by Paul Smith
Birmingham Moseley did everything except win against high-flying Blackheath on Saturday, and as so often has been the case in recent seasons Buster Lawrence was at the heart of the Red-and-Blacks’ gritty display.
The back-rower was a deserved recipient of the man-of-the-match honours following a typically powerful and energetic display. However, despite creating plenty of chances, Moseley scored only one try – through lock Danny Wright – and with four kicks at goal also going astray, three Mark Cooke penalties saw the Londoners claim the spoils.
“I hesitate to say it, but the better team lost on the day,” Lawrence said. “It was very frustrating for everyone, as although they played well positionally and kicked for territory we played more rugby.
“But although we offered more in attack, we just weren’t clinical enough. The final pass went to floor too many times and in the end that cost us.”
After putting in a poor display against Cambridge seven days earlier, according to Lawrence Moseley took some consolation from a much-improved effort against Blackheath.
“Cambridge was our worst game by far – we didn’t show up at all – and while they blew us off the park we got a few stern words from our coaches and some honest reviews during the week,” the No.8 said.
“We responded well, and even though we didn’t quite manage to get over the line after a few weeks when we haven’t quite been on the ball, Saturday was an improvement and we got closer to how we’re trying to play.”
Moseley face another testing assignment next weekend when they travel to the North East to face Darlington Mowden Park, who Lawrence expects to pose another formidable test.
“They have a good home record for a reason, it’s not an easy place to go,” he said.
“We need to stick to our game plan like we did last Saturday. If we do, we can give anyone in National One a hard game, so it’s on us to get things right.
“Our discipline will again be important; after getting too many yellow cards it was better on Saturday. Getting things right defensively is also key – we won’t win up there if we ship 30 points – and they are a team that likes to use their wide pitch to attack.”
Lawrence is honest enough to acknowledge his good personal performance against Blackheath followed a few less eye-catching efforts.
“I had a few friendly words from the coach,” he said, “so there was a bit of pressure and I needed to have a good game.
“I was glad to do my bit to help out, and we weren’t far off a really good performance as a team.
“The mood is positive in the camp despite a few poor results recently. Maybe we’d got a bit over-confident, thinking things would just happen for us, and now we are all very clear that we have to turn up each week and make those things happen ourselves.”