North Midlands Colts Cup
Moseley 37 Whitchurch 24
The under 19 Colts progressed to the semi finals of the North Midlands Colts Cup in a free running and entertaining game, at least from a neutrals point of view.
Bathed in glorious sunshine and playing on the main pitch Moseley kicked off up the ‘hill’ and into a moderate breeze. The opening stages saw both teams trying to run with the ball, but a series of early penalties by the home team gave Whitchurch an opportunity to open the scoring only for the kick to go wide of the posts. Moseley took the restart long for Whitchurch to gather cleanly and run at the home team. A couple of missed tackles combined with slick movement saw the ball passed quickly to the right wing where the Whitchurch player had too much pace for the covering defence and touched down in the corner, the conversion being unsuccessful.
Whitchurch knocked on from the restart but James Lawless Fisher gathered the ball, broke through the defence and powered his way up to the 22 before passing outside to Ryan Miller who ran in for an immediate reply, Ben Morgan adding the extras.
The next period of play belonged to the visitors with Moseley being kept on the back foot. Following a penalty to touch Whitchurch had a line out on the 5 metres. The throw was penalised for not straight, Moseley in turn were penalised at the scrum and a quick tap and go saw Whitchurch power over for their second try of the afternoon.
Whitchurch once more knocked on from the restart giving Moseley the scrum halfway inside the visitors territory. Moseley won the ball and passed it short in an attempt to drive through. Whitchurch defence was holding firm and Moseley, despite recycling well were not making much ground. A clever chip from Miller saw him gather his own ball and get into the 22. Keeping the ball in the tackle Mosley recycled for the forwards to set up drive which was stopped with the ball just short of the line. Dave Brazier picked up from the back of the ruck and dived through for Moseley’s second try, Morgan again being successful.
Moseley caught the ball from the restart and some good handling and quick passing saw the ball moved from right to left and out to Curtis Wellington who ran in from half way for one of the best tries of the afternoon, Morgan just missing with the conversion which bounced back off the post.
Moseley caught the restart once more and ran up field before taking the ball into touch for a Whitchurch lineout on the halfway line. Moseley stole the throw and made progress into visitor’s territory. It was Whitchurch who were now firmly on the back foot but were defending well. Moseley had a penalty which they kicked to touch for a line out on 5 metres. The throw was caught by Ben Meadows, to set up a drive which was powered over the line for James Baillie to touch down
It was not long before Moseley were back inside the Whitchurch half and were recycling the ball well. A quickly taken penalty by Brazier saw him break into the 22 and Whitchurch penalised once more for not retiring ten. Deciding to consolidate their lead it was left to Morgan to successfully score a tricky kick from wide and into the breeze.
Moseley were penalised from the restart and were slow in retiring themselves, giving Whitchurch another penalty just outside the 22. The attempted kick to touch was skewed and went dead giving Moseley the scrum from the same place. Picking the ball up from the back Moseley decided to try and run round but made little progress. They recycled but a wild high pass saw the ball underneath their own post. Whitchurch were soon upon the hapless defender who was forced into conceding a penalty just short of the line. Whitchurch wasted little time for a tap and go and drove over the line. The referee soon blew the half time whistle and a score of 27 points to 17
Moseley had the early possession and pressure in the second half. Following a series of penalties they had the line out about 7 metres out. Another successful catch by Meadows set up the drive over the line, this time Myles Hibbs touching down.
Following another period of Moseley possession and pressure Whitchurch started to come back into the game and had their own period of possession. Keeping the ball well they started to make ground into Moseley territory. They had a scrum just inside the 22 which they won, despite good pressure from Moseley. They passed the ball infield and going through the phases, worked their way up field to the 5 metre line. They were rewarded with a penalty for Moseley not rolling away which they took short and drove over to touch down, with a successful conversion cutting the deficit to just 8 points.
From the restart Whitchurch allowed the ball to bounce into touch, giving them the lineout halfway inside their own territory. Once again the home team were able to disrupt the visitors throw and came away with the ball. Recycling the ball well with a number of short passes inside and pick and goes the ball was working its way over to the left. With the backs trying to break the line the forwards were quickly in support with an attempted drive and at one point ‘the hooker’ James Baillie filling in as scrum half. The move continued, with players getting back to their normal positions and the ball on the 22 another phase saw Moseley recycle once more. Passing the ball back to the right clever movement and slick handling eventually saw Jordan Oliver released down the right wing to score in the corner. IT was a fitting end to a move that involved most, if not all, of the team. Ben Morgan missed the conversion, the ball bouncing back off the posts for a second time.
Much of the remaining twenty minutes was played in the area between the two 22 metres. Moseley were visibly tiring and a mounting injury list for Whitchurch meant they had players out of position, neither team were able to capitalise on the others weakness. Whitchurch had a late rally and broke for the line on the right wing, the moved was stopped but Moseley had a player sent to the bin, presumably for killing the ball. From the penalty Whitchurch used the familiar tactic of tap and go, only this time the referee judged the ball held up. The 5 metre scrum was reset several times before the referee indicated a penalty against the visitors and when the ball was kicked dead by Moseley he blew the whistle for the final time.
An entertaining game was at an end and credit to both teams of players who gave a generally good natured performance, the odd incident apart. A few silly errors aside, it was perhaps the best overall performance the writer has seen from the U19 squad this season. It is a shame it has taken so long, as playing like this they would likely still be involved in the major competitions.
Forwards: J Lawless Fisher, J Baillie, A Cotton, O Sankey, D Rashkafar, J Coleman, H Pitt, B Meadows
Backs: D Brazier, B Morgan, C Wellington, R Miller, J Maycroft, S Shepherd, L Brookes
Replacements: T Short, T Dalton, M Hibbs, P Harley, J Oliver, P Cadogan, J Hammond
Ryan Miller (8 mins)
Dave Brazier (17 mins)
Curtis Wellington (19 mins)
James Baillie (28 mins)
Myles Hibbs (40 mins)
Jordan Oliver (51 mins)
Ben Morgan (x2)
Ben Morgan (x1)
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