1st XV Match Preview V Bishops Stortford (A) Sat 10/02/2018 

by Glyn Barlow

This weekend Birmingham Moseley travel to Hertfordshire looking to put aside the frustrations of a dropping of league points against Esher that really was inexcusable.

Having dominated the forward encounter, a domination that was somewhat nullified by the officials lenience on offences, the team unfortunately failed to capitalise. Lapses of concentration allowing Esher penalty chances, coupled with a lack of converting attacking opportunities, left the Londoners always in touch when they should probably have been beaten by half time.

This Saturday Birmingham Moseley cannot underestimate the task ahead against a team who have, so far, made light of the challenge of a first season in a higher league. Bishops Stortford have won over 50% of their fixtures, including a hard fought 25-27 encounter at Billesley Common in October just pulling ahead with five minutes to go.

Since that encounter Stortford have notched up impressive wins over Blackheath (19-21), Esher (24-17) and Old Elthamians (34-20) along the way, coupled with a 22-22 draw against Darlington Mowden Park.

One fact that will be troubling the team will be that they have suffered three losses to Rosslyn Park 20-22, Ampthill 22-12 and Coventry 10-36 since the turn of the year, with just last week’s win at Hull to cheer them up.

Stortford currently sit one place and six points ahead of Birmingham Moseley, so this is clearly a must win fixture for the team if they wish to progress up the league.

However it’s not just progress that Birmingham Moseley needs to be mindful of. Caldy, Rosslyn Park, Cambridge and Esher all sit just 5 points off the team. If results go against them then 12th place beckons.

The team will be looking to build upon a forward platform which will challenge any in the league. Last weekend they demolished the opposition scrum, and it was frankly baffling how many times a team could be denied dominance by unfair means before more serious sanctions come into play.

With the lineout, so long an Achilles heel of the team, now working smoothly then a steady stream of possession gives a real opportunity to deliver some impressive results.

The fact that Esher only breached the line once also indicates that defence is holding up well.

If the team can cut out the unnecessary infringements and play tactically to their strengths then we could see a return to winning ways this weekend.