Bath Academy U19 27 Moseley Colts 19 - October 11th 2006
Once again this season, the Colts have taken on an Academy side and provided proof of their skill levels and competitive edge. In a game that was affected by a strong, "down the pitch" wind, both sides showed that they were prepared to carry the ball close in, and move it through the hands as circumstances allowed. Thus supporters from both sides were treated to a very good game.
Losing the toss, Moseley were given first use of the wind and take full advantage they did. With only three minutes on the clock, scrum-half Luke Ward put up a kick that carried towards the Bath line. It did not run on however, but bounced up tantalisingly short of the line. The fullback hesitated, which allowed winger Sam Yarwood to steam in and touch down. This was just the kind of start that you would hope for against strong opposition.
With both sides settling into the game, no further scores were posted in the next fifteen minutes, but the Moseley kicking game was not up to scratch and instead of pinning the opposition back into defence, they were allowed to recover and begin to apply pressure of their own.
After twenty minutes and following a series of attacking scrums, the home side crashed over for their first try which was converted. More attacks followed and culminated in a penalty being awarded against Moseley for holding on at the tackle. The kick was successful and Bath led 10-5. In retrospect, this period of the game was the difference between the sides.
Stung by these two scores, Moseley stepped up their game and took the match to the opposition. A short lineout around Bath’s ten metre line was driven on until the ball was released to Alex Warner who made an excellent midfield break. Supported on both sides, he elected to cut back (to cries of NO from the touchline) to his forward support who almost crossed the line (to cries of YES from the same voices!). The ensuing pressure led to a Bath infringement and a penalty five metres out.
Ignoring the kick, a previous one had been missed, the forwards produced an excellent driving maul to give Matt Tibbatts the touchdown. Warner converted.
Not content with retaking the lead, Moseley quickly retook their position in the Bath twenty-two and within the next three minutes had taken two strikes against the head. This deserved a score and sure enough another infringement led to a reprise of the previous try with Clarke Hands being the scorer. Warner again converted. The half ended at 10-19 to the visitors and the feeling that the game was winnable.
Bath reduced the arrears seven minutes into the half with a series of concerted attacks on the Moseley line. It has to be said that the defence was excellent, repelling seemingly unstoppable attackers, until Bath decided that a better option from one of their penalties would be a kick to the corner. From this they performed a good catch and drive to cross the Moseley line. An excellent wide out kick reduced the lead further to 17-19.
Both sides produced good rugby for the next fifteen minutes with Bath having territorial advantage but Moseley continuing to produce counter attacks that threatened. During this period both Moseley wingers, who had already caused problems, might have produced scores had they had confidence in their own pace and support players instead of kicking the ball away.
Foiling the Moseley attacks, Bath once again attacked at pace and were rewarded twenty-two minutes into the half with an excellent try out wide. The final ten minutes of the game saw both sides striving for the next score. Moseley almost scored a try with prop Paul Norris appearing in the line and giving Matt Durber a run into the corner, but Bath’s defence was solid and he was stopped short.
With five minutes remaining, a Bath lineout released a big forward at the front of the line, he shook off a high tackle and offloaded to his support who crossed for the last score of the game.
Mention should be made of the forward effort throughout; the scrum was solid, the short lineout options well executed, and there was total commitment at the breakdown. The backs ran good lines and defended with shape. Support play was good and the overall defence was full of determination and organisation.
This was an excellent game from start to finish with all the squad playing and acquitting themselves well.
For the record, the Bath side was a mixture of experienced Academy players and some younger trialists whilst the Moseley starting line-up included seven U19`s, six U18`s, and two U17. – Dave Critchlow
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