1st XV Match Preview V Coventry (Away) Sat 03/04/2010 



by Joe Heaton

Coventry v Moseley, at Butts Park Arena, RFU Championship playoffs, Saturday, 3rd April 2010, k.o. 3.00 pm

There are many who quite rightly question the logic and equity of a playoff system which has resulted in a fixture this Saturday against our oldest and fiercest rivals for what may be an important factor in who stays in the Championship.

Surely results from just four local derbies at the end of a hard season should not in effect be the criteria for existence in this league especially when Moseley’s own respectable record of nearly 50% of games played won in the regular season was deemed only fit to be playing in this relegation pool?

The position of the four teams in Pool C after the second round is:
                P W L D  F  A  BP P
Rotherham 2 2 0 0 59 32 2 10
Bees          2 2 0 0 46 35 0  6
Moseley      2 0 2 0 46 54 3  3
Coventry     2 0 2 0 21 51 0  1
* Bees deducted 2 points for fielding an unregistered player

Although many club members are understandably concerned, it is interesting to note that while a loss on Saturday may not in fact be completely catastrophic for Moseley, a win against Coventry and a loss for Bees against Rotherham would put Moseley into second place in the play off table! Then we would still have two home games to finish off with!

Certainly our team has the capability to win key games as has been demonstrated many times in the past. Last Saturday, the final minute loss of the second Championship relegation play off match against Rotherham, 29-30, at Billesley Common, after leading 26 -10 at half time, was a bit of a shock to both the team and its supporters.

This was all the more difficult to bear as the players, as demanded of them, had played so much better than in the first play off game against the Bees the previous week, scoring four tries, and earning a valuable bonus point. However they then appeared to lose interest for the last twenty minutes thinking the game had been won. Concentration needs to be for the full game on Saturday.

The Butts Park players will still be smarting from losing to successive penalty tries last October and will be fired up to get off the bottom of the table. And we also know how Mr. Maynard enjoys disappointing Moseley people.

The results of Coventry’s first two matches in the Pool C play offs are:
March 22nd Rotherham 29 Coventry 3
March 27th Coventry 18 Birmingham & Solihull 22

The results of the previous two away matches against Coventry are:
2nd October 2009 Coventry 25 Moseley 28 Championship
26th Dec 2008 Coventry 27 Moseley 10 National League One

When Coventry fell into financial difficulties earlier in the season and ended in administration, the RFU licensed the new club to continue to play its remaining fixtures in the Championship whilst immediately imposing a penalty of fifteen points. However none of these were applied to the playoffs.

In recent seasons Coventry has been stiffened by players from overseas, notably by fly half Fengata Apikato from Tonga. The team is captained by Arthur Brenton from lock; his vice-captain is full back Ben Russell.

Coventry (rugby) Football Club was founded in 1874, a year later than Moseley. In 1921 the club moved to Coundon Road, well known to generations of Moseley players and supporters, and remained there for eighty-three years until it moved to Butts Park Arena in 2004.

On the eve of its Centenary Season in 1973-74 the club won the RFU Club Knock-Out competition twice in successive seasons and was rewarded by a fixture against the Barbarians.

Although Coventry RFC was an inaugural member of the First Division in 1987 on the advent of League rugby, the club was relegated at the end of the first season. Thereafter, apart from one season in the third division, Coventry was one of the better sides in the second division, which became National League One on the formation of the Premiership, and more recently, The Championship.

Keith Fairbrother, well known to many Moseley men, took charge in 1998 and drew up plans to develop the club in the new millennium and make it fit to be in the Premiership. Their implementation, however, has been hindered throughout by financial problems.

At the beginning of the 2006/07 season Fairbrother withdrew and sold the club to Andrew Green who, having done his utmost, had to take the club into administration earlier this season.

Whatever the outcome on Saturday it is sad that our two famous rivals clubs have found themselves in this position and that the loser could well become more favoured to be playing its rugby in a lower tier next season. Having said that, this game will undoubtedly be the usual blood and thunder affair but with the traditional camaraderie between good rugby folk afterwards.



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