BIG MATCH PREVIEW
by Joe Heaton
What a difference a win makes!
The heart warming victory over Doncaster last Friday evening has put a new perspective on Sunday afternoon’s match down in the far west country against Cornish Pirates (formerly Penzance & Newlyn). If Moseley players play as well as they did against Doncaster, the earlier unlikely possibility of getting something out of the game comes on to the horizon, especially if the profitable change of tactics employed in the second half are brought into play.
The results of matches between the two clubs over the past two seasons and the start of this season, however, indicate how difficult a win will be:
National League October 2008 CP 19 M 15 (a) L
February 2009 M. 26 CP 37 (h) L
Championship (1) September 2009 CP 57 M 24 (a) L
December 2009 M 19 CP 20 (h) L
Championship (2) September 2010 M 26 CP 26 (h) D
This well deserved draw was achieved when a last minute try was scored by winger Jack Pons and converted by fly half Brad Davies. Since then the match results of the two clubs in this season’s Championship have been very different:
P W D L F A B Pts Pos
Cornish Pirates 12 8 1 3 357 199 7 41 3rd
Moseley 12 3 2 7 234 369 1 17 9th
Last weekend, however, Moseley recorded an impressive home double over Doncaster. It was led by former Pirate Ollie Thomas, who rejoined Moseley following a spell last season playing for Le Racing Club Chalonnais, and kicked 17 points in the 27-15 win.
The Pirates scored almost twice as many as Moseley did against Doncaster in their defeat of Esher (also currently alongside Moseley in the ‘relegation four’) 57-15. Esher capitulated on a soggy far West Country afternoon in the face of a six try onslaught. The previous week, however, Pirates lost 16-23 to their close rivals London Welsh, a club which is also near the top of the Championship table.
So far this season, besides drawing against the Cornish side in September, Moseley also drew 13-13 at home to Bristol, and our three wins have been against Doncaster Knights 16 -23 and 27-15 and Birmingham/Solihull 22-20.
The Cornish Pirates have reverted to playing at the Penzance & Newlyn Rugby Club ground at Mennaye Field in Penzance. They have been managed by Chris Stirling since January 2009, supported by Harvey Biljon as backs coach and Ian Davies coaching the forwards. All the players in the Pirates’ squad are individually sponsored by local firms and are fully professional. Chris Stirling is an authority on the history & development of rugby union in the southern hemisphere.
Cornish Pirates finished sixth in the first Championship last season, immediately below Nottingham and above Doncaster, and were expected to do even better this season. They also won the inaugural British & Irish Cup last season.
This will be a formidable test for Moseley on Sunday especially as it will be in front of a partisan home crowd which, for some reason seems to have taken a dislike to our team recently, despite the acknowledged hospitality given to the Pirates and their supporters on their reciprocal visit to Billesley. But you never know what might happen on the day!
FRIDAY NIGHT RUGBY
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