1st XV Match Preview V Blackheath (A) Sat 01/04/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

This Saturday Birmingham Moseley make their first trip to Blackheath’s new home ground of Well Hall in Eltham looking to provide a more convincing performance than the one that saw them just fall over the finish line ahead of basement dwellers Macclesfield last week.

Not that we should take anything away from Macclesfield who looked nothing like a team close to relegation, picking up two vital bonus points to still mathematically give themselves a chance to avoid the drop.

For Birmingham Moseley the perennial problem this season of a slow start saw them on the back foot early on. Regrouping they then took their opportunities to go in at half time 21-7 ahead. Unfortunately they didn’t find a way to kick on and capitalise on this, being unable to shake The Blues off right to the end.

Saturday’s opponents Blackheath sit in seventh place currently 14 points Behind Birmingham Moseley. Last weekend Blackheath just lost out to Loughborough Students 35-32 the latest in a mixed bag of results since the turn of the year. Recent losses to Old Albanian (36-10), Rosslyn Park (15-39), Ampthill (17-24) and Blaydon (28-11) have been tempered with wins over Darlington (26-21), Hull Ionions (31-29) and Fylde (47-14).

Leading the way for Blackheath has been England Counties wing Leo Fielding whose 194 point, including nine tries, sees him fifth in the league’s top points scorers just a conversion behind James Williams. Fielding has been ably backed up by Dan George, full back Jake Lloyd and centre Markus Burcham who have all touched down for eight tries, although George will not be adding to his total having signed for Bedford earlier in the season.

When the two teams met in November Birmingham Moseley secured a hard fought 20-12 win, although it took until the last quarter before they finally pulled away via two tries from Jack Preece and Chris Brightwell. Since that game at Billesley Common Blackheath have now bolstered their squad via the addition of former London Welsh hooker Adam Kwasnicki and back row Jesse Liston.

The need for a good performance to claim a win in London is magnified by the presence of next week’s visit of league leaders Hartpury to Billesley Common. If the team wants to avoid a repeat of the unpleasant afternoon in Gloucestershire early in the season then they need to ensure they take the opportunity to put in a complete performance this weekend that can be built upon.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much. If victory is to be achieved this week the Birmingham Moseley pack will need to step up a gear to deny a talented Blackheath backline the possession to gain revenge for November’s defeat. Four games to go let’s see this season out in style guys.