1st XV Match Preview V Coventry (H) Sat 23/12/2017 

by Glyn Barlow

This weekend sees the return of the traditional festive fixture against our near neighbours Coventry, admittedly prior to Christmas rather than on Boxing Day. It will, however, be no less intense or hard fought because of it. 

So far this season Coventry are riding high at the top of the league having won all 14 fixtures to date, dropping only 2 try bonus points along the way and amassing an impressive points difference of +404. 

Clearly Coventry are throwing everything into a push to return to the league they last took part in during the 2009/10 season. For this campaign they have put together arguably their strongest squad for many a season, and it is certainly paying off so far. To bolster the squad even further since the two teams met in early season Coventry have brought in Northampton Saints players scrum half Tom Kessell on loan with scrum half Tom Emery and centre Fraser Dingwall on dual registration. 

Interestingly Coventry’s results this season have either taken the form of heavy scoring victories, as was Birmingham Moseley’s experience in September or close fought wins, with very little middle ground. Teams who have caused Coventry to breathe a huge sigh of relief on hearing the final whistle include Old Albanian (19-21), Bishop’s Stortford (30-27) and Old Elthamians (16-20). 

Leading the charge for the Warwickshire team is Will Maisey with 145 points along with former Moseley hooker Scott Tolmie who has touched down 11 times. Tolmie’s success at try scoring possibly suggests a very effective catch and drive, unless he has developed an exceptional turn of speed since his days at the Common. It cannot be assumed though that Coventry are all about forward power as wing James Stokes is pushing Scott with 10 tries to his name.

In recent weekends Coventry have enjoyed wins over Plymouth Albion 29-14, Rosslyn Park 13-43 and Ampthill 63-14. Last weekend they were left kicking their heals as their trip to second place Darlington Mowden Park fell victim to the weather.   

While Birmingham Moseley will have to address the scars of their heavy loss at the Butts Park in September, Coventry will face the challenge of reversing a trend that sees them having never won at Billesley Common since Moseley moved here in 2005. 

For the men in red and black to keep that record in tact it will need a performance far better than has been witnessed in recent weeks. Despite outscoring last week’s opponents Rosslyn Park on the try front the team still came away without a win. A couple of defensive lapses and too high a penalty count proved ultimately to be the teams undoing. 

Birmingham Moseley can cause a serious upset to the league leaders this weekend but to do so it will need a perfect display of defence and discipline. Such a performance we have seen in fits and starts this season, abet all too infrequently. If the incentive of beating their old rivals isn’t enough then the memory of September should spur them to give the performance of the season.

With the start of the league Pt II this weekend what better time to deliver an early Christmas present to supporters.

This weekend sees the return of the traditional festive fixture against our near neighbours Coventry, admittedly prior to Christmas rather than on Boxing Day. It will, however, be no less intense or hard fought because of it.

 

So far this season Coventry are riding high at the top of the league having won all 14 fixtures to date, dropping only 2 try bonus points along the way and amassing an impressive points difference of +404.

 

Clearly Coventry are throwing everything into a push to return to the league they last took part in during the 2009/10 season. For this campaign they have put together arguably their strongest squad for many a season, and it is certainly paying off so far. To bolster the squad even further since the two teams met in early season Coventry have brought in Northampton Saints players scrum half Tom Kessell on loan with scrum half Tom Emery and centre Fraser Dingwall on dual registration.

 

Interestingly Coventry’s results this season have either taken the form of heavy scoring victories, as was Birmingham Moseley’s experience in September or close fought wins, with very little middle ground. Teams who have caused Coventry to breathe a huge sigh of relief on hearing the final whistle include Old Albanian (19-21), Bishop’s Stortford (30-27) and Old Elthamians (16-20).

 

Leading the charge for the Warwickshire team is Will Maisey with 145 points along with former Moseley hooker Scott Tolmie who has touched down 11 times. Tolmie’s success at try scoring possibly suggests a very effective catch and drive, unless he has developed an exceptional turn of speed since his days at the Common. It cannot be assumed though that Coventry are all about forward power as wing James Stokes is pushing Scott with 10 tries to his name.

 

In recent weekends Coventry have enjoyed wins over Plymouth Albion 29-14, Rosslyn Park 13-43 and Ampthill 63-14. Last weekend they were left kicking their heals as their trip to second place Darlington Mowden Park fell victim to the weather.  

 

While Birmingham Moseley will have to address the scars of their heavy loss at the Butts Park in September, Coventry will face the challenge of reversing a trend that sees them having never won at Billesley Common since Moseley moved here in 2005.

 

For the men in red and black to keep that record in tact it will need a performance far better than has been witnessed in recent weeks. Despite outscoring last week’s opponents Rosslyn Park on the try front the team still came away without a win. A couple of defensive lapses and too high a penalty count proved ultimately to be the teams undoing.

 

Birmingham Moseley can cause a serious upset to the league leaders this weekend but to do so it will need a perfect display of defence and discipline. Such a performance we have seen in fits and starts this season, abet all too infrequently. If the incentive of beating their old rivals isn’t enough then the memory of September should spur them to give the performance of the season.

 

With the start of the league Pt II this weekend what better time to deliver an early Christmas present to supporters.