play in Plymouth, England. The present club was founded in 1920 from a merger between Plymouth RFC (founded 1876) and Devonport Albion RFC (founded 1876). Since 2003 they have played their home games at The Brickfields stadium. Albion's traditional strip and club colours are white, strawberry (red or cherry) and green.
|Full name||Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Ground(s)||The Brickfields (Capacity: 8,500)|
|League(s)||National League 1|
Formed 1876, the Plymouth Football Club, also known as Plymouth Chiefs, played at South Devon Place. In 1912, the Northern Union attempted to form a Western League of clubs in Devon and Cornwall. Huddersfield beat Oldham 31–26 in an exhibition game at South Devon Place in front of 7,000 spectators and as a result a meeting was held and the club joined the Northern Union. The first match under the new rules was lost, 22-17, against Coventry on Christmas Day. The club later re-emerged as part of a merger with Devonport Albion to become Plymouth Albion.
Devonport Albion RFCEdit
Albion was formed in 1876 from apprentices at Devonport Dockyard and originally played at Devonport Park. After moving to Bladderly in 1887 they then moved to Home Park in 1893. The club stayed at Home Park for one season only, returning to Bladderley Lane in 1894, then, in 1896, Albion took a 14-year lease of Rectory grounds, (the current home of Devonport Services R.F.C.).
Devonport Albion continued at the Rectory until it merged with Plymouth RFC to become Plymouth Albion and moved in 1920 to Beacon Park. In 2003, they moved from the run-down Beacon Park ground to a newly built ground, The Brickfields, in Devonport. The Brickfields also has an adjacent athletics stadium.
Albion were a major force in English rugby union in the 1920s having five internationals on their books at one time. Around this time they attracted a crowd of 18,000 to a midweek game against Oxford University which established a record crowd for a club match in England which was not exceeded until the 1980s.
They were promoted to National Division One in 2002, and finished third in the 2003–04 season. Observers say it was Plymouth Albion's best position nationally since the 1920s. On their way to promotion, the team went on a two-season unbeaten streak of over 50 games, starting when the club was in Division Three South and ending after their promotion to National Division One.
The major local rivals are Exeter Chiefs who also have an impressive new stadium at Sandy Park perched above the services junction of the M5. Devon local derbies have become major popular events. Together these clubs have reinvigorated the passion for rugby in the county.
Albion currently play in the National League 1, the third tier of English club rugby. The club have financial problems and only avoided entering administration early in 2015 following a cash injection of £250,000 by local businesses. Albion entered administration on 8 April 2016 and were deducted 30 pts by the RFU. Following administration they were taken over by former players, Bruce Priday and David Venables who put forward a business case to the RFU. Since then, Priday has moved to pastures new, whilst Max Venables is the Club's Managing Director.
The club also has a successful women's team and a new Under 18s Academy. They played their first game against a Cornwall XV in February 2019, finishing 50 - 7 victors.
|Season||League||National Cup(s)||County Cup(s)|
|1987–88||Courage 3 (3)||3rd||16||John Player Cup||Quarter-finals||Devon Senior Cup||Winners|
|1988–89||Courage 3 (3)||1st (promoted)||22||Pilkington Cup||3rd Round|
|1989–90||Courage 2 (2)||7th||10||Pilkington Cup||3rd Round|
|1990–91||Courage 2 (2)||11th||8||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1991–92||Courage 2 (2)||12th (relegated)||6||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1992–93||Courage 3 (3)||12th (relegated)||0||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1993–94||Courage 4 (4)||4th||18||Pilkington Cup||3rd Round|
|1994–95||Courage 4 (4)||8th||10||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1995–96||Courage 4 (4)||10th[a]||8||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1996–97||Courage 4 South (4)||6th||29||Pilkington Cup||2nd Round|
|1997–98||National 2 South (4)[b]||13th[c]||12||Tetley's Bitter Cup||1st Round|
|1998–99||National 2 South (4)||12th[d]||15||Tetley's Bitter Cup||2nd Round|
|1999–00||National 2 South (4)||4th||36||Tetley's Bitter Cup||1st Round|
|2000–01||National 3 South (4)[e]||1st (promoted)[f]||52||Tetley's Bitter Cup||4th Round|
|2001–02||National 2 (3)||2nd (promoted)||46||Powergen Cup||2nd Round|
|2002–03||National 1 (2)||9th||60[g]||Powergen Cup||5th Round|
|2003–04||National 1 (2)||3rd||92||Powergen Cup||4th Round|
|2004–05||National 1 (2)||3rd||94||Powergen Cup||6th Round|
|2005–06||National 1 (2)||5th||75||Powergen Trophy||Quarter-finals|
|2006–07||National 1 (2)||6th||97||EDF Energy Cup||Semi-finals|
|2007–08||National 1 (2)||8th||64||EDF Energy Trophy||Semi-finals|
|2008–09||National 1 (2)||11th||66||EDF Energy Trophy||4th Round|
|2009–10||RFU Championship (2)[h]||8th[i]||48[j]||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2010–11||RFU Championship (2)||10th[k]||36[l]||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2011–12||RFU Championship (2)||11th[m]||30[n]||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2012–13||RFU Championship (2)||9th[o]||40||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2013–14||RFU Championship (2)||8th||40||British & Irish Cup||Quarter-finals|
|2014–15||RFU Championship (2)||12th (relegated)||21||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2015–16||National League 1 (3)||7th||72[p]|
|2016–17||National League 1 (3)||2nd||118|
|2017–18||National League 1 (3)||3rd||108|
|2018–19||National League 1 (3)||5th||83|
|2019–20||National League 1 (3)||6th||89.13[q]|
|2020–21||National League 1 (3)|
|Green background stands for either league champions (with promotion) or cup winners. Blue background stands for promotion without winning league or losing cup finalists. Pink background stands for relegation.|
- Devon Senior Cup winners (23): 1889, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1895, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1921, 1974, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
- Devon RFU Junior Cup winners: 1893 (reserve side)
- Courage League Division 3 champions: 1988–89
- National Division 3 South champions: 2000–01
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points for||Points against||Points diff||Try bonus||Losing bonus||Points|
|7||Darlington Mowden Park||25||13||1||11||796||517||279||14||6||74|
|14||Rotherham Titans (R)||25||6||1||18||490||727||−237||7||7||40|
|16||Hull Ionians (R)||24||1||1||22||330||1071||-741||3||2||11|
|Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.|
Updated: 14 March 2020
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby.
2019-20 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Notable former playersEdit
- Martin Schusterman – Argentinean International flanker
- Aaron Carpenter – Canadian International flanker
- Justin Mensah-Coker – Canadian International wing
- Graham Dawe – Former England International hooker
- Jimmy Peters – England fly-half
- Dan Ward-Smith – England number 8
- Rupeni Nasiga – Fiji International lock
- Nat Saumi – Fiji international full back
- Jané du Toit – Namibian International prop
- David Palu – Tongan International scrum half
- William Davies – Wales International centre
- Rory Watts-Jones – Wales 7s International player
- Tom Bowen – Current England 7s International player
- Sean-Michael Stephen - Canadian International backrow forward and leader of men
- Sam Matavesi - Northampton Saints and Fiji International hooker
- Brett Beukeboom - Canada and Cornish Pirates enforcer and second row
- RFU league restructuring for the 1996–97 season would see Courage League Division 5 abolished and Courage League 4 divided back into two regional divisions. This meant that Plymouth Albion were safe from relegation despite finishing bottom of the league, instead being transferred into the southern section of tier 4.
- Courage League 4 South was renamed as National League 2 South for the 1997–98 season.
- RFU league restructuring for the 1998–99 season due to the expansion of Premiership Two meant that there was no relegation this season and that 13th placed Plymouth Albion were safe from the drop.
- More northern based sides would be relegated from National Division 3 at the end of the 1998–99 season which meant that more teams would be relegated from National League 2 North than [National League 2 South to avoid an imbalance of teams. This meant that 12th placed Albion were once again saved from the drop.
- RFU restructuring meant that National League 2 South became known as National Division 3 South, although it remained a tier 4 league.
- During the 2000–01 title winning campaign Albion boosted a 100% league record of winning all 26 matches.
- Although bonus points had been used in tiers 1 and 2 since 2000, the 2002-03 season was Plymouth first experience of them.
- As part of the extensive league restructuring by the RFU for the 2009–10 season, National 1 was renamed as the RFU Championship.
- League position is taken from 1st stage only. The 2009–10 RFU Championship was divided into three stages; Albion finished 8th during the 1st stage (main league), and then 4th in their promotion group during the second stage, failing to qualify for the playoff semi-finals. If you combine the 1st and 2nd stages, Albion would have finished 8th overall.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2009–10 RFU Championship. If you count the second stage (in which Albion gained 5 points), they would have achieved 53 points overall.
- League position is taken from 1st stage only. As with the previous season the 2010–11 RFU Championship was divided into three stages; Albion finished 10th during the 1st stage (main league), and then 3rd in their relegation group during the second stage, avoiding relegation. If you combine the 1st and 2nd stages, Albion would have finished 11th overall.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2010–11 RFU Championship. If you count the second stage (in which Albion gained 14 points), they would have achieved 48 points overall.
- League position is taken from 1st stage only. As with the previous seasons the 2011–12 RFU Championship was divided into three stages; Albion finished 11th during the 1st stage (main league), and then 2nd in their relegation group during the second stage, avoiding relegation. If you combine the 1st and 2nd stages, Albion would have finished 10th overall.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2011–12 RFU Championship. If you count the second stage (in which Albion gained 24 points), they would have achieved 54 points overall.
- The competition format for the 2012–13 RFU Championship changed to a main league stage, with the top 4 sides contesting the playoffs.
- *Plymouth Albion were deducted 30 points for going into administration on 8 April 2016.
- The season was postponed and ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom with Albion sitting in 6th, having played 25 games and gained 75 points. The remaining games were calculated on a 'best playing record formula', with Albion remaining in 6th place with 89.13 points.
- Rams deducted 5 points due to an issue with their Payment of Players declaration during the 2018–19 National League 2 South season.
- McCormack, Stephen (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001-2002. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. pp. 265–270. ISBN 1 85291 640 0.
- Walrond, Nigel (26 June 2016). "Albion appoint first female chairman in club's history". Sunday Independent (Plymouth). p. 60.
- Marsh, Paddy (19 April 2015). "It's all over for Albion". Cornwall Independent.
- "PLYMOUTH CLUB. TEAM FOR TO-MORROW". Western Morning News. 2 September 1910. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "OLDHAM v. HUDDERSFIELD". Sporting Life. 24 December 1912. Retrieved 26 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "NORTHERN UNION. POSITION OF THE PLYMOUTH CLUB". Sporting Life. 24 December 1912. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "THE NORTHERN UNION. PLYMOUTH v. COVENTRY". The Sportsman. 28 December 1912. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Plymouth Albion: Troubled club avoids administration". BBC Sport. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Plymouth Albion taken over by David Venables and Bruce Priday". BBC Sports. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "Powergen National Trophy 2005/06". Statbunker. 7 January 2006.
- "EDF Energy National Cup 2006/07". Statbunker. 24 March 2007.
- "EDF National Trophy 07/08". Statbunker. 15 March 2008.
- "EDF National Trophy 08/09". Statbunker. 17 January 2009.
- "Plymouth Albion taken over by David Venables and Bruce Priday". BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "RFU confirms league positions". England Rugby. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- "DRFU Handbook 2011-12" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
- "RAMS DEDUCTED 5 POINTS". Rams RFC (Pitchero). 26 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
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