1st XV Match Preview V London Scottish (h) Sat 23/04/2016 

by Glyn Barlow

This is one of the more difficult match previews to write, following last weekend’s disappointing events.

Despite one of their most resolute performances of the season Moseley had victory cruelly snatched from them with the last kick of the game at Bristol. Leading from the eleventh minute, and scoring well taken three tries, it was not to be as an eighty-sixth minute penalty left them with just a losing bonus point and clinging on to a slim hope of still catching Ealing by narrowing the gap to three points.

Unfortunately the hope did not last twenty four hours as Ealing held out to claim victory over Jersey on Saturday and a Championship place for next season.

So there will be very mixed emotions for players, supporters and management entering this last game of the season against London Scottish. For many players it may well be their last game for the club, and they will want to go out with the memory of a win to temper the disappointments of the season. There is also the opportunity to claim a double over Scottish this season, with a pleasant symmetry having recorded a win in Richmond in the first game of 2015/15. Added to this the home fans deserve the sort of performance that so nearly succeeded in Bristol.

Since that first weekend of the season Scottish have claimed nine victories to see them currently sit in ninth place, a position they will be looking to consolidate with Rotherham breathing down their necks. Victory over the aforementioned Titans last weekend (17-22) will give the Londoners renewed optimism entering this game, having been so close to wins during the previous few weeks against Bristol (16-21), Jersey (22-20) and Doncaster (20-26).

Fly Half Peter Lydon has again proved to be a productive source of points for the team, currently sitting third in the leagues list of scorers with 159. If Lydon was not enough of a threat Scottish can call upon prolific back row Mark Bright, scorer of fourteen tries to date. The team’s ranks have also been strengthened in recent weeks by the loan of England U20 wing Sam Smith and centre Alex Grove from Worcester.

Despite Moseley’s valiant efforts in Bristol on Friday a couple of perennial weaknesses resurfaced to contribute to their downfall. Far too many key lineouts were lost allowing Bristol to relieve pressure positions, coupled with getting on the wrong side of the referee leading to two yellow cards. The team will need to eliminate such errors if they are to go out with a victory.

With fate sealed the pressure is off and it’s time for one last effort and a chance to play some of the attacking rugby the team has always seemed capable of delivering. A last rally for the supporters and we start re-building for next season.