BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Nottingham v Moseley, at Meadow Lane, National League Division 1,
Sunday, February 1st 2009, k.o. 3.00 pm


The problem in writing this review is to decide whether Sunday’s match will be “Nottingham v Moseley” as the team played for the first quarter of the match last Saturday against Rotherham, or “Nottingham v Moseley” as the team performed for the last three quarters of the same game. If it is the former, Moseley can anticipate a heavy defeat, but if it is the latter then the Moseley faithful could travel in anticipation of a tight game and the possibility of an away win.

Nottingham Rugby Club, founded in 1877 four years after Moseley, has recently been one of National League One’s most consistent performers. In the last three seasons the club has been seventh, ninth and a well deserved third, and currently stands in fifth place, with 66 points, compared with Moseley’s 43 points and ninth place. The third place last season was achieved by gaining equal points with Exeter which could equally be viewed as a “second equal” finish.

Last season, while Moseley beat Nottingham 28-21 away in the first match of the campaign, in December 2008 the tables were turned at Billesley Common with 36-27 Moseley loss. This season, in October, Notts narrowly won 24-26 at Billesley.

Moseley now has a well settled side, which is growing in confidence and backed by a good squad of replacements with 1st XV experience. On the other hand, Glenn Delaney, Nottingham’s Director of Rugby who has done an excellent job in building his team, could be feeling some pressure now.

It is common knowledge that the Nottingham club is under severe financial pressure and that if it survives, a return to semi-professionalism may be inevitable next season. It is difficult to judge how the worry associated with such uncertainty will affect the players on Saturday. Will they be able to concentrate on the task in hand of beating Moseley or relax, knowing that the outcome of the match is immaterial in the wider scheme of things?

The results of Nottingham’s last three Division 1 league matches are:

24th January 2009 Doncaster 25 v Nottingham 14 L
11th January 2009 Nottingham 23 v Cornish Pirates 19 W
28th December 2008 Nottingham 36 v Esher 14 W

In addition, in the Fourth Round of the EDF Trophy competition Nottingham beat Blaydon 33-22
 

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