BIG MATCH PREVIEW
by Joe Heaton
Moseley’s second home match of the season is
against Cornish Pirates (formerly, or should we say, still officially
Penzance & Newlyn). After the disappointing loss to Esher at Billesley, the
Moseley players gathered themselves together and won well at Doncaster
(16-23) and it is hoped that the improvement will continue during Saturday’s
much tougher match against the Cornish Pirates.
The Pirates play at Mennaye Field in Penzance and started the 2010-11 season with two encouraging home wins. In the opening match the Cornishmen defeated Doncaster 30-14 and last Saturday London Welsh 22-3, a very impressive win indeed.
As a result the West Country club sits proudly at the top of the nascent Championship league table with Worcester, Esher and Rotherham. This Saturday’s game will undoubtedly therefore be a major challenge to Moseley, which should tell us a great deal about our own new team.
The Cornish side has been managed by Chris Stirling since January 2009, supported by Harvey Biljon (ex Blackheath) as backs coach and Ian Davies coaching the forwards. All the players in the Pirates’ squad are individually sponsored by local firms and are fully professional.
The results of encounters, home and away, between Moseley and the Pirates over the last couple of seasons have been:
National League 1
October 2008 CP 19 M 15 (a) L
February 2009 M. 26 CP 37 (h) L
September 2009 CP 57 M 24 (a) L
December 2009 M. 19 CP 20 (h) L
While this is four defeats on the trot, the loss last season at Billesley was particularly hard to take as Moseley had been leading by six points well into injury time and the players were well in control retaining possession in a succession of “pick and drive” moves to run the clock down. However a loss of ball by now departed and usually reliable Aly Muldowney provided the opportunity for the winning try and a magnificent conversion from the touchline in swirling conditions gave the visitors an unexpected win at the end.
Cornish Pirates finished sixth in the first Championship last season, immediately below Nottingham and above Doncaster, and expect to do even better this season. They also won the inaugural British and Irish Cup last season.
This second home match of the season will provide another opportunity for members and regular supporters to get to know the new players who, from the outset, have commanded a place in the First XV. The shape of the new side is already becoming clear with Carter at fullback and an established pack and half back pairing. The centres, however, are not so firmly established and are still playing for their places.
The strength of the new squad, however, is such that all places in the XV are under continuous competitive pressure and should injuries occur, as they undoubtedly will, the team should not be unduly weakened. This Saturday’s game should be well worth the entry fee.
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