Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow
A new year starts, and with it we hope a new approach from Moseley which will yield much needed Championship points.
This week we extend a warm welcome to Jersey on their first visit to Billesley Common.
As is often the case with teams promoted into the Championship Jersey initially found the step up from National One to be a tough one, but they have so far proved they are no pushovers with some impressive results coming in recent games. Just prior to Christmas they gave their supporters an early present with an impressive 20 – 17 win over Leeds. During the previous few weeks they just lost out to Doncaster, held Professional outfit Newcastle to 3 – 24, beat Plymouth Albion 16 – 14, and London Scottish 20 – 17. All indications are of a team finding its feet and starting to cause problems for their opponents. Still seeking an elusive Championship away win we can be certain that they will be visiting Birmingham with only one outcome in their sights.
Currently Jersey sit one point above Moseley in tenth place, on fourteen points, having achieved one more win. One cannot underestimate the potential importance of this match to Moseley. While it is fair to say that there are still nine more games and 45 points up for grabs after Saturday, a win would give Moseley a chance to pull away from Doncaster, currently in bottom place, leapfrog Jersey and start to put pressure on the likes of London Scottish and Plymouth Albion.
Since the two clubs met in St Peter earlier in the season Jersey have bolstered their pack with a loan signing of hooker Charlie Clare from Leicester. Claire joins another loan signing in full back / centre Max Stelling (a product of Moseley’s Colts and before that Mini & Juniors where his Dad Nigel was Chairman and tour stalwart. Nigel was also prominent on the club's discipline committee both at M&J and Senior level!) from Worcester. The connection between Moseley & Jersey extends beyond Stelling with Coach Ben Harvey having played fly half for Moseley and more recently Jersey center Dai Bishop was at Billesley during the 2010/11 season.
The traffic has certainly not been all one way with Kevin Maggs moving swiftly, to make what may be one of the most significant signings of the season, in the (large) shape of ex Welsh International and Jersey player/coach Ben Evans. Ben’s availability came at the perfect time for Moseley where props are currently rarer than turkeys celebrating Christmas, and he lost no time in making his presence felt at Nottingham where he dominated (along with the rest of the pack) the home scrum and brought a glimmer of light to Moseley supporters, so used this season to seeing great forward commitment with scant reward. It will be very interesting to see how Ben performs on his home debut against his ex-club, you could not write a better script than this.
While it is never pleasant to lose a game a number of positives will have been taken from the match in Nottingham. To have held a team currently riding high in third place to just an 18 – 9 result (bearing in mind last season’s painful 62 – 20 away defeat) was no mean feat. Add to this the fact that the forwards started to deliver on their promise, suggests now that if Kevin can get the backs firing to their true potential we may at last start seeing more tries and wins.
So the stage is set for Moseley to begin 2013 with a statement of intent. With the next month offering two games against opposition in the lower half of the Championship table, plus the final two B&I cup pool games (a pool which Moseley currently top) there is a great opportunity to build confidence and momentum for the second half of this seasons campaign.
Let’s hope the team is ready to blow away the Christmas cobwebs give us all something to cheer come the final whistle.
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