1st XV Match Preview V Blaydon (A) Sat 14/01/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

This Saturday Birmingham Moseley travel north, a long way north, with renewed confidence following last Saturday’s 38-19 win over Hull Ionians.

Our opponents Blaydon currently sit one place and seven points lower than Hull Ionians in the league, in 15thspot. To date the team have won two games, against Fylde 30-24 and Ionians 66-14 along with a 24-24 draw against Macclesfield.

In recent weeks Blaydon have pushed the likes of Cambridge, Darlington and Coventry close but unfortunately have not achieved the results to mirror their efforts. The season’s frustrations have been compounded with heavy losses to Loughborough (38-63), Blackheath (59-17), Hartpury (5-47), Esher (71-24) and Rosslyn Park (51-14).

In September Blaydon’s visit to Billesley Common ended in a 41-13, six try,  victory to Birmingham Moseley in which Jacques Le Roux put in an exceptional performance to cross the try line twice.

Despite results going against them Blaydon have proved they are no strangers when it comes to finding their way to the try line having picked up six bonus points to date. Hooker’s Matt Thompson (6) and Jack Beckworth (5) have led the way, possibly suggesting the rolling maul may be a favoured weapon.

Last weekend Birmingham Moseley will have been pleased to pick up five points following the pre-Christmas frustration of a last minute loss at Coventry. It seems unfair to question the performance after this result but if honest it was very much a game of two halves, with the first half being by far the more rewarding.

Many positives will have been taken from the game. Tim Molenaar & Alex Grove provided one of the best centre performances seen this season with Molenaar proving more than a handful to the Ionians defence. James Williams’ kicking from the tee was near faultless with an 18 point haul to his name and new prop Owen Hills had a fine first game for the club.

On the negative a 28-7 half time score suggested the team could use the second half to kick on and bag an impressive points total, however second half honours were to go to Ionians who outscored the home team. This was in part probably down to the significant number of substitutions, both forced and planned, disrupting the team, however we cannot take anything away from Hull for such an committed fightback.

This week the team have a chance to better an away record which has seen them lose four of their nine away trips in 2016. It is a stark contrast to the home performances to date, although some of the tougher away fixtures have arguably fallen in the first half of the season. A target of a 100% away record for the remainder of the season could and should be achievable. Let’s hope it starts with five points being brought back down the M1 this weekend.