1st XV Match Preview V Ampthill (H) Sat 21/01/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

This weekend Birmingham Moseley will, hopefully weather permitting, start what will be only their second game in five weeks when Ampthill are the visitors to Billesley Common.

Following the last home game win over Hull Ionians the team will by frustrated to be denied the opportunity to build upon the performance at Blaydon last Saturday. However it’s an ill wind (or in this case a chill wind?) that blows good and it will have at least provided more time for players to recover from the injuries picked up against Ionians, for what will be one of the toughest games of the second half of the season.

No doubt the team will still have painful memories of the early season 26-8 away loss, in what was one of their worst performances of the season. Let us take nothing away from Ampthill who played very well but Birmingham Moseley made life easier for them with some poor defensive lapses and an inability to convert possession to points.

Since that encounter Ampthill have continued their good form with impressive victories over Coventry 22-8, Plymouth Albion 24-22 and Old Albanian 43-19. Last weekend they dispatched Loughborough Students 25-3, to take advantage of Birmingham Moseley’s postponed game and leapfrog into third place. The Bedfordshire side now sit just one point above the red and blacks on the same number of wins, one try bonus point and a points difference of 3 between them.

Ampthill’s victories go back to Guy Fawkes Night when they last lost 13-11 to Fylde. The team will travel to Birmingham with confidence in their ability to win away from home only failing to claim victory on the road at Hartpury and the aforementioned Fylde.

This weekend Birmingham Moseley will need to nullify the try scoring skills of wing Sam Baker who currently stands second in the leagues try scoring table with11 along with powerful Tongan international back row Maama Molitika who has helped himself to 6. Indeed playing against Ampthill you could be forgiven in thinking you are taking on the Pacific Islanders team as the squad boasts six players hailing from those sunnier climes.

As well as seeking revenge for the loss at Ampthill the Birmingham Moseley squad will be looking to defend their 100% home record to date which has seen them average 40 points per game and pick up 5 try bonus points along the way.

The squad will be looking to replicate the first half performance against Ionians which heralded a return to the attacking style of play that had yielded impressive results early season. If they can build on this, coupled with shutting down Ampthill’s attack they we could well see the perfect home record complete its fifth month of the season.