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1st XV Match Preview V Birmingham Solihull (Away) Fri 22/10/2010 

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Mike Pollak


Birmingham & Solihull v Moseley, Friday 22nd October 2010 at Damson Park, RFU Championship, k.o. 7.45 pm

 

It’s only a short trip to Birmingham & Solihull’s new Damson Park ground on Friday night, but which Moseley team will turn up for the match?

Will it be the one that matched top-of-the-table Worcester for three-quarters of the game, or the one that crumpled at Bedford, and then sank to a ten-try drubbing at the hands of London Welsh on Saturday?

Moseley fans will be hoping that last weekend’s 68-22 debacle – the team’s biggest ever loss at Billesley – will mark its nadir for the season, and that from now on the only way is upward.

Supporters have not been slow to suggest any number of remedies to the team and its coaching staff: faster ball, more varied play, stronger tackling, better defensive alignment. But, equally, some have pointed out that Moseley’s last four games have been against the top four in the division, two of them fully professional, and that the main problem stems from a loss of confidence.

Well, Friday night offers the chance of the legendary even playing field: Bees are bracketed in the bottom two, along with Moseley, they’re semi-professional, and they can hardly be brimming with confidence themselves after only a single win from eight games this season.

But Moseley would be unwise to approach the game with a mindset that all they need do is turn up. By all accounts, Bees are playing better than their results indicate, and their single win was a convincing 38-16 victory a fortnight ago against Esher – a team that beat Moseley in the first game of the season.    

Add to that the derby element, plus home advantage and the still painful reminder that Bees won both encounters in the relegation playoffs at the end of last season, and it could be argued that Bees go into the game as slight favourites.

They have a big pack – doesn’t every side? – and their backs like to run at the opposition. They are rooted at the foot of the table, but their points for and against are almost exactly the same as Moseley’s:   

                        P    W    D    L    Pts for    Pts agst    BP    Pts   Pos        

Moseley         8    1      2    5    146         270           1       9      11th 

Bees              8    1     0    7    139         271           1        5      12th

Looking at the table, it will not have escaped Moseley’s players’ notice that an unthinkable defeat might well put Bees above them in the League. That should be incentive enough, but they will also have heard the riot act from coaches Smith and Maggs at this week’s training, and will know themselves that they collectively turned in a substandard performance on Saturday.

It left fans puzzled, since many have posted on the Mose message board that this year’s squad is stronger than last season’s, with a good mix of experienced heads, plus exciting young talent.

The lament on the board has been that, so far this season, the whole seems less than the sum of the parts. This Friday would be a very good time to change that perception.

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