1st XV Match Report V Newbury (Home) Sat 06/10/2007 

Match Report

Moseley  (15) 21 Newbury (19) 27 - October 6th 2007

MOSELEY: Winter; Bressington, Adams, James (Cox, 71), Norton; Jones, Taylor; N Williams (Buxton, 67), McMillan (Caves, 46), Forster, Atkinson, Tuohy, Mason (Lightowler, 36), Uzoigwe (Bignell, 71), Evans. Replacements: Lewis, M Williams.

NEWBURY: Henderson; Hylton, Perkins (Reay, 55), Ashwin, Nutt; Walsh, Smaje; Irish, Fincken (Greenwood, 67), Thompson, Ashcroft-Leigh, Radbourne, Morgan, Abbott, Brown. Replacements: Styles, Faulkner, Rainbow, Rees, Simpson-Daniel.

Referee: Mr T Wigglesworth (RFU).

SCORERS: Moseley tries: Tuohy, Norton. conversion: Jones; penalties: Jones (3).

Newbury tries: penalty try, Nutt; conversion: Ashwin: penalties: Ashwin (4); drop goal: Walsh.
Moseley fall to set-piece dominance

By Brian Dick for The Birmingham Post

If the two hours prior to this desperately disappointing performance were not enough to prove the fact, then the savage way Newbury set about Moseley did that and more - the importance of a solid scrum remains undiminished.

Despite the failure of the game's laws to reward the dominant set-piece and the reluctance of most referees to give anything other than a sequence of re-sets the supremacy of the visitors' front five was clear for all to see.

Just as England did when they so surprisingly beat Australia in the prequel to Billesley Common's main event, Newbury managed to dictate proceedings with the power of their scrummaging.

It gave the Berkshire side a rich source of free kicks and penalties and enabled them to control field position and possession against an outfit that was clearly more dangerous out wide.

To be fair to Moseley there was a ten-minute period in the first half where their threequarters were able to slip the leash and in that time they ran in two beautifully crafted tries, through Gloucester debutants Dan Tuohy and Dan Norton.

In doing that they cut a 13-0 deficit to just a point and looked as though they would run off with the momentum and a fourth National One win in six games.

But their frailties up front meant they could never assert their expansive ambitions and it begun to impair their judgment, to the extent that when they did have ball and territory, as they chased the match in the last quarter, they had lost sight of what it was they were trying to do.

Norton, a slashing runner so impressive in space, stood around like a spare part apparently surplus to requirements and centres Jack Adams and Ali James, the architects of both Moseley tries were not trusted to find a way through.

Instead, in their attempts to overturn Newbury's 27-18 lead, they persevered with catch and drive, pick and drive, drop and drive anything as long as it had a drive in it. Perhaps it had not occurred to them their greatest success had been going around the Blues instead of through them and for that the half backs must accept their portion of blame.

Most of the responsibility lay with the home pack, however. Their callow front row was completely decimated, the two young Gloucester players Ross McMillan and Jack Forster will look back on this game as one to chalk up to experience.

Their second rows were virtually anonymous and once Neil Mason went off just before half-time, their back row lacked any punch or menace, especially at the breakdown where the only thing they achieved was irritating the officials.

Mason's loss, with suspected knee ligament damage, was a severe blow and will deprive Ian Smith of his captain for several weeks at least With Paul Arnold both banned and injured and James Rodwell on crutches Moseley are without their three best ball carriers and so it showed in an octet shorn of any dynamism.

The absences come at a bad time for a team that is undoubtedly stronger than last year's but would have wanted to prove as much in games with Coventry, Rotherham and London Welsh in the next three weeks.

On top form they have a decent chance but if they turn in a half-hearted effort like this one they could well lose all three and that would be a disservice to their potential.

They managed to hide that potential for most of Saturday. Newbury's excellent kicker Chris Ashwin punished sloppy play by Eji Uziogwe twice inside five minutes with two of his four penalties.

Then when Moseley were about to be shunted over their own line at a five-metre scrum, Mason stepped into to try and disrupt illegitimately. A converted penalty try later and Newbury were deservedly 13-0 up.

That prompted a response and Adams put Tuohy over in the 22nd minute. Three minutes later Norton scorched into the same corner after a superb break by Adams and adroit off load by Nathan Bressington.

Matt Jones converted and at 13-12 it was game on. But, completely unable to live with the visitors' brute strength, Forster slipped his binding and then Mose entered a ruck illegally. Ashwin negated Jones' earlier penalty and his team led 19-15 at the interval.

Newbury's next eight points - a drop goal from Tim Walsh and try on the hour by Martin Nutt, were direct results of the hosts' inability to win their own put in and the sight of their pack being pushed off the ball became commonplace.

But what really summed up the afternoon was the ten minutes they spent camped on the Blues line - against a seven-man pack which had Doug Abbott in the bin.

Three driven lineouts came up short and they even failed to shunt back an undermanned scrum. Eventually they gave up and Jones accepted his third penalty goal. It was quite a come down.

For that alone Moseley did not deserve to win and the loss bonus they took only serves to demonstrate that had they played more intelligently and diligently this was a match in which they should have prevailed.

DISAPPOINTING crowd, disappointing result, desperate performance Moseley can consider themselves fortunate to have taken anything from their worst display of the season.

A loss bonus was more than they deserved after they allowed Newbury to dictate, despite the fact the visitors came to Billesley Common with only one league win. Just as well only 675 supporters witnessed their side being shoved to all corners of the pitch.

Newbury's dominance in the pack proved too much for Ian Smith's men even though they achieved parity in tries. The visitors' scrum was by far the better and their physicalness at the breakdown meant it was impossible for Mose to obtain any quick ball.

Newbury started off by kicking penalties.

Eji Uzoigwe was whistled for not rolling away after seven minutes and Chris Ashwin split the uprights from 40 metres.

He doubled it five minutes later when the same player committed the same offence.

It was exactly the sort of sloppy play that blighted Moseley's entire afternoon.

No 8 Mark Evans was yellow-carded for the fourth time this term for dipping his hand into a ruck and from the resultant scrum the home team conceded a penalty try.

Just as it looked as though Newbury would claim a pushover skipper Neil Mason illegally tried to disrupt at the back.

Ashwin converted.

Three minutes later Mose's Gloucester pair Ali James and Jack Adams used their first decent ball to spring the defence. That produced a rushed clearance that James ran back. The ball was moved quickly, right to left, until Adams gave Kingsholm team-mate Dan Tuohy a simple run in.

Soon after, Adams scooped up a loose pass and burst clear. Matt Jones supported him well and Nathan Bressington produced a superb off-load to give Dan Norton a debut score. Jones converted - 13-12.

But Jack Forster was penalised for slipping his binding and Ashwin was on target again.

Newbury openside Doug Abbott did exactly the same and Jones made him pay from just inside opposition territory.

As the visitors' pack began to get on top Mose crept in at the side and Ashwin made it five goals from five attempts and 19-15 at the break.

A drop goal by former Bees man Tim Walsh followed and even though Jones accepted an easy three points Newbury's second try on the hour settled the game.

Walsh lofted a long pass to Martin Nutt on the wing. Ashwin missed but it didn't matter.

Mose spent most of the remaining time in the Newbury 22 with catch-and-drive routines, Jones kicking a third penalty.


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