1st XV Match Preview V Plymouth Albion (h) Sat 18/04/2015 

by Glyn Barlow

Well you can’t accuse this Moseley team of not building up the tension.

With Plymouth Albion going down 7-65 to league leaders Bristol last Saturday Moseley had a golden opportunity to secure their Championship existence with a win at Bedford, but alas it wasn’t to be.

With a strong wind behind them, combined with the Goldington Road slope in their favour, the team went into half time ahead and courtesy of two well taken second half tries by Ben Nutley and Will Owen they soon extended it to a 14-21 lead. It could have been more if two scything breaks by Josh Skelcey could have been finished off.

Unfortunately they could not keep the pressure on as Bedford started to use the “breeze” to their advantage pinning Moseley deep in their own territory. Its credit to the team’s determination that they tried everything to extract themselves from this position. At one point leaving supporters bemused as they morphed into the Harlem Globetrotters on their own try line looking for an elusive break.

Unfortunately ball retention did not match endeavour and a last minute try from loose ball saw even a bonus point slip away.

The loss has set up what may be the biggest game for many a season between Moseley and Albion this Saturday. With seven points separating the teams Moseley need to win to ensure its not left to a last game trip to Jersey to stay up while Plymouth just need to win, no other outcome will help them.

It’s fair to say that whatever the outcome of the next two games for Plymouth they will be glad to see the back of this season. It’s been a trying one on so many levels. Financial stress, change of board, coaching changes and issues off field would have seen a lesser club capitulate, but its testament to the club and the people at Albion that they are taking this down to the wire.

Last week’s heavy loss to Bristol is probably not something we should draw too many conclusions from as to how this game may play out. The team against Bristol saw six changes from that which ran Pirates close the week before. Indeed if we want a recent indication of potential form we should consider that prior to this Albion beat Jersey (18-17), Rotherham (22-8) drew with London Scottish (12-12) and contained Worcester to 29-8 away. Make no mistake this is a capable Plymouth team whose position does not reflect their potential.

Last time the two teams met Moseley found this out to their cost as Albion secured their first win of the season 19-18, with Moseley just missing out as an injury time long range kick dipped under the bar by inches. Discipline proved the undoing of Moseley that day playing a quarter of the game a man short.

This week Moseley must forget there is a game to go in Jersey and treat this as the last chance, a cup final game, as that is how Plymouth will come at them. Ball retention must be improved, discipline must be exemplarity and the forwards must once again dig deep to allow the backs to put pressure on the Albion defence.

What a game to celebrate the launch of the new stand! Let’s hope the Moseley lads do themselves justice in front of it.