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1st XV Match Preview V Rotherham Titans (Away) Sat 30/01/2010 

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Rotherham v Moseley, at Clifton Lane, RFU Championship,
Saturday, January 30th 2010, k.o. 2.00 pm


The stakes in this away match against Rotherham could hardly be higher. With four games left to play, the battle for eighth place in the Championship and thus safety, as opposed to the relegation play-offs, is intense.

As at Sunday, 24th January 2010:

                          P W D L    F     A  BPts Pts Pos
Plymouth Albion 18 8 0 10 306 391  5    37 7th
Moseley             18 8 0 10 357 449  5    37 8th
Rotherham         17 5 0 12 327 408 11   31 9th
Doncaster          16 6 0 10 264 278  6    30 10th

After playing Rotherham, Moseley’s other matches in the Championship will be:

6th February Moseley v Bedford
20th February Exeter v Moseley
13th March Moseley v Bristol

With the two final matches being against top of the table clubs (presently Exeter 3rd and Bristol 1st), it is imperative that Moseley gets some points from Rotherham and Bedford.

The results of Rotherham’s last three matches are:

24th January Cornish Pirates 29 Rotherham 24
20th January Rotherham 42 B’ham/Solihull 15
17th January Rotherham 18 Exeter 24

In the corresponding fixture at Billesley Common on 7th November Moseley beat Rotherham in a close and exciting home match by 31-27. Unfortunately, what would have been the fourth try was disallowed and a precious bonus point was not earned.

Last Saturday afternoon Moseley strained the nerves of supporters almost to breaking point in beating B’ham & Solihull 25-24, having declined to take two unmissable short range penalties in the final stages in favour of abortive pushover tries.

Moseley’s tactics, largely based on kicking out of defence (too often down the throats of the opposition’s full back or wings) has increasingly frustrated their long suffering supporters, as the ball is run back at Moseley’s defence, leading to calls for a rethink even at this relatively late stage of the season.

In the last decade, Rotherham Rugby Club has had two separate seasons in the Premiership, but on both occasions was unable to consolidate the elevated status. At the end of season 1999-2000 the club was promoted, only to be relegated to the (then) National League One after one season at the highest level. The immediate response was to win this league, yet to have promotion back to the Premiership denied due the unacceptable standard of ground and facilities.

The Yorkshiremen were acceptably promoted at the end of season 2002-03 but again only lasted one season, rejoining National League One at the start of 2004-05 and achieving second place in 2006-07. Last season, however they finished 10th (out of 16) two places below Moseley. Few, if any, clubs have had such a roller-coaster ride!

In the close season, Rotherham recruited twelve new players, all with substantial League One experience, and hoped to be in the higher reaches of the new RFU Championship. Like Moseley, however, the Titans have found that other teams in the new league also strengthened their squads and the competition mid table has become very fierce.

A previous preview of one of Moseley’s matches against the Titans included an introduction about the town and people of Rotherham, which I have no apology for repeating at this time of increasing concern about the effects of the decline of British industry. It follows by way of wishing Titans’ supporters renewed good wishes for the success of their economic regeneration programme.

For much of the twentieth century the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham was one of the great power houses of the UK. Sitting on a field of best quality coal, the town manufactured much of the country’s alloy and stainless steels and bred proud, strong and tough men to do so, above and below ground.

Few towns, however, have suffered more from the decline of British industry and the move away from coal as an energy source. Nevertheless the town and rugby club have survived and, in spite of the odds, both look forward to the future with confidence.
 

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Rotherham Titans
Clifton Lane
Rotherham
S60 2SN

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