1st XV Match Preview V Blackheath (H) Sat 26/11/2016 

Birmingham Moseley v Blackheath

Saturday 26th November 2016

3pm KO @ Billesley Common

This Saturday Birmingham Moseley face one of their toughest challenges yet in the National One Season when Blackheath are the visitors to Billesley Common.

Blackheath or “the Club” as they are known trace their origins back to 1858 when the old boys of Blackheath Proprietary School came together to play sport. The club has the distinction of being the oldest open rugby club in the world when they welcomed players from outside the school in 1863. Their illustrious history also includes being a founding member of both the RFU & FA and the honour of staging the first rugby international between England & Wales in 1881.

Originally playing games on the heath the club moved to the Rectory Field in 1883, a ground that would be home to the club for over 150 years until it was announced that they would move this season to play at Well Hal.l A move designed to facilitate development of the clubs infrastructure.

Blackheath entered the then National Two league in 2004-5 the season prior to Moseley’s promotion to the Championship. During the last season the two teams shared a league Moseley completed the double over Blackheath 36-6 and 24-29, we can probably expect a tougher challenge this year.

Last season the London club finished in third place one point behind Hartpury. Retaining most of their successful squad for the new campaign the team has been strengthened by the addition of a number of new players such as hooker Dan George from Worcester Warriors, Wales 7s wing Chris Knight and hooker Mike Perks from Newport Gwent Dragons, centre Mark Cook from Jersey and New Zealand born back row Chris Walker from London Scottish. The team has been dealt a recent blow with Bedford signing hooker George to cover injury problems at Goldington Road.

This season Blackheath are currently occupying fourth place in the league just three points behind Birmingham Moseley, having recently swopped third place with Plymouth Albion. Last weekend proved to be a setback in Blackheath’s progress as they suffered a perhaps unexpected, 26-32 defeat at home to Loughborough Students, underlining the unpredictable nature of this league. Blackheath’s two other losses have come away to Rosslyn Park and an opening day loss away to Hartpury College. Notable wins have been achieved over Esher 13-6, Coventry 42-5 and Ampthill 17-31.

The aforementioned George has been Blackheath’s most prolific try scorer this season having crossed the line eight times perhaps indicating the team’s forward strength, although Knight also offers a potent threat out wide on the wing.

Birmingham Moseley will be looking to eradicate the memory of a disappointing performance at Macclesfield last weekend which, although yielding a win, was well below what the team have been able to deliver this season. A disruptive journey certainly did not help matters but a lack of cutting edge; tactical kicking and a frustratingly misfiring lineout were the main contributory factors.

If the team are to continue the challenge for promotion then none of these shortcomings can be present against a team like Blackheath. We should be in for a titanic battle this weekend.