“BIG MATCH” PREVIEW - By Mike Pollock
Moseley v Cornish Pirates
The summer training is over, the pre-season matches completed and now it’s time to bring on Moseley’s first Championship opponents of the season at Billesley on Saturday.
It could hardly be a tougher start – Cornish Pirates. Last season the Duchy’ leading club was once again a powerful outfit and finished runners-up in the regular season. The Pirates then went on to reach the final of the play-offs, twice losing narrowly to Worcester Warriors but with a creditable combined losing margin of 32-45.
This season many fancy Cornish Pirates to go one better. Whether that would lead to promotion could be down to the Premiership eligibility rules.
It is difficult to draw conclusions from pre season matches when coaches are trying out new players and combinations but in pre-season warm-up fixtures the Pirates seem to have had mixed fortunes. After a lost at home to Premiership Exeter by the surprisingly wide margin of 58-3, the Pirates went to last year’s Championship champions Worcester and won by 24-21 away from home! That will have boosted morale no end. Moseley beware!
For their part, Moseley supporters will be keen to see what difference newly appointed chief coach Kevin Maggs can make to their team’s fortunes. Can the former Irish international – who was number two to long-standing coach Ian Smith last season – deliver on his promise to encourage the team to play a more expansive game?
Assisting him will be former Rotherham forward Craig West and the duo’s early aim will be to get the new forward and back recruits to gel with the retained members of last season’s squad. Among the new recruits is centre Jack Adams who was a great favourite playing at Billesley a few seasons back while dual-registered with Gloucester.
The Moseley team has shown promising signs in the two pre-season games, despite losing 40-26 away to Aberavon and 19-26 at home to Bedwas. In both games Moseley were ahead in the second half, before wholesale changes allowed the Welsh Premiership opponents to put more points on the board.
Supporters took plenty of positives from the performances. They praised the team on the club’s message board for deft back play to go with the solid forward play that has been the hallmark of Moseley in the past few seasons.
The new coaches have juggled the permutations in the warm-up games, so it’s anyone’s guess at this Saturday’s starting line-up. However, they will certainly be without jack-in-the-box scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe who is on duty with the Namibian Rugby World Cup squad in New Zealand although newly signed no 9 Ryan Glyn, dual registered with Northampton, should provide an interesting alternative.
Also missing will be back-rower Chevvy Pennycook, last year’s Player of the Season, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, let’s hope the Moseley players show they have the power and guile to at least finish in the top eight of the League this season. Here’s to a thoroughly enjoyable season and a great campaign!
All gate prices remain frozen from last season:
Adult £15; Senior £10, Student £6, Under 16 £. Seats in the stand are £2
With four home fixtures in September this makes buying your season ticket even more worthwhile!
By the end of the month paying standard gate prices you could have paid almost half the cost of a season ticket!
The usual parking facilities will be available with both Swanshurst School and Yardley Wood Road being open. Will all members and those coming from the North and West of the city please use Swanshurst.
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