1st XV Match Preview V Bedford Blues (Home) Sat 18/02/2012 

The Big Match Preview - By Glyn Barlow

 

There is another top of the table challenge for Moseley on Saturday when traditional rivals Bedford, currently third in the Championship, visit Billesley Common. Moseley will be attempting to win to secure another point for the relegation playoffs and thereby widening the gap with bottom placed Esher while Bedford will be going for victory to leapfrog Cornish Pirates into second place and gain an extra point in the promotion playoffs.

 

The Moseley players will be putting all thoughts of last Sunday’s game at Bristol behind them and focusing on this next challenge. Arguably the final score line at the Memorial Stadium flattered Bristol when two late converted tries were scored as Moseley ran out of replacements and ended the game with 14 men on the field. However, positives that can be taken from the game include the return of flanker Ben Pons after a significant layoff due to injury and the introduction of two new players in winger Anders Mogenson and flanker James Tyas, both showing considerable promise for the weeks to come.

 

There has been a marked comparison between Bedford’s home and away form in recent weeks. Six straight wins at Goldington Road have been interspersed with four losses away to Leeds, Doncaster, Bristol and London Welsh.  However recent strengthening of Bedford’s squad has included the signing of back row Darren Fox and tight head prop Ben Cooper from Cambridge who may help to correct that trend. Fox in particular will be a welcome addition as Bedford stalwart Sasha Harding is currently side-lined through injury.

 

Earlier this season Moseley suffered defeat at Bedford by 37 – 24 although the visitors will have counted themselves unfortunate not to have taken at least two bonus points from the game. Having scored three tries, a couple of defensive lapses of concentration allowed Bedford to pull away. This is something the Billesley men will need to rectify on Saturday especially to prevent the leagues’ top try scorer, winger Josh Bassett, from adding to his tally of fifteen tries already this season.

 

As Kevin Maggs and Craig West look to the selection of the team they will be considering many factors including the need to take a match sharp squad of players into the playoffs while not overplaying certain players who will be crucial to the mini season of six weeks. In addition those new to the team need to be integrated quickly into the style of play and set moves.

 

The players and coaches will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season’s slow start in pool C when two losses were incurred. The team needs to build momentum from the last two regular season games to ensure the pool is closed out as early as possible.

 

With both teams going all out on Saturday, this is bound to be an entertaining and competitive match.