by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v Cornish Pirates -  at Billesley Common - Saturday, Feb 21st 2009, k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

Those supporters, whose memories go back before the “ice age”, may recollect that the last National League One match played here at Billesley Common on 24th January resulted in a resounding 43-21 victory over Rotherham, after one of the most dramatic turns around in the history of the club.

Unfortunately, however, the superb form shown in the second half was not replicated in the following match, away to Nottingham on 1st February, when the Moseley players were brought back down to earth and lost 17-44. We must hope that the team can again reach the heights on Saturday in a match against Cornish Pirates (Penzance & Newlyn RFC as it is more properly known), that will not be spoilt by the weather.

In the corresponding away fixture in the first half of the season, on 26th October 08, Moseley earned a well deserved bonus point in losing 15-19, with a team (especially the forwards) very similar to that which could be fielded on Saturday afternoon.

This is an important game for Moseley because of the recent good form of Esher. The Surrey club will not surrender the possibility of competing in the new Championship next season without a fight and has consolidated 12th place in the League. Moseley currently occupies joint 10th place although with nine more points and a game in hand over Esher and eleven games to play. We cannot afford to be complacent, as a win by Esher with a bonus point combined with a Moseley loss would cut the gap to only four points.

The results of the last three National League One games played by Cornish Pirates are:

31st January - Rotherham 22 Cornish Pirates 34

25th January - Cornish Pirates 25 Manchester 10

11th January - Nottingham 23 Cornish Pirates 8

Also, last Saturday, Pirates were knocked out of the EDF Energy National Trophy by Nottingham 39- 8.

The League positions of Moseley and Cornish Pirates at the start of this match are

                     P W D L BP Points Position

Cornish Pirates 21 12 1 8 11 61 6th

Moseley          19 8 0 11 11 43 11th

“Cornish Pirates” is the “trading name” for the Penzance Newlyn club. It is a fully professional outfit and the team is now coached by Mark Hewitt*, following the departure of Australian Jim McKay, the previous Director of Rugby. The club’s ultimate ambitions are to gain promotion to the Premiership and to field a full team of Cornishmen.

The club’s greatest achievement was to win the EDF Energy National Trophy at the end of the 2006-07 season by beating the west country rivals, Exeter Chiefs, 19-16. Since promotion from National League Two at the end of season 2002-03, Penzance & Newlyn has consistently been in the higher ranks of National League One:

2003/4 10th
2004/5 4th
2005/6 3rd
2006/7 5th
2007/8 5th

Last season in the League, honours between our two clubs were even. In December 07 Moseley lost away 15-7, but won at home in April 08, 29-20; a splendid win as Moseley finished the season on a high. If this weekend’s match is anything like that we are in for some entertaining rugby on Saturday.

*After we went to press the following appeared on the Pirates website...............

17th February 2009 - The Cornish Pirates have today terminated the contract of Mark Hewitt as Coach and he will be leaving with immediate effect. Brett Davey will assume responsibility for all coaching at the Club until the end of the season. We will be advertising for a forwards and a backs coach to be in post next season under the direction of a High Performance Manager.


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