Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow
After the disappointment of the Bristol game being postponed Moseley restart their Championship campaign at Newcastle this Friday (weather permitting).
With their last match nearly three weeks ago the team will at least be well rested to face the current runaway league leaders. A big ask no doubt to expect the boys to record a win but Moseley have always been a team that likes to create the odd upset against the big teams and it has to be said Newcastle haven’t been showing the dominant form in matches recently that saw them score 53 points during their earlier season visit to Billesley Common.
While it’s a long way from becoming a case of Newcastle faltering in their aim to bounce straight back to the Premiership a 9 – 13 win at Leeds, 10 – 28 win at bottom place Doncaster and a skin of the teeth 12 – 9 home win over London Scottish just prior to Christmas suggest either Newcastle are slowing down a little or that other clubs are finding they don’t need to be so in awe of the leagues big spenders.
It has to be said that on paper Newcastle should be a tough proposition for any team with the likes of Scotland back row Ally Hogg, Italian giant Carlo Del Fava, current Scotland squad member Rory Lawson and points machine Jimmy Gopperth in their ranks. Due to the confusion at the end of last season regarding London Welsh’s promotion Newcastle had already assembled a squad to progress up the Premiership ladder under England legend Dean Richards.
Recent weeks have seen a number of Newcastle players, including the aforementioned Hogg and Del Fava, out with injuries, the latest being former Bedford wing and Falcons top try scorer Luke Fielding due to a knee injury. In a move to bolster the squad Newcastle have recently signed up and coming Tynedale and England U20 No 8 Ollie Stedman. Indeed recruitment may not end there with Dean Richards reported to be considering turning to Rugby League to supplement the team further.
Fortunately for Moseley time has been kinder in terms of player fitness. With pretty much a full squad to select from Coaches Maggs & Hilton will be pleased that this time around against Newcastle they can call on Captain Mike Powell to lend his experience to the pack. Also the strengthening of the front row due to the signing of Ben Evans and welcome return of Tom Warren means that Dave Hilton will not have to provide cover on the bench.
At Billesley Common in early October the young and inexperienced (at this level) pack had no answer for the Newcastle pack boasting 131 international caps between them. The intervening months has seen the Moseley youngsters forced to mature and learn the ways of the Championship at a significant pace and the likes of Addison Lockley, Buster Lawrence and Ollie Robinson are almost unrecognisable from the players that took to the field at the start of the season.
Friday will provide the players with an opportunity to prove how far they have come, particularly against the Falcons eight who scored all seven tries in their last encounter. If the team can put together the type of performance they have shown in all too brief moments then they just might silence some of the Newcastle supporters already speculating on another 50 point win.
Let’s home the team leave their first visit to Kingston Park with heads held high and just maybe having delivered the shock of the season so far.
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