by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v  Exeter Chiefs - at Billesley Common - Saturday, 3rd January 2009, k.o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

The Christmas & New Year Holiday ends with a bang at Billesley Common with one of Moseley’s most attractive remaining fixtures: the return match against Exeter Chiefs.

To meet the demands of the printers this preview was written well before the results of the matches being played on Boxing Day and Saturday, 27th (notably Coventry v Moseley and Exeter v Cornish Pirates) were known. Whatever they were, however, they can only have had marginal effects on the wider scenario.

Exeter will still be challenging Leeds hard at the top of the National League One table and Moseley will be as keen as ever to hold a place among the top eleven teams to ensure a place next season in the proposed new Championship.

The Chiefs have made no secret of their ambition to join the Premiership. Boosted by the extra income generated by their purpose built ground, Sandy Park, they assembled a talented and fully professional squad, recruited widely, notably from their close rivals in the South West, and their strategy may yet pay off.

Exeter Rugby Club has come a long way since competitive league rugby started in 1987-8, with a place in National League Two. This is also the club’s eleventh season in the second tier, with best finishes being second in 2004-05 and second again last season. So far this term the Chiefs have scored 653 points in seventeen matches, an average of over 38 points per match. Moseley’s defence will need to be in top form to have any chance of making a mark.

Moseley, of course, is a semi-professional club, but one which recently has shown that its players can take on, if not beat, some of the professional outfits in this league and this is only one of the interesting facets of this game.

In the away game on 20th September, however, Moseley lost in an embarrassingly heavily defeat by 10-70. The Moseley players in that game were desperately disappointed at the outcome and are determined this time to deliver a better performance at Billesley Common and have a bigger impact on the game.

In their last two matches before the Christmas holiday, Exeter won one and drew one as follows:

20th December Leeds 18 v Exeter 16 L

13th December Exeter 12 v…Esher 12 D

The Chiefs will therefore be very motivated to return to winning ways and the Moseley players will have to be at their very best to get anything out of the game. The anticipated large crowd should ensure that the occasion will not lack atmosphere and hopefully the considerable home support will ensure a respectable performance is provided by the home side. We wish them well.

Ticket offer for North Midland clubs - details here

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