Birmingham Moseley 32-7 Cambridge
by Paul Smith – Sunday Mercury
Cambridge hooker Ben Brownlie claimed a first half hat-trick that sentenced disappointing Birmingham Moseley to an emphatic defeat.
The misfiring visitors never came to terms with wet and windy conditions which placed a premium on set-piece accuracy and controlled, safety-first rugby.
While their scrum remained competitive, Moseley’s lineout suffered a nightmare afternoon during which almost no clean ball arrived in the opening hour.
As a consequence, playing with plenty of possession and the wind at their backs, the home side were 25 points clear and out of sight by half-time.
Moseley’s improved second half display eventually delivered a late consolation score for the hard-working Kailus Hutchinson, but never threatened more.
After fly half Lawrence Rayner kicked Cambridge into a three-point lead Brownlie claimed his first score from close-range after a powerful lineout drive sucked in plenty of Moseley forwards.
Although Rayner added the conversion, with the home side leading by only ten points and prop Billy Walker in the sin bin, the visitors had every opportunity to get back into the contest as the second quarter began.
However, Cambridge promptly defied the terrible conditions to produce a second try of genuine quality through full back Andy Henderson who took a well-timed inside ball at the end of a sweeping move.
Worse followed for Moseley who in the course of the opening 40 minutes swapped their hooker three times in an attempt to address their lineout issues.
And it was a double blow inflicted by Sam McNulty and Ashley Johnson’s opposite number Brownlie which did the damage.
The former Nottingham hooker’s second score came at the base of a lineout drive which followed the award of a midfield scrum penalty.
And he promptly completed his second three-timer in as many weeks when the Red-and-Blacks overthrew a defensive lineout which allowed him to dive over unopposed at the tail.
Ollie Allsopp’s penalty miss on the stroke of half-time left Adam Balding’s team trailing by 25-nil, and matters soon got worse as Cambridge added a fifth try.
Henderson again was left to apply the simplest of finishes on the left wing after his forwards had pounded Moseley’s line.
Moseley winger Mason Tonks went close when he was narrowly beaten to his own chip ahead, before a series of powerful carries from replacement Jacques le Roux set up the position from which the visitors drove Hutchinson under the home posts.
Tries: Brownlie (3), Henderson (2)
Cons: Rayner (2)