BIG MATCH PREVIEW
by Joe Heaton
After the disappointing result of last Sunday’s match against Cornish Pirates and the possible effect on the players’ confidence it is not easy to come to a view on the outcome of the following match against Bristol, again on a Sunday afternoon. This welcome traditional fixture stretching back well over a century will therefore be an interesting encounter.
We all knew that the away match against Pirates would be ‘a formidable challenge’, especially in Penzance but the result of the previous home game against Doncaster had raised hopes that Moseley could stretch the Cornish side and perhaps even earn a bonus point.
Clearly some points against Bristol would be helpful for the League as the following Championship match is against Bedford, at home, before the comparative respite of the B&I Cup fixtures. The Bedford club currently stands in second place in the table and regular supporters will remember that the defeat of Moseley by 41-12 at the start of the season.
The present relative positions of Bristol and Moseley in the Championship are:
P W D L F A Bonus Points Pos
Bristol 13 4 1 8 275 336 5 23 8th
Moseley 13 3 2 8 241 419 1 17 10th
Bristol had been promoted to the Premiership in season 2004/05 and subsequently had four seasons at the highest level, finishing:
2008/09 Twelfth (and relegated to the Championship)
Last season the West County men confidently anticipated a return to the Premiership at the first attempt and headed the Championship table going into the four team Premiership finals. However Exeter narrowly won the playoff final and went up.
The Bristolians were thus condemned to at least another season in the Championship and denied a continuation of the £1.5m ‘parachute payment’ from the PRL cartel. It must be difficult for them to be as low as this in the table.
This season’s home match against Bristol was played on the 18th September and resulted in a 13-13 draw, which Moseley could have won. Nevertheless, the team pulled back from a long standing deficit, Adam Caves scoring a fine try.
Bristol’s manager is Paul Hull. During the first half of the season he was making economies and rebuilding his squad to cope with this unexpected loss of income from a second season on the Championship. The club has played at the Memorial Stadium in, Bristol, since 1996.
As both clubs will be looking to enhance their prospects of avoiding the relegation playoffs and the heart aches that can bring, Sunday’s game will be watched with greater interest than usual. The Memorial stadium is also another difficult place to get a win, but let up hope at least that the match itself lives up to reputation of the titanic battles of the past.
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