1st XV Match Preview V Esher (Home) Fri 25/03/2011 

Championship Playoffs

Moseley v Esher

Friday 25th March 7.30pm @ Billesley

 

By Glyn Barlow

 

And so we move on to game 3 of the Pool C fight for the future, and it doesn’t get any easier.

Following last weekend’s bitter disappointment of the home loss to Birmingham & Solihull, the team now faces the challenge of playing the in-form team of the pool.

 

Moseley will need to look to eliminate the errors that allowed the Bees to score five tries and build on the positives from the game. And positives there were, with the team also scoring five tries equalling the tally scored in the last encounter between the sides at Billesley. Impressive performances from the likes of Michael Maltman, Chevvy Pennycook and Ryan de la Harpe showed an attacking intent missing over the last few weeks.

 

It is in the areas of defence and game management that the team will need to find the improvements in training this week. Too often our players seem to have held back in tackling their opponents when running cross field, only to let them find a gap in the defensive line. Players will also need to look to find ways to ensure the game is closed out when the team pulls ahead and keep the pressure on Esher by playing the game territorially in the opposition’s 22.

 

For Esher the season has been a similar roller coaster ride to the one Moseley, as a club, has travelled. Impressive victories over the likes of London Welsh and Bristol have been tempered with heavy losses to Bedford and Cornish Pirates.

 

In the regular season Esher managed seven wins and one draw to see them finish a respectable 9th in a first season in the Championship. The teams top point scorer Sam Ulph was 8th in the regular season point’s scorers list, and David Millard topped the Esher try scoring with 6.

 

Moseley will be keen to avenge the two regular season defeats by Esher. The first coming in week one of the season. The second, with an unwelcome symmetry, occurred on the last weekend. 

 

The regular season results are:

 

28th August 10

Moseley

17 – 29

Esher

19th February 11

Esher

34 – 13

Moseley

 

The men from Surrey have prided themselves on playing an attacking brand of rugby this season and will be looking to maintain this approach in their Pool C campaign. Director of Rugby Mike Schmid is calling for his side to head into these games “with all guns blazing”.

 

To date they have won their first two games 22 – 30 away to Birmingham & Solihull and 38 – 15 at home to Plymouth Albion, and stand nine points ahead of Moseley.

 

Added interest is provided in that the two teams meet in back to back fixtures with Moseley visiting Esher on Saturday 2nd April.

 

If ever there was a must win game for Moseley, this Friday is it. The team and its supporters need to put recent results behind them and look to the next four games as opportunities to prove that Moseley is a team deserving of a Championship place.