Moseley v Redruth, National League 2, at Billesley, Saturday, 4 March, 3.00pm

The great plaque mystery…

It’s a warm welcome to Redruth RFC – The Reds – visiting us in Birmingham for the first-ever time.

This fact is written with some trepidation as, when Moseley visited Redruth on November 12, the writer thought that it was Moseley’s first visit to Redruth. Armed with a plaque celebrating the event – duly presented by the Moseley President – a Moseley plaque was seen already on display in the bar. How that got there is a mystery still being researched…

Moseley regularly toured the West Country at Easter in the amateur days, but since 1950 the clubs played were any two or three from Weston, Bath, Stroud, Bridgewater and Albion, and in Devon, Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth Albion – but it appears that Moseley did not venture across the Tamar Bridge.

It could have been a benevolent Moseley member spreading largesse on holiday, or some County Championship or Representative match player, or an official link. Does anyone know?

Golden run

Redruth was founded in 1875 and gradually the club was built up, culminating in a spectacular six seasons, 1930-1936, when they played 248 games, winning 205, drawing 10 and losing only 33 games, while scoring 4,165 points, with 988 against.

In 1931 they became the first club from Cornwall to visit London, playing a match against St Bart’s Hospital.

Out on a limb

The club’s geographical position had been somewhat of a handicap in trying to develop an extensive first-class fixture list, but top Welsh clubs and Bristol, Bath and Coventry were attracted into Cornwall – but not Moseley.

County rugby was the means of contact with the outside world and was a very important feature of Cornish rugby. Cornwall won the County championship in 1908, 1991, and 1999, with players from Redruth well represented.

Professional booster

The start of the Courage Clubs Championship in 1987-88 was the breath of life for Cornish rugby, because it was the means of extending its influence.

One of the architects of League rugby was Bill Bishop OBE, a former President of the RFU and of Redruth, 1990-2002.

At the beginning of League rugby, only Camborne from Cornwall was placed in the National League in Area League South. Redruth with St Ives were in South West One, above Launceston and Penzance and Newlyn. They immediately won SW One and joined Camborne in Area League South.

100% record

A League reconstruction took them into National 4 South, which they won in 1990-91 with a 100% record. They remained in National League 3 or its equivalent until promotion to National 2 last season and were the highest placed club from Cornwall until they were joined by Penzance and Newlyn in 1999-2000.

‘The Pirates’ were promoted to National One in 2003-4 and Redruth joined Launceston in National 2 last season, after being overtaken by them in 2002-3 and 2004-5.

Penzance and Newlyn, now the Cornish Pirates, have got Premiership ambitions playing at Truro. The gradual and sensible progress of Cornish rugby.

Play-off triumph

Redruth won promotion last season by finishing 2nd to Barking in National 3 South and winning the play-off against the 2nd-placed club in 3 North, Macclesfield, 33-14. Some 4,000 people watched the game at The Recreation Ground, Redruth.

The Reds’ leading points scorer was fly-half BEDE BROWN with 169 and winger NATHAN PEDLEY, the leading try scorer with 19. Their head coach is NIGEL HAMBLY, who has coached Cornwall.

Solid season

This season, captained by scrum-half MARK RICHARDS, Redruth are lying 6th in National 2, with a game at Orrell to be played on March 11.

Predictably, supported by a vociferous crowd, they have lost only twp games at home, 18-14 to Manchester and 25-19 to Moseley.

Away from The Rec, they have defeated Harrogate 13-12, and Stourbridge 25-6. Their heaviest defeat has been away at Waterloo, 43-15. They have been strong in defence, yielding only 32 tries and 303 points.

New faces

Newcomers this season include centre PETAIA (P.J.) GIDLOW from T E Pukhe, and utility back JAMES TREZISE from Mounts Bay, New Zealand, prop ASHLEY MORCOM and centre PAUL GADSDEN from Penzance and Newlyn and flanker JAMES MANN from Penryn.

Nigel Hambly has kept faith with many of last season’s promotion winning team, including their leading try scorer with 10 this season, winger LEWIS VINNICOMBE, who has been selected for the England Counties squad to play France Amateurs, hooker MARK HARPER and P.J. GIDLOW, who have both scored four.

Kicking duties have been shared between fly-half MARK SCRIVENER, utility back GAVIN DONALD, full-back MAREK CHURCHER and fly-half PAUL THIRLBY, who scored 47 points in the first four games at the start of the season. Scrivener has scored 49 points to date.

Good win

Moseley did very well to win at Redruth. Travelling on Friday night to Exeter, they spent a relaxed Saturday morning on the beach at Perranporth and then proceeded to inflict on The Reds their first home defeat of the season on 12th November. It was a close-run thing in front of an intimidating crowd, but Moseley’s resilience saw them through to a 25-19 win.

CHRIS HOLDER, DEAN BICK and PAUL COX scored Moseley’s tries, OLLIE THOMAS converting two and kicking two penalties.

Hooker MARK HARPER opened the scoring for Redruth with a try after 15 minutes. MARK SCRIVENER converted and kicked two penalties and GAVIN DONALD also kicked two penalties emphasising the pressure Moseley were under at times. Redruth will be keen to avenge their home defeat, but they have lost six games away from the Recreation Ground.

New records

Moseley will be determined to keep their 100% League home record – and their 100% record in all games in 2006, creating a club League record of seven consecutive wins.

NATHAN BRESSINGTON created another Moseley League record with four tries in the match at Harrogate two weeks ago, beating the three tries in a game scored by six Moseley players, including Daragh O’Mahony (three times).

Focus needed

It’s a potential banana skin on Saturday in Moseley’s quest to win National 2, or at least promotion, as Redruth will prove doughty opponents.

Yet another good game in prospect – no place for the faint-hearted. However, it will be good to entertain our visitors from Cornwall with the usual camaraderie associated with our sport.


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