by Glyn Barlow
At last the duck is broken and Moseley chalked up their first win of the season against Nottingham last Saturday.
The victory was all the more commendable in that this was quite possibly the youngest Moseley team (on average) to take to the field at Billesley Common with Greg King and Joe Carpenter the old men of the starting XV at 26.
Of the many commendable performances in the youthful team Jack Lea, making his first starting appearance, looked like a player of many seasons experience as he consistently hit his lineout jumpers and was a significant presence in loose play. Based on this performance the competition for the number 2 shirt has become even more intense. Out on the wing Louis Roach showed us glimpses of why he was signed to the squad at just 18 with footwork that would not have shamed Shane Williams. With some more experience under his belt he will be an exciting prospect for the future.
In the pack the back row of Joe Carpenter, Harry Hone & Charley Thomas put in an industrious performance demonstrating the impressive strength in depth the club has in these positions. In midfield Greg King & Will Owen demonstrated why they have been selected as a unit for the Championship XV with some mean defence coupled with some impressive line breaks. The only disquieting aspect of play was the failure of the scrum to fire during the first half but this was resolved with the injection of Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Craig Voisey and Greg Charlton to the fray just after the interval.
While Moseley were winning against Nottingham Worcester were doing likewise against Munster A. A close fought encounter saw Worcester grab the game from Munster A with a last minute try from back row Sam Betty (his second of the match) to leave them with a 100% cup record to date having previously beat Nottingham 19 – 26.
The B&I Cup encounter represents the second of four encounters between Moseley and Worcester this season. The two teams already met on the second week of the league campaign when Worcester were the winners 23 – 7 at Sixways.
The team and many of their supporters will have felt that the score line didn’t reflect the effort put in by Moseley who were pushing Worcester hard right up to the final whistle. Indiscipline cost the team two yellow cards which combined with some costly lapses of concentration saw the team having to play too much catch up rugby. To their credit Moseley never looked outclassed by Worcester and may have surprised their hosts with their performance. A more disciplined and controlled approach could well have provided quite an upset and Moseley will have taken confidence from the game.
How this week’s cup encounter will play out could well be decided by selection policy as much as anything. With one more week until the league recommences there will be many thoughts passing through the minds of the respective coaching teams; Do you give fringe players another opportunity to press their claim? Do you go for the likely league starting XV to get them battle hardened again? Do you rest some players to avoid them getting injured? Who would be a Championship coach?
For Moseley this could be the ideal opportunity to target a win by going with the strongest team selection (although a few players in the last couple of weeks have made that a less obvious call) and use the game as a springboard for confidences into part two of the Championship campaign. It should be an exciting encounter.
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