1st XV Match Preview V Birmingham Solihull (Away) Sat 20/03/2010 

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Bees v Moseley, at Sharmans Cross Road, RFU Championship Play-offs,
Saturday, March 20th 2010, k.o. 3.00 pm


So, on Saturday afternoon Moseley will enter new, and highly stressful territory, termed the Championship Relegation Play-offs.

It is no use saying that we do not deserve to be in this mini-competition, for the ‘regular’ Championship league table does not lie. All four teams start on the same basis (apart from a two league point deduction for Bees for playing a non registered player) and one will be relegated. That we beat the other three teams, B’ham-Solihull, Coventry and Rotherham, both home and away in the league is an irrelevance and a positive danger that it could lead to complacency. One has only to look at how close several of these wins were to appreciate how easy it could be to finish in fourth place and, God forbid, be relegated to National League One.

Moseley will only survive if our players show the same determination and intensity in all six playoff matches as they showed in magnificently beating the Championship leaders, Bristol, last week at Billesley Common.

The first match is away to Birmingham Solihull on Saturday afternoon. The danger of taking a win for granted is clear. Our opponents have lost all but one of the matches they have played this season, and that one was a draw. On several occasions they have conceded more than 50 points, including their last match, which they lost away to Exeter 63-12. In the league we beat them 16-23 away at Sharmans Cross Road in October and by 25-24 at home in January.

The final positions of each club in the ‘regular’ Championship are:

                    P   W  D  L   F    A   B Pts Pos
Moseley        22 10 0 12 444 543 6 46 9th
*Bees           22  0  1 21 293 836 4 - 12th
* Bees fined 15 points for breach of league rules

Nevertheless, Bees will be trying to put behind them the horrors of the league proper and will see the play-offs as a heaven sent opportunity to get out of jail.

Birmingham & Solihull RFC was formed by an amalgamation in 1989 of Birmingham Rugby Club, founded in 1911, and Solihull rugby club, founded in 1933. Although still bearing the city’s name, Birmingham RFC had moved out from the city to Portway in Stratford District many years previously. Solihull meanwhile had continued to play at Sharmans Cross Road, in the Borough bearing its name.

From season 2005/06 on, Birmingham & Solihull RFC was sponsored by Pertemps Employment Alliance Ltd and became known as ‘Pertemps Bees’. After celebrating promotion to the Championship at the end of last season (2008-09), however, the club entered in to a prolonged period of uncertainty, which is still ongoing although several major hurdles have been overcome on the road to stabilising the future.

On 23rd October 2009 the club went into voluntary liquidation, owing the Inland Revenue over £90,000. This resulted in the RFU imposing a penalty and deducting fifteen Championship points.

The Moseley players must do their utmost to avoid more yellow cards, which so nearly brought them to grief last Saturday, and minimise the penalty count. They also need to play with the determination and concentration that led to such a magnificent win.

They must not be inhibited by the stakes they are playing for and be willing to open up their game and give their backs the opportunity to score the tries needed for a comprehensive win.

We must also hope that Tristan Roberts kicks his conversions and penalties with the consistency he showed against Bristol.

Sharmans Cross Road is within local driving distance of the homes of the majority of club members. The value of strong away support is incalculable and the club asks you, if at all possible, to be in your place on Saturday afternoon
 

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