BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Coventry v Moseley, at Butts Park Arena , RFU Championship,
Friday, 2nd October 2009, k.o. 7.45 pm


“Coventry v Moseley - Moseley v Coventry”. How the call to arms has resonated down the years for this most traditional of local derbies! Butts Park Arena will be no place for the faint hearted on Friday.

Last season’s honours were reasonably even. In September Moseley beat Coventry 34-12 at Billesley but on Boxing Day at Butts Park Arena the tables were turned with a 27-10 win for home side. Overall, in National League One, both clubs were together in the middle of the table with Moseley finishing 8th and Coventry 9th.

Last weekend Coventry lost away to Cornish Pirates 14-20, whilst Moseley won at home 33-25 against Doncaster.

After four matches the new Championship table is beginning to settle down:

              P W L D  BP Pts Pos.
Moseley   4  1 3 0   2  6 8th
Coventry  4  1 3 0  1   5 10th

The results of Coventry’s matches since the start of the season (in reverse order) are:

Cornish Pirates 20 14 Coventry
Coventry 13 27 Exeter
Bedford 42 6 Coventry
Coventry 21 12 Rotherham

After three consecutive defeats, and back at home against the old enemy, Coventry will certainly be fired up by Director of Rugby Phil Maynard to gain a win and start climbing the Championship table.

In recent seasons the Blue and Whites side has been stiffened by players from overseas, notably fly half Fengata Apikato from Tonga. The team is captained by Arthur Brenton from lock and vice-captain is full back Ben Russell.

Coventry (Rugby) Football Club was founded in 1874, a year later than Moseley. In 1921 the club moved to Coundon Road, well known to generations of Moseley players and supporters and remained there for eighty-three years until the move to Butts Park Arena in 2004.

In 1973-74 on the eve of the club’s Centenary Season the club won the RFU Club Knock-Out competition twice in successive seasons and was rewarded with a fixture against the Barbarians.

Although Coventry FC was an original member of the inaugural First Division in 1987 on the advent of League rugby, relegation followed at the end of the first season. Thereafter, apart from one season in the third division, the club has been one of the better sides in the second division, which became National League One on the formation of the Premiership.

Keith Fairbrother, well known to many Moseley men from his days “robustly” propping for the club and for England in the 1970s, took charge in 1998 and drew up plans to develop the club in the new millennium and make it fit to be in the Premiership. The implementation of this however, was hindered by financial challenges and at the beginning of the 2006/07 season Fairbrother withdrew and sold the club to Andrew Green.

This season Coventry will be playing Championship home games under floodlights on Friday evenings rather than on the traditional Saturday afternoons. It is said that this can heighten the atmosphere, if ever this is needed at a Cov v Mose match!

The return fixture at Billesley now back on its traditional Boxing Day date will surely be equally exciting. Let’s hope that the Moseley Cup will be on display by then, in Moseley’s cabinet, after a good win on Friday. One thing is certain, if a win is achieved, it will have been after a very tough and competitive game. Let battle commence.

 

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