1st XV Match Preview V Bristol (Home) Sat 18/09/2010 



by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v Bristol -  RFU Championship, at Billesley Common - Saturday 18th September2010, k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

The three RFU Championship points (two for the draw & one for four tries) which were deservedly earned with the last kick of last Saturdayís pulsating home match against Cornish Pirates will enable the Moseley players to enter the match against Bristol with far more confidence than would have been the case otherwise. Only two teams are now unbeaten in the Championship and Moseley had just drawn with one of them!

By comparison three successive losses were not expected by Bristol, a club which topped last seasonís Championship pre-play-offs league. Moseley will have to beware of the inevitable backlash from this proud club, and one which Moseley has a traditional friendly rivalry going back well over a century.

The results of Bristolís first three Championship games this season are:
Bristol 24 v Rotherham 26 L
Esher 29 v Bristol 27 L
Bristol 12 v Doncaster 26 L
Two of these games could easily have gone in Bristolís favour.

The relative positions of Bristol & Moseley in the league table are:
W D L BP Points Position
Moseley 1 1 1 1 7 8th
Bristol 0 0 3 2 2 10th
Moseleyís initial objective this season is to play some entertaining rugby and try to avoid the relegation play offs by keeping out of the bottom four. Although there is a long way to go yet, a win against Bristol would keep the red and blacks in the promotion play off group.

Last season (2009-10) honours were even in the Championship:
Oct 16 2009 Bristol 19 Moseley 9 L
March 13th 2010 Moseley 30 Bristol 25 W

Moseley had the possibility of a five point victory against Cornish Pirates last Saturday but waywardness in routine kicking for touch, late in the game, sadly put paid to that highly valued scalp. That three points were gained from the match was a consolation but the players know where improvements are needed for the game against Bristol. This league will be so intense that points given away will be heavily punished.

Bristolís Manager is Paul Hull. He is rebuilding his squad after the trauma of missing promotion last season and with the loss of the parachute payment from the PRL cartel has had to make dramatic economies in his squad. He therefore has relatively inexperienced players in some key positions such as hooker, lock, scrum half and fullback, forcing him to appeal to the clubís members and supporters for patience as the coaches seek to match last seasonís success.

The now Bristol Rugby Club was formed in 1888 as the Bristol Football Club and the Gloucestershire county cricket ground was leased for home matches. The Memorial Ground was built in 1921. The clubís seventy- fifth anniversary was celebrated in 1963 and floodlights were installed the following season.
In season 1971/72 Bristol scored over 1000 points and the club was crowned as the unofficial English & Anglo-Welsh Champion. The club came close to collapse in 1996 and Bristol Rovers F.C. moved in to the Memorial Ground in control with Bristol Rugby being the tenants.

The Bristolians roller coaster ride in professionalism is not dissimilar to our own and, although we expect an entertaining and competitive match on Saturday, members and supporters of both clubs will just be delighted that we can all still enjoy a fixture and the rugby camaraderie between our two great clubs, whatever the result.


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