Manchester 18 Moseley 15
Manchester: Ben Latham, Sean Hannah, John Lowden, Isaac Richmond, James Dalton, Dave. Wood, Andre Wilson, James Bramhall, Tim Wareham, Henry Platt, Nicholas Flynn, Matt Owen, Gareth Rawlings, Danny Collins, Gareth Martin
Subs: Matthew McKenzie, Mitchell Hulme, Andrew Marsland, Craig Cooper
Moseley: Andy Binns, Nathan Bressington, Daren O'Leary, Paul Cox, Carl Colvin, Greg MacDonald, Gareth Taylor, Ben Buxton, Dean Bick, Neil Bayliss, Charlie Daniell, Richard Stott, Mark Evans, Neil Mason, James Rodwell
Subs: Paul Coles, Craig Lea, Tom McIntosh, Oliver Thomas
4:00 min - Try, Danny Collins, (Manchester)
16:00 min - Penalty Goal, Greg MacDonald, (Moseley)
18:00 min - Try, Gareth Taylor, (Moseley)
41:00 min - Try, Dean Bick, (Moseley)
41:00 min - Conversion, Greg MacDonald, (Moseley)
51:00 min - Try, Andre Wilson, (Manchester)
58:00 min - Try, Isaac Richmond, (Manchester)
65:00 min - Penalty Goal, Andre Wilson, (Manchester)
National League Division
Blackheath 38 - 21 Orrell
Esher 55 - 15 Harrogate
Launceston 34 - 28 Barking
Manchester 18 - 15 Moseley
Stourbridge 36 - 33 Halifax
Waterloo 34 - 20 Henley
Wharfedale 25 - 15 Redruth
National League Division
Team P W D L F A BP PTS
1 Moseley 26 23 0 3 785 415 20 112
2 Waterloo 26 22 2 2 801 370 18 110
3 Esher 26 18 1 7 739 407 17 91
4 Launceston 26 16 2 8 584 538 8 76
5 Wharfedale 26 12 4 10 531 550 13 69
6 Manchester 26 13 2 11 475 543 8 64
7 Barking 26 11 1 14 471 518 12 58
8 Stourbridge 26 11 1 14 462 605 8 54
9 Blackheath 26 10 0 16 503 622 12 52
10 Redruth 26 10 1 15 430 486 9 51
11 Halifax 26 9 1 16 482 589 11 49
12 Henley 26 9 0 17 475 544 12 48
13 Harrogate 26 5 1 20 476 682 17 39
14 Orrell 26 5 0 21 390 735 6 26
Moseley pride ends with fall
By Brian Dick for the Birmingham Post
Manchester 18 Moseley 15
After the Lord Mayor’s show, Manchester wanted it more, a game too far. Pick which ever you like, for this match can only be described in such clichéd terms as Moseley signed off a glorious season in rather ignominious fashion.
For the hosts, it was a chance to knock over a National One side, as they gleefully pointed out at every possible opportunity.
But for Moseley, it was nothing more than a fixture to be completed before the serious celebrating began and thoughts turned towards preparations for their next, horrendously arduous campaign.
What other explanation can there be for the best team in National Two to relinquish a ten-point lead with less than a half to play? Manchester, quite simply, had more appetite for the fight.
That’s only part of the story, though, because they contested fiercely for possession on the floor, did as good a job on the visitors’ lineout as anyone has in the last four months and snuffed out most of the champions’ attempts to attack out wide. They deserved their victory.
Certainly, Moseley director of rugby John Beale felt the disparity in the combatants’ intensity was a key factor. “If you look at any side that has won the title, they find it difficult to raise themselves,” Beale said.
“In a rugby context, I suppose it’s like the British Lions winning a series but losing the last Test. In the last 14 games, we have played 14 cup finals. We’ve won 13 of them so, in that respect, we’ve won our series.” It should have been 14, though. The ten-point advantage might have been twice as big had Moseley not fluffed all but one of the several promising scoring opportunities produced during their dominant spell towards the end of the first period.
But when they weren’t dropping the ball over the line, they were knocking on before it or generally making the relatively straightforward look supremely taxing. As well as that, Beale also felt they failed to play with the requisite tactical acumen.
“We lost because we did not play properly with the wind in the first half and we did not deal with their counter-rucking sufficiently well, which is something we are going to have to do next year,” he said.
“We did not put them under any sustained pressure. Our first two attacks were from 50 metres. Even though it took us some time to score against Launceston last week, we kept them pinned back. We just didn’t do that against Manchester.
“It is disappointing to get to this stage of the season and lose; it will leave a slightly sour taste in the mouth but we won’t remember this result, we’ll remember the whole season.” It’s just a pity they couldn’t remember the rest of the season while the game was going on.
Beale’s side fell behind after four minutes after putting themselves under pressure by dropping the ball on halfway and once James Dalton had pinned them back and skipper Gareth Taylor had been tripped in trying to escape a scrum, they were facing a lineout five yards from their line.
Matt Wood claimed the ball unchallenged, Manchester assembled round Danny Collins and drove him over. Andre Wilson missed the conversion and the two that followed.
Going behind appeared to sting Moseley out of their lethargy. Greg Macdonald booted a 40-metre penalty to punish prop Tim Wareham for slipping his mooring.
A minute later, midway through the half, they went ahead. James Rodwell broke from a scrum and fed Nathan Bressington who off-loaded for Mark Evans. The blindside pinned the last defender and gave Taylor his fourth try of the season. Macdonald hooked his conversion attempt.
Then came the profligate phase. Daren O’Leary, Rodwell and Evans all committed misdemeanours of varying seriousness to sacrifice certain points.
They looked much more purposeful after the restart and crossed for the second time as Manchester failed to deal with the opening kick-off.
An attacking lineout was claimed by Richard Stott and shunted over by Dean Bick. This time Macdonald split the uprights and Moseley were 15-5 to the good.
Game over? Apparently not. Wilson outpaced the visitors’ defence over 40 metres to halve the deficit and then capitalised on a loss of discipline in their guests’ ranks to break across halfway. Wing David Wood sustained the move and Isaac Richmond beat Rodwell to the corner to tie the match.
Then, with ten minutes to go, Moseley stepped offside on their own ten-metre line and Wilson exacted retribution to give his side a three point lead.
Moseley’s Ollie Thomas had a similar opportunity with the last action of the season to level, but his kick grazed the outside of the left post and their winning run was at an end.
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