by Andy Mitchell – Birmingham Mail
Adam Balding joked he had “aged 10 years” during a tense finale in which Ollie Allsopp fired Birmingham Moseley to victory with the last kick of the game.
Mose let slip an 18-point lead to trail by just one with a minute to go but Balding’s boys dug deep and picked up a penalty during a last-ditch surge for the line.
The kick was the only option and Allsopp kept his cool, slamming between the sticks from left of centre and inside the 22 to the relief of the home faithful.
“I think I have aged 10 years,” Balding quipped.
“All credit to Darlington, though, they didn’t go away, there was probably a bit of overexcitement in the second half, particularly once we got into a good lead.
“We probably played a little too deep at times which gave them easy field position to kick on. That should be an easy fix but the bigger things we talked about over the past week were character, belief and pride in the Birmingham Moseley shirt and I thought every player represented the club with absolute heart and conviction.
“That is all you can ask for and I am really proud. Yes, it was a bit close but I was always confident we would win, I didn’t think it would take the last kick but it was gutsy and the whole performance was something for us to build on.”
Mose started well with Jacques Le Roux releasing Elliott Creed to dash over before Matt Minogue and Allsopp traded penalties.
Morgan Passman was a thorn in Moseley’s side, bursting through two challenges and almost scoring before bludgeoning his way through three tackles to make it 10-8.
Mose continued to carry a threat themselves with Matt Marsh’s quick tapped penalty and jink past two opponents setting up Tom Benjamin’s try and a third arrived just before half-time, Marsh in the mix again to find David Langley to power over.
Sam McNulty finished off a driving maul with Allsopp’s conversion making it 29-11 early in the second half but Passman was simply unplayable when he isolated opponents, twice darting down the left to complete his hat-trick just past the hour mark.
That set up a tense last quarter and Darlington moved ahead for the first time when Ollie Walker jumped between two bodies and evaded Benjamin’s tackle to score and Minogue converted.
Balding reflected on “bad judgments” around Passman’s second and third tries but also acknowledged his quality.
“We gave them the opportunities to score,” said Balding.
“When we were organised and set we dealt with them really well but he was a real handful. I am sure he will get attention from other teams if he keeps putting in performances like that.”