by Paul Smith
Led by a livewire display from teenage scrum half Freddie Painter, Birmingham Moseley overcame an error-strewn display to claim five valuable points in their quest to avoid being drawn into National One’s relegation battle.
Missing several regular starters in the backs through injury, Adam Balding’s team struggled for continuity but in the end were seen home by their powerful scrum and driving maul.
Their director of rugby was happy to bank a maximum five-point return from his team’s seventh home win of the National One season. However, frustration remains over Moseley’s recent failure to convert good displays into league points and consequent position in the league table.
“We’ve been pretty settled all year in the backs and this week we had four injuries and some illness which disrupted us badly,” he said.
“It’s credit to the lads that we managed to grind out five valuable points against a Leeds side that showed plenty of commitment and endeavour.
“We looked flat for big parts of the game but our scrum and driving maul saw us through. Sometimes rugby is a basic game and we’ve seen many teams over the years including England who have won games through that set-piece dominance.
“The disappointing thing is that we’ve allowed six games to pass us by. Had we collected the points we should have done from those games we’d be a lot further up the table.
“This result gives us breathing space, but I don’t feel we should be where we are. Taunton is our last home game – we have to back ourselves to do a job there and also get points from away games at Plymouth, Sale and Cambridge.”
Playing up the Billesley Common slope with the support of a gusty wind the visitors took an early lead through centre Charlie Venables who was left with the simplest of finishes after his midfield partner Nuu Nu’u flattened Dan Lewis. Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley added the extras.
Moseley were soon level when Painter darted through a gap following a close-range ruck to claim a try which Lewis improved.
Leeds were getting outside the home backs with alarming ease and a long pass soon sent full back Kieran Davies galloping 40 metres to the line for a score which Maxwell-Whiteley upgraded.
But the red-and-blacks went into the interval on level terms courtesy of a well-organised lineout drive which made fully 15 metres before hooker Ryan Roach scrambled over for a try which Lewis converted with a good kick.
After flanker Jack Forsythe was denied a try by an earlier forward pass, the hosts edged ahead for the first time when Lewis kicked a simple penalty when Leeds were offside in front of a knock-on.
But their lead was short-lived since Leeds winger Harry Jukes soon raced over following a powerful John Akafor carry and some neat handling to claim a score which Venables converted.
Moseley were then denied a penalty try when Leeds appeared to collapse a maul that was heading for the try-line. However, the hosts immediately made amends when Painter dived over for his second try after an impressive scrum before Lewis tagged on his third successful conversion.
The Tykes were now conceding alarming amounts of penalties and as a result lost Akafor to the sin bin which left space for Lewis to force his way into the corner to clinch a welcome bonus point win.
Scorers & Times:
Tries: Painter (13) (73), Roach (35), Lewis (79)
Cons: Lewis (13) (35) (73)
Pens: Lewis (53)
Tries: Venables (9), Davies (24), Jukes (58)
Cons: Maxwell-Whiteley (9) (24), Venables (58)
Birmingham Moseley: Smith; Egodo, Cusick, Knox, Creed; Lewis, Painter; Priest, Roach, Tideswell; Safe, Butler; Morris, Forsythe, Stedman.
Replacements: Olver, Romano, Barnes, English, Harper.
Leeds Tykes: Davies; Mounsey, Venables, Nu’u, Jukes; Maxwell-Whiteley, Keith; Hancock, Mace, Cordice; Brady, Okafor; Smith, Maguire, Burke.
Replacements: Derbyshire, Parker-Clarke, Collins, Ree, Dixon.
Referee: Iain Kiy
Rugby Paper star man: Freddie Painter (Moseley)
Half-time: Birmingham Moseley 14-14 Leeds Tykes