BIG MATCH PREVIEW - COVENTRY
by PETER WOODROOFE
It certainly is a ‘big match’ at Billesley on Saturday! Not only because it is a local derby between two of England’s oldest clubs with all the commitment of players and supporters it has always engendered, but also because the two clubs will be playing for the Moseley Trophy resurrected from the Coventry archives when they moved from Coundon Road to the Butts Park Arena.
Fixtures between the two clubs began in 1879 and, early on, were torrid affairs heightened by the Midland Counties Cup games instituted in 1881-82. The competition was discontinued in 1922 because it was felt the matches, not just Moseley v Coventry, created acrimony and were no good for the game!
But when both clubs were in their Golden Age, in the 1970s, there were some wonderful games with many international players gracing The Reddings and Coundon Road. This was especially so for the Boxing Day games which were eagerly awaited and watched by big crowds.
Coventry has had the better of the RFU Cup games which commenced in 1971-2, winning all three games between the two clubs, including 1972-3 when the Cup itself was won; the Coundon Road club defeating Moseley 12-9 in the 2nd round at The Reddings. Coventry also won the Cup in the following season. The two clubs met in the old C&G Cup in November 1997, Moseley winning 36-29 at Coundon Road.
In League rugby, Coventry began in Division One with Moseley, but immediate relegated followed to Division Two. There then followed a see saw between Divisions Two and Three until 1996-7, finally reaching National One in 2000-01, where they have been for seven seasons with a best position of fourth in 2001-2.
Before Moseley’s relegation from National One in 2003-4, Coventry had won nine games and Moseley eight in their League encounters, but it was only in the last two seasons that Coventry gained superiority overall winning all four games scoring 160 points with 77 against.
Moseley returned to National One this season so the rivalry was resumed, bringing a return to the close games of yore. Coventry won 15-14 last September, but it was generally thought, even by the Coventry supporters, that Moseley deserved to win. However the away team’s first-half superiority was not translated into a win when they should have made the result safe. NATHAN BRESSINGTON scored Moseley’s first try in the first half, converted by OLLIE THOMAS, and more should have been scored. Coventry’s reply was a penalty by fly-half MYLES DORRIAN. Significantly, Bressington went off injured at half-time, and it was his opposite number AARON TAKARANGI, who scored two tries, one converted by DUNCAN JAMES, to give Coventry a 15-7 lead. ADAM CAVES scored a trademark catch and drive try for
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