by PETER WOODROOFE
MOSELEY v PERTEMPS BEES,
National League Division 1, at Billesley, Saturday, September 30, 2006 , KO
3pm (but come for lunch )
Moseley Rugby Club faces its second local derby in successive weeks when
Pertemps Bees visit Billesley for the first time, for a National Division 1
After six attempts, Moseley has yet to defeat Bees in a League match – the
nearest result being the 20-20 draw at Sharman’s Cross Road on December 16,
Pertemps Bees is the branded name of Birmingham and Solihull who amalgamated
two seasons after the commencement of League rugby, the Courage Clubs
Championship, in 1987-88.
Birmingham - early days
Birmingham RUFC was founded in 1911 at a time when a group of villages came
together to form the City of Birmingham .
The club was one of the founder members of the North Midlands Football Union
when it was formed in 1920 and an official, S. LAWRENCE, was Birmingham ’s
delegate at a meeting at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce on January 134,
1920, where the Union was set up.
Moseley’s representative was the legendary FRED BYRNE who was elected a
Vice-President and who was to become President of the NFU, 1921-1929.
J.W. BIRTLES of the Birmingham club, who also played for Moseley, was a
Vice-President of the Union during Byrne’s Presidency.
First Union game
The first match under the auspices of the new Union was between the combined
Old Edwardians team and the Rest of the Union team in which Birmingham
players, full-back R.F. BROMBERG, winger H BURROWS, fly-half A.R. TAYLOR and
props A.C. MITCHELL and L.M. ABBOTT played.
The Old Edwardian clubs won 16-13 and 16 of the players taking part in the
Trial subsequently appeared for the North Midlands in the County
championship, including Birmingham’s Taylor and Mitchell, and Abbott, who
went on to join Moseley – as several players did, including BARRIE and
TREVOR CORLESS in the 1970s.
Solihull – a plea…
The writer is not conversant with the early history of Solihull RUFC. Is
there anyone out there who can fill in the gap?
The club was founded in 1933 and several players found their way from there
to Moseley, including the England international wing MARTIN HALE, who played
in England ’s first-ever win against South Africa in 1969 and scored 155
tries in five-and-a-half seasons of senior rugby.
Another Moseley connection is ANDY SMALLWOOD, who is the grandson of one of
Moseley’s most accomplished Honorary Secretaries, Charles Smallwood, who
held that office from season 1967-8, before becoming President in 1978-80.
ANDY, a fine winger of B&S and Coventry is currently Treasurer of Solihull
Tough League start
At the commencement of the Courage Clubs championship in 1987-88, Birmingham
RFC was placed in National Division 3 and Solihull in Area League North.
Both clubs found the going hard, Birmingham finishing bottom, drawing just
one game, one point with 11 points for turning up.
Solihull also finished bottom of their League, losing all their 10 games, no
points in that League for playing the fixture!
In the following season, Birmingham again failed to win, or even draw, a
game in Area League North and Solihull finished 9th out of 11 in Midlands
So with both clubs in Midlands One, they amalgamated in 1989, playing at
their present ground at Sharman’s Cross Road rather than at Portway, where
Birmingham played. Birmingham and Solihull finished second, winning
promotion to National Division 4 North.
However, in their first season in the National League, B&S were relegated to
Midlands One, but after two difficult seasons, they returned to Division 5
North and finished 2nd in the following season in the re-organised Div 4
North, where they again finished 2nd. Yet another League re-organisation
promoted them to Jewson One in 1997-8 and in 1999-2000, they finished 2nd to
win promotion to National One.
During their rise to National One, they signed players from local clubs,
including JONATHAN SMART and MATT BIRCH from Moseley.
Smart was their leading points scorer in 1996-7 with 271 and in 1999-2000 in
their promotion year from Jewson One with 166. Fly-half MATT BIRCH was their
leading points scorer in 1997-8 with 296, a promotion season, still a club
League record total in a season. JONATHAN SMART still holds the club career
record, 529 points, 1996-2000.
Still going strong
B&S have been in National One for six seasons, their highest position being
4th in 2003-4. Former Moseley players GEOFF GREGORY, TERRY SIGLEY, JIM
THORP, who came through Moseley’s youth development system, ALAN HUBBLEDAY,
MATT LONG, NEIL FLETCHER and ED ORGEE (Capt) played a significant part in
that successful season.
It was then that B&S took the branded name Pertemps Bees, to acknowledge the
sponsorship of Pertemps Employment Alliance and its Chairman TIM WATTS, a
former Solihull player and – another Moseley link – one of the business men
who took over Moseley in 1996 to compete in the first season of legitimate
The two clubs first met each other in League rugby on November 25, 2000 at
Bou7rnbrook, B&S winning 14-13. The return game at Sharman’s Cross Road was
drawn 20-20. In both games, it was the Moseley backs versus the B&S
forwards. In 2001-2, B&S did the double, 15-6 and 14-10, typically hard
fought local derbies.
But, in 2002-3, Moseley’s relegation season, the B&S wins were, to put it
mildly, more emphatic, 68-14 and 55-0 at Bournbrook, in which game B&S
fielded six ex-Moseley players in their squad.
Pertemps Bees’ have proved themselves masters at picking up influential
players and some shrewd acquisitions during the close season and the release
of some former stalwarts have completely transformed the club’s playing
squad and its fortunes. After last season’s disappointment of finishing
bottom of National One, because of many injuries in a small squad that
necessitated the fielding of unregistered players (with the permission of
the RFU, but with the docking of points) Saturday’s squad is likely to
include only centre ADAM BILLIG, signed from Bristol, former Moseley prop
MATT LONG, WILL MATTHEWS, England Sevens flanker on loan from Gloucester,
and full-back DAVID KNIGHT, over 100 appearances, left from last season.
The link-up with Premiership Gloucester has quickly borne fruit with
Matthews being joined by the former Moseley and B&S prop TERRY SIGLEY,
returning on loan, full-back JON GOODRIDGE, fly-half BRAD DAVIES and flanker
DAN TOUHY, also on loan.
The captain if the former Gloucester lock MARK CORNWELL. Other newcomers
this season include Fijian Sevens flanker AKAPUSI OERA, scorer of five tries
to date, Canadian prop CASEY DUNNING from Pacific Pride, HOTILA ASI from
North Otago, lock MARK GABEY from Worcester and Exeter, and hooker STEWARD
PEARKL, from Plymouth Albion.
In the backs, newcomers include centre TRISTAN DAVIES and winger MATTHEW
NUTHALL from Cardiff Blues, scrum-halves REECE SPEE, from Ulster, MIKE
BAXTER from Bath and fly-half JOHN HIGGINS from Coventry.
The new squad with a new Head Coach, the former Wales and Neath lock STEVE
WILLIAMS working with MAYNARD, have won two, drawn one and lost one game to
date, scoring 118 points, with 102 against. To add to OERA’S five tries,
winger MATT NUTTALL has scored two tries and nine players have scored one
try apiece. JOHN HIGGINS has kicked 27 points and NUTHALL nine.
Harsh on Mose…
Moseley’s one-point defeat at Coventry was unfortunate, as they could have
made the game safe in the first half, such was their superiority, but in
National One chances cannot be spurned. Their defence was much tighter,
Bees’ close call…
Conversely, Bees has a one-point victory at Sedgley Park , who have yet to
win a game.
Brothers could play against each other on Saturday. DAVID KNIGHT could be at
full-back or on the wing for Pertemps Bees, while scrum-half PAUL has moved
to Moseley this season after making over 100 League appearances for the
Bees. Unfortunately, TERRY SIGLEY has received an injury, so he may not be
fit to pack down for the Bees against his brother ROB.
The signs are it’s going to be a hard-fought local derby at Billesley on
Saturday, with plenty of excitement. If any incentive were needed, Moseley
have the opportunity to register their first National League One win against
the Bees, which would please their supporters no end.
Let’s hope for good weather conditions with the usual camaraderie associated
with our sport in the clubhouse and hospitality boxes before and after the
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