by Glyn Barlow
This Saturday Moseley will make a rare excursion overseas with a visit to newly promoted Jersey.
Rugby started in Jersey in 1879 with the club moving to its current ground at St Peters, near the airport, in 1961. A new clubhouse was opened in 1994, followed by a new stand two years ago.
In 2010 Jersey began an impressive rise through the leagues by winning National League 3. This was followed by a brief visit to NL2 which culminated with promotion to the Championship last season after seeing off the challenge of Ealing.
In order to prepare for life in the Championship the Channel Islanders have made a number of new signings including No. 8 Fred Silcock from Loughborough Students, centre Tom Cooper from the Cornish Pirates, locks Dave Markham from Leicester Tigers and Rob Anderson from Rosslyn Park plus Worcester Academy products Sean McCarthy at prop and Joel Dudley at scrum half. In addition former captain Talite Vaoileti and prop Ross Kenwright have returned to the club. Unfortunately big name signing Richard Haughton from Wasps did not last beyond pre-season, as he has already left the club to join French Top 14 side UAS Perpignan.
So far this season Jersey’s life in the Championship may have been tougher than previously experienced however the Islanders have acquitted themselves well in both matches to date. A tough opening weekend home fixture losing by 6-20 to last season’s Championship finalists Cornish Pirates to a 6 – 20 loss was followed by a defeat away at Leeds by 32 – 19.
For Moseley this weekend is an opportunity to continue the new look team’s experience of playing together. Last week’s game against Nottingham again served up a frustrating blend of creativity, determination and mistakes which combined to see a game Moseley could have won slip away. As with Bedford the previous week Moseley started well and had a 10 – 7 lead within 20 minutes. It was, however, again unforced errors that gave Nottingham scoring opportunities; an area the players must focus on eliminating. There is certainly enough ability in this team not to have to try to take chances when nothing is on and loose or careless passes must be avoided. A patient build up and quick clearing out at breakdowns will force openings in the opposition defence.
That game, however, was a big step forward from the earlier trip to Goldington Road. While you could not say the lineout was working any way near 100% efficiency an improvement has been made in this department and it is clear that work has obviously been put into the restarts. More of the same steps forward please pack.
For Moseley to succeed in St Peter’s the team needs to play to its strengths. Securing quicker ball into the backs hands will allow Charlie Hayter to build upon the impressive line breaks he made last week. With the likes of Simon Hunt and Anders Mogenson waiting on the wings like caged greyhounds it would be criminal not to give them space and ball in which to operate.
This is still a very new Moseley squad with players getting used to both each other and the style of play which Kevin Maggs is developing. The team is moving forward and an island off the coast of France could be the place for an exciting continuation of that process.
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