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
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
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
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
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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