by Glyn Barlow
Following the bitter disappointment of Birmingham Moseley’s trip to Blaydon supporters will be travelling to Loughborough hoping to see a much improved performance this Saturday.
While a combination of injury and availability, with eight of the usual starting line-up either missing or playing out of position, will have conspired to make the task in the north east a hard one, this should be seen as no excuse for a lacklustre performance against a Blaydon side fighting for their National One survival.
This Saturday they will encounter a Loughborough side currently sitting in tenth place, a position which perhaps does not reflect their capabilities. Recent weeks have seen close fought encounters such as Plymouth Albion (18-20), Old Albanian (39-46), Rosslyn Park (39-37) and Hull Ionians (18-16) just go the wrong way.
Since Loughborough visited Billesley Common in November, where Birmingham Moseley won 47-19, the team have enjoyed fine victories including Macclesfield (a remarkable 76-30), Flyde (46-17), Blaydon (52-34) and Cambridge (42-27). The Cambridge victory over a month ago represents their last win so they will be even more focussed on gaining a positive result this weekend.
The high scoring wins previously mentioned underline an attacking capability that actually sees them with the second highest points for total, 698, in the league, unfortunately countered by the sixth worse points against total.
If Birmingham Moseley are to win this encounter they will need to contain former Edinburgh Academy centre Gair Currie (15 tries), Saracens Academy fly half/full back Will Edwards (10) and Cypriot international Wing/full back Yiannis Lozizias (8). If that were not enough any transgressions will be punished by England Students fly half Josh Sharp, who currently sits sixth on the leagues points scored list, one place behind James Williams.
Birmingham Moseley will clearly be aiming for a step change in performance this week, bolstered by the quartet of returning England Counties players, Dave Brazier having played a remarkable full match at Blaydon after playing 40 minutes for Counties less than 24 hours earlier.
If they are to win we will need to see a much greater defensive effort all round. A lapse in the fourth quarter again, all too often an issue this season, will be a big mistake against the free running students.
Two disappointing losses in a row mean this game takes on extra significance in turning things around to end the season on a high. We need the real Birmingham Moseley to stand up and show us just what they are capable of.
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