by Joe Heaton

Leeds Carnegie v Moseley, at Headingley , National League Division 1,
Saturday, November 23rd, 2008, k.o. 3.00 pm

It is generally agreed that there is a wide gap in standards between the Guinness Premiership and National League One but uncertainty as to whether or not it is closing. Last Sunday’s narrow win for the Yorkshire side against Cornish Pirates may have provided an indication although this weekend’s match between Leeds and Moseley may provide a better pointer.

Upon promotion back to the Premiership in June 2007, Leeds former Chairman, Paul Caddick, transferred control of the club to Leeds Metropolitan University, with Vice Chairman Prof Simon Lee heading up a new board as Chairman.

The extra resources provided by Leeds Met saw the renamed Leeds Carnegie play in front of booming crowds at Headingley Carnegie. Despite a disappointing season on the pitch, which saw just two victories, crowds grew substantially, with a highest attendance of over 7,000 beating the previous best of 5,573 set in the 2004-05 season when the club won the Powergen Cup. Bearing in mind that Carnegie is located in the heart of Rugby League country, these are impressive figures.

The name Carnegie comes from the Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie whose Trust funded the establishment of a PE teacher training college in Leeds in the 1930s.

The old Leeds Club had been in the Premiership for the five seasons 2001-02 to 2005-06 inclusive but, upon returning there at the start of last season found that the standards and intensity of the competition had risen. Leeds won only two matches and drew one and suffered the inevitable relegation again, hence the match against Moseley on Sunday.

The club now has a very productive Rugby Academy from which no less than eight of the present First XV Squad have graduated.

In spite of relegation Leeds recruited well during the off season, the most interesting new player being centre Henry Paul, who is a dual code international. Head Coach is the former England flanker Neil Back.

The relative positions of Carnegie and Moseley in National League One, after playing twelve matches, are:

         P   W D L BP P Pos
Leeds 12 12 0 0 8 56 1st

Moseley 12 5 0 7 7 27 10th

The results of Leeds’ last three matches are:

November 16th Cornish Pirates 23 v Leeds 25 W
November 9th Leeds 19 v Bedford 8 W
November 1st Leeds 28 v Doncaster 13 W

Moseley will travel up the M1, knowing that there is a huge task ahead. It is improbable, however, that the Yorkshiremen will win every match of the season and, as Cornish Pirates almost showed last Sunday, it must be possible for a non ex Premiership side to beat them.

Moseley’s performances have been continuously improving since the start of the season and this progress deserves a noteworthy reward at some stage. The team’s discipline against Doncaster was exemplary and the favourable penalty margin in that game has to be repeated against Leeds if a respectable performance is to be achieved.

The Moseley players’ tackling in open play against Doncaster was strong and a win was possible with less than a quarter of an hour to go. Unfortunately, it was not to be and even what would have been a well deserved draw slipped away when a gap suddenly opened up in the defensive cover at the last scrum of the match.

Games have been lost in the last five minutes of many of Moseley’s games this season and with a little more conditioning and concentration to the final whistle more league points must surely come. We wish the team well on Sunday.



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