by Paul Smith – Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Moseley slipped to a fifth consecutive National One defeat on Saturday when Chinnor clung by their fingernails to a narrow Billesley Common success.
To double the frustration factor, for the second time in three weeks the better team lost, since after trailing 0-17, Adam Balding’s Red and Blacks ‘won’ the remaining 68 minutes of the contest by an emphatic 17-5 margin
This comeback did at least secure the hosts a losing bonus point, but according to fly-half Ben Palmer, until Moseley find a way to perform across the whole 80 minutes, wins will continue to elude them.
“We were all over Chinnor for probably 60 minutes but the first 20 minutes killed us,” he said. “We just didn’t get off the line and make our tackles and that really hurt us.
“When we get it right we look a good side, but we have to be absolutely on our game for every minute and sometimes we have spells when we fall below that level.
“It happened against Blackheath when they started well and it took us a while to get going and exactly the same happened on Saturday against Chinnor. “It just leaves us with too much to do – if we hadn’t conceded those 17 points in the first quarter we’d probably have won.”
Palmer believes the slow starts which have blighted Moseley’s first half of the season are resolvable, and points to the early stages of games in which his team started as underdogs as examples of what is required.
“When we are playing big teams – like Coventry pre-season and Cinderford away – we are almost afraid of what they might bring so we come flying out of the blocks,” he said.
“It seems like we need that fear factor to get us really up and firing – without that we are prone to fall off tackles and make it easy for teams to get a lead we are unable to claw back.
“It doesn’t get any easier over the next fortnight at Richmond then back at Billesley against Rams, but if we can get one or two wins we are right back in it, and those might be just the kind of challenges we will relish.”
Moseley had chances to clinch the spoils in the closing few minutes against Chinnor, but twice failed to secure lineout possession deep in the visitors’ 22. According to Palmer, this is very much a case of keeping the faith when a similar situation next arises.
“In a game of very small margins you sometimes wonder whether you should keep taking points when they are available,” he said. “But equally, when you’re chasing the game they are difficult decisions to make.
“You have to trust your systems and rely on the work you have put in during training. “If we win either of the lineouts in their 22 in the last few minutes we potentially score a try – sometimes it just comes down to bad luck.”