1st XV Match Preview V Rosslyn Park (H) Sat 04/02/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

Boosted by a return to winning ways at Cambridge last weekend Birmingham Moseley will be looking to re-establish fortress Billesley this Saturday when Rosslyn Park are the visitors.

In October Birmingham Moseley picked up five points in West London from a hard fought 24-31 victory. Having come back from a ten point deficit in the first half hour the team pulled away in a twelve minute purple patch either side of half time which yielded three converted tries. Park fought back strongly and almost snatched a draw in the dying minutes. One of the highlights of the match was fly half James Williams in only his second game for the team collecting 19 points, including two tries.

Since the two teams last met Rosslyn Park have showed very good form to move up from 14th place to 6th place in the league, just three points behind Birmingham Moseley. Impressive wins over Blackheath 28-3, Esher 33-0, Coventry 33-15 and Plymouth Albion 17-10 have only been countered by two losses to Hartpury College 37-27 and Hull Ionians 16-14.

Leading the scoring for Park have been centre Andrew Henderson with 7 tries and full back Henry Robinson with 6. The boot of fly half Harry Leonard, a shrewd summer signing from Carnegie, has proved to be extremely reliable with 155 points to his name placing him second in the leagues points scorers, while back up fly half  Scott Sneddon has also bagged 93. Birmingham Moseley transgress on Saturday at their own peril!

The weekend could see a number of Park players returning to a ground they are very familiar with as Andy Reay, Paul Spivey and Harry Rowland have all pulled on a red and black shirt in the past.

The last two weekends have seen Park pull off two of their narrowest victories against Darlington Mowden Park 19-20, and last weekend in an 11 try thriller at Loughborough Students 39-37.

Birmingham Moseley will probably be looking back at last week’s trip to Cambridge as 5 points, mission accomplished, but more to do to get back to the level of performance they expect of themselves. Impressive play yielding three tries in less than five minutes was tempered by giving away three yellow cards. Having established a 8-32 lead the team let Cambridge back into the match to score 22 points in the last half hour. In the end stand out games from Ed Sheldon and Alex Grove proved enough to help the team pass the winning post.

Against a side as impressive as Rosslyn Park it will need all 20 squad members to step up their performance and concentration considerably if they are to get their home record back on track. Let’s hope we see Birmingham Moseley back to their Billesley best again on Saturday.