Devon One rugby: Plymstock Albion Oaks coach proud of young warriors
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks coach Mark Lenthall says he is proud of the young city team despite their 22-8 home defeat by Devon One pacesetters Topsham.
Oaks were within grasping distance of their opponents in a see-saw game with the score at 15-8 to the visitors with a few minutes to go.
But Topsham broke against Oaks' all-out attack and sealed the match with a final try.
Lenthall, however, was pleased with the way the team competed with the Tops.
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The under-14s' coach, who was stepping in for unavailable joint chiefs Paul Duggan and Simon Austin, said: "We were 15-8 down with a few minutes to go, we went for broke and they intercepted a pass and scored from it.
"I was really pleased with the display – it was a good game of rugby and we competed well.
"When you've got a young side, I think you've got to build slowly and I would think our average age is probably 21-22.
"What we're seeing is home-grown talent coming through into the first team, which is very satisfying.
"Hopefully, it means that the club will still be around in 50 or 60 years' time."
Oaks' try came from Ben Duggan, with new kicker Adam Popplewell converting.
OLD Techs started well at local rivals St Columba and Torpoint, scoring after five minutes through Neil Herbert.
But that was as good as it got for last season's Devon Two champions, who were swamped 34-25 by a succession of Saints tries.
Techs finished ahead of second-placed St Columba in last season's promotion race, but were vulnerable to the home team's pace on the break.
The Plymouth side are renowned for their strength in their pack, but Saints simply ran around them.
Techs' chairman Roger Young, however, was pleased with the way the city side battled back against their Torpoint-based rivals.
He said: "At the end of the day, we scored 25 points against a good side and managed to secure a (losing) bonus point.
"They (Saints) were 31-5 up at half-time, but after the first five minutes, when we scored the opening try, I thought we were going to do well. Unfortunately, that's where it stopped."
Techs struck back through two tries from Billy Evans, one from Dave Clarke and another from Steve Wilkinson.
St Columba's chairman of rugby, Chris Goodman, said he felt more was to come from both promoted sides.
Scorers were man of the match was centre Barny Owles, number 10 Ben Green and new wing or full-back Pat Goodman, who scored back-to-back tries.
Green potted all his kicks, but was one of three Saints players sin-binned in the second half.
The enforced rest of the other two, Owles and second row Paul Walters, left massive gaps which Techs exploited.
Goodman insisted: "Both sides showed that they can perform in this league and there is more to come.
"We have a young side, with some of the players 17 or 18 years old and our aim is to stay in this league.
"The one thing we don't want to do is to come up and go straight down again, as we did three seasons ago.
"We haven't got any delusions of grandeur – we just want to learn from the experience and move on."