Aaron Crofts - from new boy to old hand 
by Paul Smith

Birmingham Moseley’s Aaron Crofts ended Saturday’s win over Rotherham sat on the bench with an ice-pack strapped to his ankle.

But by then, the towering second row had joined fellow back-five forwards Danny Wright and Buster Lawrence in laying the platform which the Red-and-Blacks eventually translated into a third consecutive National One home win.

The trio were part of a lineout which delivered a pitch-perfect 13-from-13 return while also stealing three of the visitors’ throws. They also contributed massive defensive shifts, while Crofts topped off their ball-carrying efforts with his first try of the season which fittingly enough came from a slick lineout move.

“Rotherham were a big pack and they played a very similar physical, confrontational style to that which Cinderford used last week,” Crofts said.

“We discussed beforehand how important it would be for us to have the right mindset and roll what we did in last week’s win on into today’s game. Although our first half was a bit slow, I think we managed that quite well overall - certainly our second half was a big improvement and that was why we came away with the win.

“My try came from something we practiced hard following our analysis of Rotherham; it’s nice when something from the training ground comes to fruition.”

It is hard to believe that the agile former Broadstreet and Old Coventrians lock is already in his fourth season at Billesley Common.

And with only six of last year’s squad still in situ, Crofts admits his transition from new boy to senior pro almost happened without him noticing.

“I’m one of the senior players now which is a weird feeling but one which I’m enjoying,” he said.

“The new lads who have come in are very easy to get along with and they have slotted straight into the club so it really hasn’t been a hard transition.

“The pre-season we had really set us up well this year. Everyone really grafted hard, that approach and spirit has rolled on into the season and as a result the buzz around the club at the moment is absolutely amazing.”

Winning regularly does of course help the atmosphere in any sporting environment. Moseley did too little of that last year, but Crofts hands the credit for both his club’s excellent start to the campaign and the hugely improved morale to new rugby director Adam Balding plus his coaching and support team.

“The new coaching group is amazing, they are really class and represent the heart and soul of rugby,” Crofts said.

“The coaches have also brought a few different tactical things in which seem well suited to the type of players we have recruited. With us having won four from five it is working well so now it’s a case of keeping things going.

“Within our wider structure we have the licence to play heads-up rugby. When you have the likes of Ben Palmer, Jonny Arr and Cliffie Hodgson you can be sure we are making the right calls at the right time, and from there it’s about how the rest of us react.”