1st XV Match Preview V Blaydon (H) Sat 24/09/2016 

by Glyn Barlow

This Saturday its bring on Blaydon, as our visitors make the long trip from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Billesley Common.

It’s been a tough start to the season for the club, currently sitting at the bottom of the table following three losses. An opening day 3-33 loss to Old Albanian was followed by a so close 15-14 loss at Darlington Mowden Park and last week, despite picking up a bonus point through scoring six tries, they fell heavily to Loughborough Students 38-63. The loss to Darlington must have been particularly difficult to take as it came with the last kick of the game, by former Moseley player Caolan Ryan, ten minutes into injury time.

Clearly based on this game, and their try scoring abilities against the Students, it would be a mistake to judge Blaydon by their league position. Perhaps the try scoring feats against Loughborough should come as no surprise as summer recruitment seems to have focussed on giving the backline a cutting edge. Former Darlington player Max Connon brings an impressive versatility to the club being able to play scrum half, fly half and full back. He is joined by fly half / full back Ryan Foreman from Newcastle Falcons Academy and Kris Batton from Penrith. The focus on backs doesn’t mean the pack have been overlooked with former England Saxons hooker Matt Thompson arriving from Ealing.

The Blaydon club was formed in 1888 on the outskirts of the town, moving locations a few times until they settled at their current home Crow Trees. Through their long history they can count a few famous names who have played for the club including England internationals Steve Bainbridge and Mickey Skinner.

Winning promotion to National One in 2007 (or National Two as level three was then known) Blaydon avoided the drop back down the following season relatively comfortably with a 21 point advantage over the relegation teams. To date the clubs best finish in the league was during the 2012-13 season when they finished third. Since then life has proved more difficult on the pitch finishing last season in eleventh place, winning ten of their thirty matches.

For Birmingham Moseley the feeling is that while three wins from three is very satisfying the team has yet to really play to its potential. With so many changes to the squad over the summer it’s not surprising that it will take a few games for players to get used to each other. Last weekend they made hard work of the bonus point win at Hull and left supporters worrying right into the dying stages before coming good. A frustration to the coaching staff will be the indiscipline which saw them play a quarter of the game with fourteen men. With five yellow cards from three games this must be eliminated.

If the team is to succeed this season they need to start finding ways to put their opposition under pressure from the start and build a solid platform to control a game rather than relying on playing catch up rugby to pip them at the post.

Let’s hope the team take to the field this weekend firing on all cylinders.