1st XV Match Preview V Nottingham (h) Sat 30/01/2016 

by Glyn Barlow

Back to league action again this weekend as Nottingham visit Billesley Common.

Moseley will greet the green and whites with renewed confidence in their abilities having beaten Ealing for the third time this season and qualified for the quarter finals of the British & Irish Cup for the first time since 2011.

It is probably fair to assume that Nottingham should provide a stern test of Moseley’s renewed success. Currently standing sixth in the league they are fourteen points clear of Moseley.

Recent weeks, however, have seen Nottingham’s early form slip with league losses to Doncaster (26-12) on Boxing Day and Bristol (10-16) coupled with cup defeats to Pirates (38-19 & 7-19) and London Welsh (0-24 & 42-17). Indeed it’s been a frustrating time for Nottingham with their only wins since the beginning of December coming from a 14-13 win over Carnegie on the 4th December and a 19-10 cup win over Cardiff Blues Premiership Select last Friday.

Earlier this season the two teams met at the Lady Bay where Nottingham claimed victory 34-22. Moseley will be keen to reverse this result in the same way Nottingham reversed a first half deficit to pull away for the win. Despite a late rally by Moseley in the last 10 minutes the damage was done in a half hour period where Nottingham scored four tries.

Since the two teams met in September Nottingham have strengthened their squad with the addition of centre Heath Stevens and hooker Jon Vickers on loan from Worcester. A familiar face to Moseley supporters, hooker Reece Marshall, has also joined on loan from Saints. Marshall isn’t the only player known to Moseley with back three players Billy Robinson and Josh Skelcey also now pulling on a green and white shirt.

For Moseley last weekend was satisfying in terms of both result and because again the team secured a try bonus point through scoring five tries. It seems Drew Cheshire has decided to apply his particular brand of magic at just the right time with some outstanding individual efforts. Coupled with this another solid performance in the lineout suggests Louis Deacon is making is presence felt. The team will not, however, be happy to concede 27 points and will be looking for further improvements on the defensive front, particularly if they are to contain back row Paul Grant who leads the leagues try scorers on thirteen. The back rows success in push over tries indicating where we can expect Nottingham’s attacking thrust to be focussed

Putting aside the joy of a quarter final place of greater importance this week will be positive mind-set the team can take into the game from the cup doubles over Rotherham & Ealing. It’s no exaggeration to say that each league match from now on takes on far greater significance with Moseley currently on 19 points along with Ealing and 10th place London Scottish 9 points ahead on 26. Moseley will be keen to ensure they are not cut adrift from the bulk of the league leaving it a two horse race to avoid the drop with the Londoners. That said the nature of how close the league is this season sees eight place still just two bonus point victories away.

While it’s not time to panic yet it’s definitely time to start the climb away from twelfth place, and what better way to do so than a win this weekend.