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Cambridge start new National League One season with entertaining victory over Plymouth Albion





Cambridge outscored visiting Plymouth Albion by five tries to four to win Saturday’s high-scoring National League One season opener 34-28 at Grantchester Road.

With Albion potentially feeling the ill effects of a long coach journey to Cambridgeshire during the opening exchanges, hosting Cambridge showed no mercy as they ran in three tries without reply inside the opening 15 minutes.

There was not even five minutes on the referee’s watch when Kieran Frost got the ball rolling after he had collected a pop pass from Ben Brownile.

Ben Brownlie breaks clear for Cambridge against Plymouth. Picture: Chris Fell
Ben Brownlie breaks clear for Cambridge against Plymouth. Picture: Chris Fell

Stefan Jones – on debut – did the honours with the conversion and then a couple of minutes later he got his own name on the try sheet after he had collected an offload from Scott Lloyd.

He once again dispatched the conversion but was then off target after Josef Green had dotted down a third Cambridge try.

There only appeared to be one victor at this point in the proceedings, but after winning their first scrum of the contest in the 20th minute Albion started to come to life.

Matt Dawson comes under pressure last weekend. Picture: Chris Fell
Matt Dawson comes under pressure last weekend. Picture: Chris Fell

And tries from Alexander Ducker and Harry Wilkinson – both converted by the boot of Thomas Putt – ensured that they were right back into the contest heading into the break.

A 46th-minute try from Frank Nowell, which was again converted by Putt, drew Albion even closer to the home team but a bonus-point try from Nana Asiedu in the 63rd minute helped to stem the flow, although James was off target with the subsequent kick.

Cambridge extended their advantage six minutes from time courtesy of hooker William Priestley, who grounded the ball after the hosts’ driving maul had prevailed.

Having missed his previous two kicks James’ radar was more accurate to add two more points, which meant Jack Oulton’s try in the last minute – converted by Putt – was nothing more than a consolation effort.

Anthony Maka looks to make up some ground for Cambridge. Picture: Chris Fell
Anthony Maka looks to make up some ground for Cambridge. Picture: Chris Fell

On Saturday Cambridge will make the short journey to Bishop’s Stortford for their first derby of the season.

Stortford sit top of the standings after one game courtesy of their superior points difference following a 44-20 victory against Hull.

Both Cambridge and neighbouring Stortford are among a group of six teams that kicked off the new 2022/23 camapign by collecting a maximum five points.



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