BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Cornish Pirates v  Moseley, at Camborne, RFU Championship,
Sunday 13th September 2009, k.o. 3.00 pm


Moseley’s second match in the new Championship, away against Cornish Pirates
( Penzance & Newlyn that was) on Sunday, is hardly less demanding than last Saturday afternoon’s defeat by Exeter 25-50 which revealed a shortage of pre-season training together and an understandable lack of cohesion on the pitch with no less than twelve players making their league debuts for the club. It was just too much to expect so many players new to the club to gel in such a short time.

On the other hand, Cornish Pirates beat Nottingham, which was a significant result as the “men in green” had beaten them in their last five meetings, 24-13 away from home. This was a very good result, bearing in mind that, like Moseley, several of their key players were missing injured. The Pirates will feel confident of beating us, especially bearing in mind last season’s wins for them in National League One, 19-15 at Westholm in October 2008 and 37-26 at Billesley this February.

Since Moseley returned to National League One in 2006, the two clubs have met on seven occasions (including one 'Cup' encounter). Penzance & Newlyn emerged comfortable winners of the first three encounters (a points ratio of 142-31 in their favour), but the last four, which included one win for Moseley, have been very close (ratio 91-77 in the Pirates favour).

The Pirates are a fully professional outfit, coached by Chris Stirling. Their ultimate ambition is to gain promotion to the Premiership and field a full team of Cornishmen. Their record in the latter seasons of National League One is impressive in its consistency:

2004-05 4th
2005-06 3rd
2006-07 5th Winner EDF Energy Trophy. Pirates 19-16 Exeter
2007-08 5th
2008-09 6th

Could Moseley cause an upset? If the injured players retained from last season (notably skipper Gareth Taylor, Neil Mason, Andy Reay and James Rodwell) recover sooner than expected, and the newcomers fully integrate into the side, Moseley could win.

Unfortunately, however, neither of these conditions is likely to be met before this Sunday. It would be disappointing though if the new team failed to bring a bonus point home. It would be distressing if Moseley had to face Nottingham at Billesley Common a week on Saturday (19th) with no points at the bottom of the Championship table.

At the time of writing, the selected Moseley team has not been published. It will be fascinating to see how Ian Smith reacts to last Saturday’s result with the still limited resources at his disposal.

 

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