1st XV Match Preview V Birmingham Solihull (Away) Sun 10/04/2011 

THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW – by Glyn Barlow

   

Championship Playoffs

Moseley v Birmingham & Solihull

Sunday 10th April 2.00pm @ Damson Park

   

And so the turnaround continues.

 

Having started the playoff campaign in a less than positive manner, with losses to Plymouth and Birmingham & Solihull, the team has now found its form with back to back wins over Esher.

 

While many supporters may consider the 41 – 17 home win over Esher to be the highlight so far we should not dismiss lightly the achievement last weekend of the away win over the same opponents.

 

Esher at home has always proved to be a problematic fixture for Moseley having lost 34 – 13 earlier in the regular season. Indeed it was December 2007 when last Moseley walked victorious off Esher soil with a hard fought 12 – 6 win.

 

A dominant performance by the pack was complemented by another near faultless kicking display by Ollie Thomas.

 

As with the previous week’s game the Moseley players proved to be mean in defence, allowing Esher to cross the line only once, and positive in attack with three tries to their credit.

 

With 14 tries so far in Pool C Moseley clearly is now an attacking force to be reckoned with, able to score from all phases of play and all positions. So far the tally of tries in the playoffs equal one third of the total tries which the team scored in the regular season!

 

Thus with four games down Moseley sits in third place with 16 points. One point behind Esher and 7 points ahead of Birmingham & Solihull as our neighbours again failed to take any points from the home game against Plymouth. With this win, Albion secured a future in the Championship next season.

 

And so Moseley’s attentions turn to Birmingham & Solihull and a trip to Damson Park where a win would also guarantee a place in next season’s competition. Anything less and it all comes down to the last game of the season at home to Plymouth.

 

So far this season Moseley are two games to one ahead in matches against the Bees

 

22nd October 2010

B&S

20 - 22

Moseley

29th January 2011

Moseley

42 - 16

B&S

19th March 2011

Moseley

34 - 38

B&S

 

It is the last Bees game that will hurt Moseley more than any other result this season. Having done enough in attack, scoring five tries, unfortunately the Moseley defence failed to turn up allowing Birmingham & Solihull to take the game in the 78th minute.

 

If there can be any positives taken from this result it is in the transformation of Moseley’s defensive game in the last two weeks.

 

Of course we can expect the Bees to come out of the changing room fully charged to fight for survival. Never a team to be underestimated the Bees possess some clear attacking threats that Moseley need to nullify early in the game.

 

It will be of interest to see Coach Russell Earnshaw’s involvement in the game. Having (apparently) announced his retirement from the game due to injury earlier in the week, Saturday saw a miraculous recovery with him taking his place in the starting line up against Esher. One can assume he hopes the rest of the team will follow his example with a Lazarus like performance in the clubs two remaining games. Bees must surely be feeling even more pressure than the other pool C teams at this point, needing to win the last two games to have any hope of survival.

 

Ian Smith will again have the opportunity to select from one of the strongest available squad lists this season, ensuring the team has the option of maintaining continuity in positions whilst also calling on an impressive bench if needed.

 

For the Moseley players this game provides a chance to calm the nerves and to enjoy putting their undoubted talents to good use and prove their worth in the Championship.

 

So let’s get down to Damson Park and get behind our team.