A 2018/19 campaign which saw Birmingham Moseley in an eight-month-long survival battle, provided their loyal followers with very few memorable moments.
Aquile Smith’s hat-trick during this season’s opening day demolition of Hull Ionians was therefore a more-than-welcome reminder of better times, after which a hint of disbelief accompanied the speedy winger’s repeat performance against Bishop’s Stortford only a fortnight later.
Imagine the reaction, therefore, when news broke from Cinderford that flanker Morgan Dawes had claimed his club’s third three-timer in just four September outings.
In truth, such was the scale of his contribution, had Moseley’s No.7 finished tryless in a beaten team, he would still have claimed the man-of-the-match award by a distance.
But to bag a hat-trick at a notoriously tough venue and be the driving force behind a win which lifted the Red-and-Blacks to third in the fledgling National One table was truly a stupendous effort.
“It was mad,” Dawes said. “I didn’t think I’d get anything like that this season.
“With Aquile also getting two, that’s three hat-tricks in four games for us, which reflects the style of rugby we are playing.
“The really good thing is that Aquile’s scores came from our wide game and his brilliant finishing, whereas my tries came when we were being more direct and I was the lucky one on the end of a system where the boys all chipped in.”
Cinderford won ten and drew one of their 15 home games last season, and when they scored two early tries and their juggernaut pack made a mess of Moseley’s front row, Adam Balding’s team appeared to face a long afternoon.
But the second quarter brought a transformation in the match, and as the next hour progressed the visitors’ self-belief and confidence visibly grew.
“We knew Cinderford would keep things very tight up front – they drove 13 of 15 lineouts in their previous match,” Dawes explained.
“So we were expecting a tough shift up front, and knew we had to pull things in, work really hard for each other and hang in.
“Getting a win in a hostile environment like this is really great and we are all buzzing. We’ve got Rotherham at home next, but we will definitely take that feeling on the road with us in two weeks’ time.”
Dawes is one of a number of Billesley Common new faces to make a favourable early impression, but unlike his new teammates he is not totally new to the club.
“I was originally a Moseley Colt, then after playing for North Otago in New Zealand’s Heartland Championship I went to Broadstreet in National Two,” he said.
“Thankfully Moseley spotted I was doing alright there and asked me to come back and I’m glad to be home.”
Head coach Pete Glackin was fulsome in his praise for the flanker.
“Morgan was outstanding from start to finish,” he said. “He covered every blade of grass in both attack and defence and was right at the heart of our win.
“He was a bundle of energy across the whole 80 minutes, which typified exactly what we asked the boys to bring today.”
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