Plymouth Albion
Plymouth albion badge.png
Full namePlymouth Albion Rugby Football Club
UnionDevon RFU
Founded1876; 146 years ago (1876)[1]
LocationPlymouth, Devon, England
Ground(s)The Brickfields (Capacity: 8,500)
ChairmanAli Hannaford[2]
Coach(es)Damian Welch
League(s)National League 1
2021–2211th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.plymouthalbion.com

Coordinates: 50°22′15.78″N 4°10′13.12″W / 50.3710500°N 4.1703111°W / 50.3710500; -4.1703111

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.

After thirteen seasons in the second tier of English rugby union, Plymouth Albion finished last in the 2014–15 RFU Championship, and currently play in National League 1.[3]

Plymouth RFC

Formed 1876, the Plymouth Football Club, also known as Plymouth Chiefs, played at South Devon Place.[4] 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[5] and as a result a meeting was held and the club joined the Northern Union.[6] The first match under the new rules was lost, 22-17, against Coventry on Christmas Day.[7] The club later re-emerged as part of a merger with Devonport Albion to become Plymouth Albion.

Devonport Albion RFC

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,[8] (the current home of Devonport Services R.F.C.).

Current club

At match between Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates at The Brickfields in 2007
At match between Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates at The Brickfields in 2007

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.[9] Albion entered administration on 8 April 2016 and were deducted 30 pts by the RFU.[10] 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 summary

Season League National Cup(s) County Cup(s)
Competition (Level) Position Points Competition Performance Competition Performance
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[11]
2006–07 National 1 (2) 6th 97 EDF Energy Cup Semi-finals[12]
2007–08 National 1 (2) 8th 64 EDF Energy Trophy Semi-finals[13]
2008–09 National 1 (2) 11th 66 EDF Energy Trophy 4th Round[14]
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) Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
2021–22 National League 1 (3) 11th 60
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.

Honours

Current standings

2021–22 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points Points deducted
1 Caldy 28 23 2 3 752 538 214 14 1 111
2 Sale FC 28 22 0 6 812 558 254 14 4 106
3 Rosslyn Park 28 19 1 8 869 556 313 18 6 102
4 Cambridge 28 18 3 7 762 548 214 18 3 99
5 Cinderford 28 18 1 9 802 586 216 15 7 96
6 Rams 28 17 0 11 718 600 118 15 7 90
7 Chinnor 28 12 1 15 757 770 −13 18 7 70 −5
8 Taunton Titans 28 10 2 16 741 952 −211 17 4 65
9 Bishop's Stortford 28 10 2 16 651 686 −35 12 6 62
10 Birmingham Moseley 28 12 0 16 549 732 −183 9 4 61
11 Plymouth Albion 28 9 1 18 684 779 −95 15 7 60
12 Darlington Mowden Park 28 11 1 16 656 763 −107 8 5 59
13 Leeds Tykes 28 9 1 18 635 789 −154 12 9 59
14 Blackheath 28 7 0 21 580 712 −132 7 15 50
15 Tonbridge Juddians 28 5 1 22 517 916 −399 5 8 35
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background will be promoted to the RFU Championship.
Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 1 June 2022
Source: "National League 1". RFU.

Notable former players

See also

Notes

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Courage League 4 South was renamed as National League 2 South for the 1997–98 season.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ RFU restructuring meant that National League 2 South became known as National Division 3 South, although it remained a tier 4 league.
  6. ^ During the 2000–01 title winning campaign Albion boasted a 100% league record of winning all 26 matches.
  7. ^ Although bonus points had been used in tiers 1 and 2 since 2000, the 2002-03 season was Plymouth first experience of them.
  8. ^ As part of the extensive league restructuring by the RFU for the 2009–10 season, National 1 was renamed as the RFU Championship.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ The competition format for the 2012–13 RFU Championship changed to a main league stage, with the top 4 sides contesting the playoffs.
  16. ^ *Plymouth Albion were deducted 30 points for going into administration on 8 April 2016.[15]
  17. ^ 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.[16]

References

  1. ^ McCormack, Stephen (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001-2002. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. pp. 265–270. ISBN 1 85291 640 0.
  2. ^ Walrond, Nigel (26 June 2016). "Albion appoint first female chairman in club's history". Sunday Independent (Plymouth). p. 60.
  3. ^ Marsh, Paddy (19 April 2015). "It's all over for Albion". Cornwall Independent.
  4. ^ "PLYMOUTH CLUB. TEAM FOR TO-MORROW". Western Morning News. 2 September 1910. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "OLDHAM v. HUDDERSFIELD". Sporting Life. 24 December 1912. Retrieved 26 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "NORTHERN UNION. POSITION OF THE PLYMOUTH CLUB". Sporting Life. 24 December 1912. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "THE NORTHERN UNION. PLYMOUTH v. COVENTRY". The Sportsman. 28 December 1912. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Devonport Albion RFC". www.devonportonline.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Plymouth Albion: Troubled club avoids administration". BBC Sport. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Plymouth Albion taken over by David Venables and Bruce Priday". BBC Sport. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Powergen National Trophy 2005/06". Statbunker. 7 January 2006.
  12. ^ "EDF Energy National Cup 2006/07". Statbunker. 24 March 2007.
  13. ^ "EDF National Trophy 07/08". Statbunker. 15 March 2008.
  14. ^ "EDF National Trophy 08/09". Statbunker. 17 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Plymouth Albion taken over by David Venables and Bruce Priday". BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  16. ^ "RFU confirms league positions". England Rugby. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  17. ^ "DRFU Handbook 2011-12" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 30 January 2017.