1st XV Match Preview V Hull Ionians (A) Sat 17/09/2016 

By Glyn Barlow


This weekend the team make another trip North, this time to the East Riding as they take on Hull Ionians, one of the unknown (to Birmingham Moseley at least) quantities of National One rugby this season, and a great chance to experience a new rugby club and make new friends.


The club was formed in 1989 with the merger of the Hull & East Riding and Ionians clubs. The two component clubs can, of course, trace their history back much further. Hull & East Riding were formed in 1873 as Hull moving to H&ER in 1901, while Ionions are the youngsters of the partnership having come into being in 1926. The new club moved to its current ground at Brantingham Park in 1995.


Hull Ionions started out life in the North One league gaining promotion to the National Leagues in 2002. The club moved between North One and National Two until in 2013 they were promoted to National One. Unfortunately at that time National One proved a step to far and the club were relegated, only to bounce back in 2015. The team finished last season in 12th place, winning nine of their thirty fixtures.


This season Hull Ionians opened up their league campaign with an impressive 16-10 win over Darlington Mowden Park, Unfortunately this was followed up with a close fought 13-6 loss at Loughborough Students last Saturday. During pre-season the team overcome Wharfdale 5-26 but suffered a heavy loss to Rotherham 5-55.


In preparation for the new season the club have brought in fly half Lee Miller, centre Lewis Minikin, Harrogate’s player of the season and prop Michael Dias from Portugal. They join the likes of vastly experienced former England Saxons player Alex Crockett, who acts as Director of Rugby as well as 1st XV centre.


Birmingham Moseley will travel to Yorkshire pleased with their two from two record, particularly in light of the hard won victory over Coventry in the welcome return of our local derby.


While you couldn’t say it was an attractive game, it was certainly an intense one. Following Birmingham Moseley’s early two strikes (and how satisfying must have been Jacques Le Roux’s try against his old club?) Coventry came back into the game courtesy of their scrum and maul. At the end of the day the men in red and black managed to hold out the Coventry eight to score a final try themselves through the forwards pounding the Coventry line. The likes of the aforementioned Jacques, Adam Caves and Jack Preece leading the resistance by example.


With Coventry looking to stick to their game plan of playing it tight and mauling the ball at every opportunity, the team were never particularly threatened across the backline. Against a team prepared to vary the point of attack more different challenges, as may be offered by flying Hull Ionions winger Aquile Smith (15 tries last season), will need to be contained. Alex Grove made a sound start at fly half last weekend having been drafted in to cover for the injured Elliott Bale while Dave Brazier was unworried about taking on kicking duties.


As yet we have really not seen the team perform to their potential for the full 80 minutes. With hopefully a fit squad to select from, and the team getting more confident in playing together with each game, Saturday is an opportunity to prove themselves by making it three from three.