1st XV Match Preview V Esher (Away) Sat 02/04/2011 

THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW - by Glyn Barlow

 

Championship Playoffs

Esher v Moseley

Saturday 2nd April 3.00pm @ Esher

 

What a difference a week makes!

 

Following the despair of the loss to Birmingham & Solihull, Moseley followers and players left Billesley Common last Friday elated by a performance that finally delivered the result everyone was looking for.

 

All to infrequently this season the team has fallen short of its undoubted potential, leaving everyone confused as to why this is the case. Based on Friday’s game the squad may just have found the answer to that conundrum. And not a moment too soon.

 

This was a night when all parts of Moseley’s game functioned with great effectiveness. As with the Bees game the week before the cutting edge in attack was there, with a further four try haul earning a valuable bonus point. What was noticeable from the outset was an intensity in defence which never allowed Esher the chance to build any significant attacking phases.

 

It would be unfair to single out any players in particular as this was a game won by teamwork. The demonstration of this was to be found in the support play which continually kept the ball moving with pace. This coupled with a master class on goal kicking from Ollie Thomas ensured the Esher players were never able to close the gap.

 

So the results so far this season now stand at :

 

28th August 10

Moseley

17 – 29

Esher

19th February 11

Esher

34 – 13

Moseley

26th March 11

Moseley

41 – 17

Esher

 

This last result sees Moseley move back above Birmingham & Solihull and open up a three point gap due to the Bees losing on Friday to Plymouth, failing to secure a bonus point. The two bonus points Moseley achieved against the Bees may yet prove crucial to the final standings.

 

And we now face the challenging prospect of back to back matches against the same opponents.

 

For both teams the challenge will be to bring new plays to the game while at the same time working on eliminating the opposition’s successes from last week. The coaching team faces some interesting questions. Keep the same winning team or introduce new players to the mix to provide Esher with even more options to combat? With the likes of Bevon Armitage & Mike Maidment being held in reserve last week Ian Smith is not short of ball carrying options.

 

Despite the impressive score line Moseley will be looking to improve further. They will need to as Esher has a formidable home record having already defeated London Welsh, Cornish Pirates and Bristol in the Championship at Hersham this season and Moseley has not won there for a number of seasons.

 

With Esher undoubtedly fired up for revenge as well, it will be a major achievement for Moseley to get anything out of the game on Saturday.   But there will be opportunities to do so. Had a couple of scoring passes gone to hand Moseley could have built an even greater lead. In tighter matches these chances cannot be missed and Esher will not be making as many mistakes as last Friday.

 

One thing is certain Esher players will be looking for revenge. At home, in front of their supporters, they will be a different prospect and Moseley must forget last week and approach this game as the biggest challenge of the season to date.

 

This is another important game (as are all in the dreaded Pool C) which, if the Moseley players do succeed, will keep the pressure on the teams above to ensure that fixtures against the bottom club are still competitive until the last match in the pool.  As we progress to the final week it could be the teams which handle the pressure best which will be playing rugby in the Championship next season.

 

 

We’d like to say ”thank you” to all those who wrote in offering assistance with the Big Match Previews following Joe Heaton’s retirement. However our new Moseley Matters supremo Glyn Barlow has kindly agreed to undertake the role combining it with his other duties producing your favourite weekly rugby periodical. Glyn brings his own unique perspective to forthcoming matches and we hope his “BMP’s” will be interesting and informative to all our readers. – sub Ed.