Moseley 47 Barking 3 - December 10th 2005
This result moved forward Moseley's league rugby record for biggest home win, previously 40-0 v Rosslyn Park 9.10.04.
Doubters kept quiet by Thomas
Report by Brian Dick in the Birmingham Post
Given that certain luminaries had highlighted this match as something of a banana skin, few can have failed to have been impressed by the Úlan with which Moseley both sidestepped disaster and played themselves back into form.
Auguries of such a comprehensive victory were not good. Barking have an expensively assembled team decorated with South Africans, Samoans, Frenchmen, Poles, New Zealanders, Italians and even the odd Englishman, while Moseley's home-brewed side had been distinctly flat in recent weeks.
One try in their previous two National Two games had sapped the hosts' belief and turned their Billesley Common headquarters into an enthusiastic outpost of the International Self-Flagellation Society.
They might have been joint-top of the league, and still are after Esher and Waterloo both secured bonus point wins, but when so much importance had been placed on performance rather than results, no-one could rest easily.
Which was why Saturday's dismantling of the division's fourth-best side was so striking. Moseley started in resolute mood and, by the end, had established complete mastery over their cowed opponents.
Head coach Ian Smith knew the success had been a significant one, particularly since his side had not only made Barking look decidedly ordinary, but they had also conquered their own self-doubts.
"As a group, they have proved to themselves that the ability to play well and win is still there. Perhaps there were some who were beginning to doubt that," he said.
"In that respect, the fact that we performed well was more important than the result. Every side has a dip, I just hope that was ours."
If, at the end of the season, it proves to be exactly that, the fact that Moseley remained unbeaten in the league during their seven week loss of form does them huge credit.
Many had gone into the campaign questioning their mental resolve and, since their loss at Esher on October 22, the age-old suggestion that they are a sunshine team who don't like it up 'em has been eradicated. Theirs has been a triumph of fortitude over form.
Equally pleasing will be the fact that their decision makers stuck to the pre-match message all the way through.
Even though they were unable to produce as many points in the second half as they had in the first, halfbacks Ollie Thomas and Gareth Taylor remained close to the game-plan as the deteriorating proceedings allowed them to.
If anything, they produced the try of the match, the fifth, which was a lovely team effort that underlined their superiority.
Thomas made a 48thminute break and his forwards poured through in support.
Prop Ben Buxton sustained the momentum and off-loaded to lock Richard Stott, who showed superb awareness to give blindside Mark Evans the score. The whole thing was an apposite lesson in support play and manifested Moseley's belief that their pressure would reap its rewards.
By then, of course, the game had already been won as the home side posted 37 points in as dominant a period of rugby as they have played all season.
Buxton, James Rodwell, Nathan Bressington and James Aston had all crossed the Barking line during a first 40 minutes in which the visitors only twice reached their hosts' territory.
Especially pleasing will have been the score for Aston, a barrelling wing who was making his first start of a season thus far truncated by a groin problem.
Two seasons ago, Aston was the league's top scorer and toured Canada with England Counties; since then, however, he has struggled for fitness or form and has never quite been the ideal foil for Bressington that the club's coaches hoped he would be.
If he can rediscover the pace and power that made 2003-04 such a standout campaign, then Moseley will have an altogether more balanced three-quarter line.
Another important performer was openside Neil Mason, who returned to the team after a couple of weeks away with Worcester and prompted Smith to take the rare step of highlighting an individual.
He took the ball up in midfield and contested for possession at every breakdown, disrupting countless Barking rucks and mauls.
Yet he was no more prominent than No 8 James Rodwell who, though relatively slight for a loose forward, has been a revelation since being moved from the flank to the back of the scrum against Rotherham.
His try owed everything to the speed and elusiveness with which he breaks from the scrum and his inclusion has allowed Evans to prosper on the blindside.
Once again, Thomas' boot was imperious. He kicked nine of his ten attempts, typically missing the easiest and once again beginning to look like the sort of catalyst the backline needs. If he can continue in that vein, he is the one man capable of avoiding every banana skin going.
Moseley: Alistair Bressington, Nathan Bressington, Darren O'Leary, Paul Cox, James Aston, Oliver Thomas , Gareth Taylor, Ben Buxton, Dean Bick, Neil Bayliss, David Hallmen, Richard Stott, Mark Evans, Neil Mason, James Rodwell
Subs: Paul Coles, Adam Caves, Tom Skelding, Andy Gray
Barking: Corrado Pilat, Mounga Kafatolu, J. Steyn, A. Skurr., Felise Ah-ling, Ehan Helmand, T Minaar, L Lindemburg, Wilhelm Nel, Micheal Guess, Maler Twydell, Pawel Denisiuk, Paul Cadby, Guilleme Schueller, J. Callard
Subs: Matt Williams, Frederick Van Zyl, A Blundell, Ben Montgomery
Tries: Buxton; Rodwell; Bressington N;
7:00 min - Try, Ben Buxton, (Moseley)
7:00 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
15:00 min - Penalty Goal, Corrado Pilat, (Barking)
18:00 min - Try, James Rodwell, (Moseley)
18:00 min - Conversion, Thomas, (Moseley)
23:00 min - Penalty Goal, Thomas, (Moseley)
29:00 min - Try, Nathan Bressington, (Moseley)
29:00 min - Conversion, Thomas, (Moseley)
34:00 min - Penalty Goal, Thomas, (Moseley)
39:00 min - Penalty Goal, Thomas, (Moseley)
40:00 min - Try, James Aston, (Moseley)
40:00 min - Conversion, Thomas, (Moseley)
48:00 min - Try, Mark Evans, (Moseley)
48:00 min - Conversion, Thomas, (Moseley)
80:00 min - Penalty Goal, Thomas, (Moseley)
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