1st XV Match Preview V Cross Keys (Away) Sat 12/11/2011 





At last! The performance everybody was hoping for arrived on Saturday with Moseley’s convincing win over league leaders Bristol. Finally an 80 minute effort proved that this team can compete with anyone in the league. After two tries in the first half gave them a well-deserved lead they showed the resolve to see off a spirited Bristol fight back to gain 4 precious points.


Credit must go to all 15 players (how often nowadays do you see the same 15 finish a match?) who provided resolute defence and a creative side which saw 3 tries scored by the backs. Particularly impressive were Ollie Thomas who had one of his finest games in the No 10 jersey, Dan Sanderson (the transplant of his beard onto Adam Caves chin seems to have worked wonders) and Andy Reay who is currently hitting a rich vein of form.


It is likely that the match day squad will see some changes from the victory over Bristol as some of the promising players who have featured so far in the B&I campaign are re-introduced. Can Moseley improve on last week’s performance? Well cutting down on the penalty count would be one priority as Bristol were given too many opportunities which fortunately, thanks to some strange tactical decisions, were squandered.


So onward to the re-commencing of the British & Irish Cup, and the introduction of the Welsh, Irish & Scottish teams, with a visit to Pandy Park and a team who will not be too familiar to Moseley. Founded in 1885 the club is based in a small village of the Caerphilly county 7 miles from Newport. Linked to the Newport Gwent Dragons the club is coached by, amongst others, Welsh centre Mark Ring, so there should be no doubt that the backs will have a few tricks up their sleeves.


This season Cross Keys have had a relatively successful start to their league campaign having won 6 games and are currently in 5th place in the Welsh Premiership. Key players for Cross Keys include Centre Leon Andrews, No 8 Rhys Williams and Captain Robert Nash in the back row. In addition their link with the Dragons will allow access to some up and coming players.


Cross Keys will provide a tough challenge for a Moseley team looking to build upon the two cup victories so far against Bristol and Plymouth which sees them in second place in pool 1, one point behind the Cornish Pirates. Perhaps more important than the cup position is the confidence boost 2 wins in a row could give the team, who face a series of tough Championship encounters away from home.