“BIG MATCH” FRIENDLY GAME PREVIEW - By Glyn Barlow
Saturday brings Moseley’s final pre-season game against Principality Premiership opposition in the shape of Bedwas.
Although there were four key absentees, last week’s match against Aberavon proved to be a good opportunity for the coaches to see 35 squad members in action including the new signings and a number of trialists. Four tries against a team of Aberavon’s ability showed a clear attacking intent and although there were some defensive lapses as the new team learned to play together, there were some very encouraging signs in different areas.
Bedwas will provide another tough test and we should see a more structured approach to establishing a preferred starting XV for the Championship opening games, rather than the two different Moseley teams which appeared in the first and second halves at the Talbot Athletic ground.
Bedwas is not perhaps one of the most well known names but it is a club with a long and proud history. Established in 1889 in the Rhymney Valley of South Wales it is, like so many clubs in this area, at the heart of a community which has undergone considerable change from the boom days of the Welsh mining industry.
Last season Bedwas found life in the Welsh Premiership tough finishing in 10th place winning eleven games. Notable results saw wins over Cardiff and Neath. This however was an improvement on the two previous seasons which saw 11th place finishes. With the WRU announcing that it will be reducing the Welsh Premiership to ten teams from the 2012/3 season (a situation all RFU Championship clubs’ supporters will empathise with) the Bedwas players will be keen to consolidate and improve their club’s standing.
As part of its ambitions the club has made a number of new signings including Newbridge’s fly half Richard Powell and wing Tom Watkins, Simon Grainger (Cardiff), Gareth Williams (Merthyr) and Lee Purnell (Tonmawr), Centres Darren Ryan (Cardiff) and Rhys Howells (Glamorgan Wanderers) and wing Nathan Rees from Cardiff. In addition as part of a partnership agreement with Newport Gwent Dragons, Bedwas should have access to a number of up and coming players.
Indeed the squad is already delivering on its potential having on Saturday forcedDoncasterinto making a last minute kick to snatch the game 10-13.
For the new Moseley players it will be the first time they will be able to impress Moseley supporters this season, and for some potentially the last opportunity to convince the coaches that they should be part of the 2011/12 plans.
If the intent set out at Aberavon continues we should see the continued evolution of Moseley under the leadership of Kevin Maggs and Craig West.
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