1st XV Match Preview V Fylde (H) Sat 29/04/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

And so the first season back in National One draws to an end in the manner it started with a game against Fylde.

It’s been an interesting season, both on and off the pitch, perhaps more challenging than some may have expected. We have seen some great rugby and moments of frustration along the way. Overall the squad have acquitted themselves well, in what has been somewhat trying times recently.

If we cast our minds right back to that opening weekend any complacency around the playing strength in National One was rapidly eradicated when the team had to dig very deep to secure a 20-25 win at Fylde. A couple of early tries set Birmingham Moseley off but they were never able to really pull away from the Lancastrians, who matched them try for try on the (very wet) day.

Since that opening encounter Fylde have found life to be tough, losing two thirds of their matches and until last week having the threat of relegation hanging over them. An impressive 32-21 win over Loughborough Students saw the team secure 12th place and pull away from Hull Ionians and Blaydon opening up a six point gap. The result broke a run of defeats that stretched back to mid-February when they achieved three wins in a row over the aforementioned Hull and Blaydon plus Coventry.

Fylde will be thankful of the exploits of a number of players in helping them secure National One status not least points machine and rugby league convert Greg Smith at fly half who has racked up 176 so far, along with centres Chris Briers (12 tries) and former Moseley player Scott Armstrong (11 tries, three times as many as he scored in his four seasons at Billesley Common, the northern air must suit him).

While mentioning Ex-Moseley men this game is of significance to a former Billesley favourite as Paul Arnold steps down as Fylde head coach/second row after seven seasons at the club. We wish Arnie all the best for the future.

Turning our attention to Birmingham Moseley they will be looking to remove memories of a difficult day in London last week when they disappointingly went down 35-24 to Esher. No doubt Esher were the better team on the day as Birmingham Moseley missed far too many tackles, spilled far too many balls and stood off too much while the opposition backline ran at them from deep with pace.

In addition to wanting to finish on a high for themselves the players have the added incentive of giving Kevin Maggs a fitting send off in his last game in charge of the club. Kevin has been an exceptional force in Birmingham Moseley and nothing short of a fine win would be acceptable.

I would like to wish all the players moving on next season good luck (except if they are playing Birmingham Moseley) but particularly Kevin, AJ, Greg and those of the coaching team leaving us, may your careers go from strength to strength.