MOSELEY v Waterloo - National League Division 1,
Saturday, January 6, 2007, k.o. 3.00 pm (but come for
After the game at Billesley between these two famous old clubs last January
the Birmingham Post was moved to report: “This was an occasion to evoke
memories of a bygone age. Two famous old clubs playing for high stakes, with
frenzied disregard for personal safety and in the process watched by a large
and partisan crowd”. This Saturday sees a welcome return of this traditional
fixture and the prospect of a similarly entertaining encounter.
The history of both clubs, Moseley founded in 1873, Waterloo in 1882, is
Both are clubs with great traditions that obliged them to compete in the mad
world of professionalism with disastrous results. But it was those
traditions that have provided the basis and the will to survive.
Both clubs started the Courage Clubs Championship in the top Division in
1987-88. Waterloo lasted two seasons before relegation to Division Two and
Moseley lasted four. Waterloo then spent twelve seasons at the second level
before relegation to National Two. During that period PAUL GRAYSON, AUSTIN
HEALEY and BEN KAY represented the club before achieving international
Moseley gave the Club’s supporters a welcome Christmas present by defeating
Coventry 15-13 in a typically closely contested local derby on 16th December
and then produced a New Year gift of the highest order in the first away win
of the season at Old Deer Park last Saturday defeating London Welsh 13-6 and
moving out of the relegation places.
Waterloo had lost to London Welsh 24-19 (when the Welsh achieved a first
home win of the season on 16th December), lost at Sedgley Park 37-18 and
last Saturday lost 0-44 to high-flyers Doncaster. So at the end of the
holiday period, Waterloo sits bottom of National One with 10 points, London
Welsh is on 21 points, Moseley 22 and Otley 24. London Welsh plays Otley at
home on Saturday.
Waterloo’s two wins have been at home against Cornish Pirates 19-16 and away
against Exeter Chiefs 22-13, two notable successes. But they have yielded
726 points, the highest in the Division, and scored 281, four points above
Otley and only nine points below Moseley’s total.
Waterloo lost coach PHIL WINSTANLY who had seen them through last season’s
promotion. He was replaced by Australian MICK MELROSE, who played 10 years
in the Sydney competition and was Head Coach of Manley for two years.
He also coached the Gentlemen of Aspen in the USA Super League.
Melrose has signed new players, such as full-back / centre PETER MURCHIE
from Bath, Australian full-back PETER LOADER, centre ANDER MONRO and lock
SIMON CROSS from Edinburgh, scrum-half CHAD ERSKINE in the USA World Cup
squad and centre ADAM SLICZNI, who is back at the club.
Also, loyal clubman DAVID BLYTHE is welcomed back to the club after being
released. He has made 232 appearances for the club, the most appearances by
a forward for Waterloo.
Still with the club is TONY HANDLEY, 232 appearances, 910 points up to the
end of last season (1993-2006). Other experienced players include the
captain FREEMAN PAYNE, a fine player whose attacking instincts have been
curbed as defence has been the priority of necessity, winger NEIL KERFOOT,
utility back JOHN BROXSON, prop MARTIN O’KEEFE, who is at Liverpool John
Moores University, and lock NIJKE TCHAKOUTE. With such players in their
ranks you wonder why they are where they are, but they have been handicapped
by many injuries and it is difficult to escape from a losing spiral.
Last, but not least, it should be mentioned that Moseley club President
Derek Nutt will have divided loyalties on Saturday as his son will be
playing for Waterloo! STEPHEN played through all Moseley’s mini and junior
sides and has represented North Midlands Colts. He was Moseley’s leading
points scorer in National One in 2002-3 and was Waterloo’s leading points
scorer in National Two in 2004-5.
And so it will be another enthralling game at Billesley on Saturday.
Moseley’s confidence will be on the up, though CHRIS HALL’S broken leg
sustained at Old Deer Park was a real downer. However, in difficult
conditions, the Moseley players did not let it affect them, as Chris would
have wanted, such is the togetherness of the squad, and it was fellow hooker
DEAN BICK who scored the only try of the match. And no yellow card fever!
One to savour
We warmly welcome all our friends, members and supporters from Waterloo and
our own faithful at Saturday and hope everyone enjoys the game, the first of
2007 and the start of a nail-biting set of challenges.