1st XV Match Preview V Jersey (a) Sat 25/04/2015 

 

by Glyn Barlow

It’s hard to believe another season is nearly over.

This weekend for their final game, providing an element of symmetry, Moseley cross the Channel to take on Jersey with the spectre of relegation banished, so it should be all the more enjoyable a trip at least for the travelling supporters.

We can be sure the team will receive a robust reception on the pitch as Jersey look to gain their first Championship win over Moseley (along with Bristol the only Championship team Jersey have yet to beat). Their last attempt being thwarted by a twenty two all draw at the start of the season, thanks to a last quarter brace of Drew Cheshire tries and an eightieth minute Ollie Thomas conversion. In addition a win for Jersey gives them a realistic chance of overtaking Cornish Pirates into seventh place.

By the same token Moseley will want to finish their season in style, and prove that last week’s comprehensive 29-0 win over Plymouth Albion was more reflective of what the team can deliver than recent results have shown. To shut out any team at this level is no small feat and the nature of the win will be almost as pleasing as its implications. But while considering implications we should spare a thought for Albion, a fine club who have suffered more than their fair share of trials this season, and hope they will prosper and recover in the future.

The Moseley victory was built on a collective pack performance which saw a strong presence in the scrum being complemented by sharp play at the breakdown. This allowed the backs to play a sound tactical game keeping Plymouth under pressure. No doubt the third minute try from Nathan Williams set just the right tone for the performance to come.

This weekend Jersey will provide a very different challenge. Having run league leaders Bristol close 40-29 last Friday the team will be feeling confident based on their recent wins over Cornish Pirates (28-26) and Worcester (23-21). Indeed in the last month their only other loss was a very credible 16-12 performance at Headingley against Yorkshire Carnegie.

Since the two teams met, way back in the first week of the season, the islanders have increased their squad with the recruitment of Samoan international wing/centre Fautua Otto, Scotland U20 back row/second row Gary Graham from Gala and Tongan international scrum half Samisoni Fisilau from Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. The Moseley team and supporters may also reacquaint themselves with a few familiar faces in St Peter as former players Ryan Glynn (37 appearances for Moseley), Mark Foster (5), Ben Maidment (6), David Bishop (7) and Danny Herriott (18) are all now plying their trade on the island.

A trip to Jersey probably is the ideal place to celebrate the end of the season, let’s hope the team give supporters one final reason to cheer as they come off the pitch at the end of the game and begin a well-earned few weeks rest.

See you in August for the pre-season games and another season of Greene King IPA Championship rugby.