BIG MATCH PREVIEW
by Joe Heaton
Moseley did not take the opportunity last Sunday to beat Bristol, when a spirited second half fight back just failed to get any of the points which the players’ efforts deserved. This Saturday’s match is against Bedford, one of Moseley’s oldest rivals and one of this season’s form teams.
The present comparative positions of the two teams are:
P W D L F A Bonus Points Position
Bedford 14 12 0 2 440 215 8 56 2nd
Moseley 14 3 2 9 266 445 1 17 10th
Last Saturday Bedford beat Doncaster at home 35-7, while Moseley lost away to Bristol 36-25 on the Sunday.
In the away match at Bedford early in the season, played on a Friday evening on 24th September, Moseley lost by 12- 41. Having previously drawn with Doncaster away, and beaten Cornish Pirates and Bristol at home, this was the poorer performances which carried on through October.
In the game Moseley did not contain winger James Short, whose performance included a first half hat-trick. Moseley replied with two tries scored by Pennycook late in the game. It was the 100th meeting between the two old rivals.
Last Saturday Moseley played much better at Bristol than in many previous matches but still not well enough to avoid a defeat by eleven points, in spite of the inclusion for the first time of the long awaited Bevon Armitage and a debut try by scrum half Dan Robson.
A strong Moseley’s defence, especially in the centre, is imperative and Bedford’s attack, which has already scored an average of over 30 points per match this season, will be a very stern test of it’s capability under pressure.
Bedford, situated fifty miles north of London, on the Great Ouse and the A6, is a typical English County Town that greatly values its well supported rugby club.
Bedford RFC was founded in 1886 by the amalgamation of Bedford and Bedford Swifts. Both clubs had close connections with Bedford and Bedford Modern Schools that had (and still have) associations with several of the Oxbridge Colleges. It was not surprising therefore that the members chose light blue and dark blue for the club colours.
The Bedford club has played on its ground in Godlington Road for over one hundred years and, during that time, thirty two Bedford players have been awarded international caps.
The Blues modern history is remarkably similar to Moseley’s. When the leagues were introduced in 1987-88, Bedford was placed in Division 2 but a promotion to Division 1 quickly followed in 1989. The club’s playing affairs are now managed by Mike Rayer, a former player.
In 1996, to enable the club to go professional, the boxing promoter Frank Warren and a firm called Sports Network made major investments in Bedford and quality players were recruited.
This initially paid off as the club was promoted to Division 1 in 1998. However, soon after in 1999, financial problems arose and the then owners sold the club to Jefferson Lloyd International. This was a financial disaster and in October of that year the RFU intervened to allow a consortium of Bedford business men, supported by the Town Council, to take over the club and offer shares to the members and local burghers. Several thousand shares were sold and the club is now viable, with high aspirations.
Whatever the weather on Saturday, both sets of supporters hope for an
encouraging performance by both teams in the true rugby spirit of bygone
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