Moseley 41 Stourbridge 5 - January 7th 2006
"Muscling in on promotion"
By Andy Walker in the Birmingham Post
Critics may have started to suspect that the
wheels were beginning to fall off
bandwagon after they ended 2005 with a defeat.
But that belief was blown to pieces on Saturday as the Billesley Common side shook off the Christmas cobwebs to destroy their Midlands neighbours.
It is a common theory that league standings and points count for nothing in local derbies but that was not the case in this clash as Moseley convincingly out-muscled their visitors from Stourton Park.
John Beale's side stamped their claim for a promotion place in the first match of a year in which they could start their climb back to the big time with a return to the second tier of English rugby.
The hosts, who remain unbeaten at their new home in National Two, had already wrapped up a bonus point with 34 minutes on the clock and ran in seven tries against a sorry Stourbridge outfit.
After an early Thomas penalty, centre Andrew Reay, who is on loan from Premier-ship side Bristol until the end of January, ran through the visitors' defence to score under the posts on 15 minutes. Thomas sent over the simple conversion.
Stourbridge's line-out calls included Jonah Lomu and Mike Tyson, and they desperately needed heavyweights to save them in this clash.
Moseley's impressive pack pushed hooker Adam Caves over for an unconverted try on 24 minutes.
The driving maul caused further problems on 29 minutes and forced Stourbridge to concede a penalty try when a punch was thrown. Thomas again had the simple task of stroking the ball in a straight line.
A delightful dummy by fullback Andy Binns led to the home side's bonus-point try on 34 minutes following a good run by captain Gareth Taylor.
The onslaught did not slow down after half time and Moseley were swiftly back in their visitors' 22. They forced their way over the Stourbridge line on 44 minutes with yet another driving maul and this time it was Neil Mason who emerged with the points.
Moseley were looking so comfortable that they were able to take off a trio of important players on 53 minutes. Off trotted Thomas, Caves and David Hallimen, to be replaced by Dean Bick, Tom Skelding and Greg Macdonald.
In a rare venture into their opponents' 22, Neil Mitchell's men eventually managed to put points on the board. Prop James Tideswell forced his way over but Alex Grove, who is on loan from Pertemps Bees, struck his conversion against the post.
Richard Stott was sent to the sin-bin on 63 minutes but the hosts matched their opponents moments later when Tobias Handley was shown a yellow card.
But Moseley were not done yet and replacement hooker Bick relived his try-scoring exploits from early in the season.
After a period of pressure in the left corner, Moseley's maul found its way over the line and it was the shiny head of Bick that emerged with the ball.
Macdonald swept his conversion against the post but it did not matter as Moseley got themselves back on the track for National One.
Andy Binns, Nathan Bressington, Darren O'Leary, Andy Reay, James Aston, Oliver
Thomas, Gareth Taylor, Ben Buxton, Adam Caves, Neil Bayliss, David Hallmen,
Richard Stott, Mark Evans, Neil Mason, James Rodwell
Subs: Paul Coles, Dean Bick, Tom Skelding, Greg MacDonald
Stourbridge: Jon Hall, James O'Brian, Alex Grove, Mark Eastwood, Toby Wilson, Marcus Cook, Toby Handley, Virgil Hartland, Alan Hubbleday, James Tideswell, Simon Homer, Lee Crofts, Heser Fakatou, Tom Jordan, Scott Whitcombe
Subs: Ryan Watkins, Stean Williams, Keith Fowles, Jonathan Taylor
9 min - Penalty Goal, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
12 min - Try, Andy Reay, (Moseley)
12 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
20 min - Try, Adam Caves, (Moseley)
26 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
29 min - Try, Andy Binns, (Moseley)
29 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
42 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
42 min - Try, Neil Mason, (Moseley)
55 min - Try, James Tideswell, (Stourbridge)
73 min - Try, Dean Bick, (Moseley)