1st XV Match Preview V Cornish Pirates (h) Fri 21/02/2014 

by Glyn Barlow

Prepare to repel all boarders the Pirates are coming!

This Friday we welcome visitors from the Duchy to Billesley for another hard fought encounter between the two clubs.

How hard fought? Well if recent history between the two clubs is anything to go by then it will be a close encounter. Remarkably the last three seasons has seen three draws at Billesley between the two teams. Earlier this campaign Moseley put in arguably one of their better early season performances at The Mennaye but unfortunately let the game slip away 28-13.

Pirates currently sit in sixth place, with two wins more than Moseley. Having been a team who regularly challenge playoff positions they will not be happy with this and will clearly be targeting Friday’s match as an opportunity to put pressure on London Scottish who reside one place above them.

This ambition was not helped in their last Championship fixture (last weeks Home game against London Welsh going the same way as tonight’s original fixture due to the weather) when they drew at home to basement dwellers Ealing. This result came on the back of away losses to Scottish (25-5) and Rotherham (35-30). These disappointments can however be tempered somewhat by fine wins earlier in the season over Bristol (twice), Scottish and Bedford, in what has been a somewhat unpredictable season to date. Away travel has proved to be a particular Achilles heel so far with their only win on the road being their first game at Ealing in September.

Prominent in the Cornishmen’s efforts has been scrum half/wing Tom Kessell who has crossed the try line eight times and ever reliable kicker Kieran Hallett.

Since Moseley and Pirates last met the team, under Head Coach Ian Davies, will have felt considerable disappointment following the departure after Christmas of Assistant Coach Harvey Biljon to take up the role of Head Coach at Jersey.

For Moseley it’s probably best we do not dwell on last Sunday’s result.

This week the team has the chance to regain some pride and gain vital league points with only four points between them and seventh place Plymouth Albion. As much as the team will be keen to advance up the league they will also be keeping one eye on both Jersey and Ealing who currently sit below them.

The pack will be looking to build on a series of good set piece performances in recent weeks, particularly in the scrum. Behind the forwards we need to see some astute tactical kicking to deprive Pirates of opportunities to counter attack and to ensure Moseley have the better of territorial position. Across the team defence needs to be improved and the probable return of Anthony Carter to marshal things from full back should help this considerably.

As the first game with the current stand relocated to the east of the pitch lets ensure the lads know that you are “Standing” right behind them (well to the side really).

 

Please note: Access to the relocated stand will be via the hospitality box entrance, the roof has yet to be fitted. Gate access to ground & car parking will be as normal. The previous stand area is now out of bounds to the public and will be fenced off.