by Andy Mitchell
DIRECTOR of rugby Adam Balding backed Birmingham Moseley to emerge from a 37-25 defeat at Cinderford with a “hard edge” – despite feeling hard done by.
Balding argued his side had warranted a pair of bonus points having pushed to the very end for a fourth try in the Forest of Dean.
Dan Lewis’s early breakthrough and first-half kicking helped Mose stay within six points at the interval but Cinderford, inspired by Nathan Taylor’s hat-trick, went on to lead 29-13 just before the hour.
Harry Barnes pounced on some sloppy play to turn the tide, setting up the penalty try which was awarded when Ollie Stedman was prevented from scoring by Mason Tonks’s high tackle.
Matt Marsh crossed the line to close the gap to seven points with six minutes left but Cinderford scored again through Danny Hodge while Marsh remained on the ground receiving treatment.
“We started really well and then Cinderford got their maul going, something that everyone knows they are good at and they certainly took their chances,” said Balding.
“We created lots of good opportunities and took our tries well. Losing two second-rows (to injury) didn’t help but the boys stuck at it really well.
“All credit to Cinderford for getting the win but I felt we could have got at least a point, maybe two – if we had come out of the game with two points that would probably have been a fair reflection.
“I don’t think we did enough to win it but we definitely deserved a point or two.”
Two cancelled pre-season friendlies left Mose short of match time ahead of the new campaign but Balding was happy to see improvement from the opening-day defeat to Sale and wants more at home to promoted Esher on Friday (7.30).
“It was an unusual pre-season, we trained really well and had loads of sessions but didn’t play enough,” he added.
“The difference between this performance and last week’s was like night and day – if we had played like this against Sale we would have won that game.
“We have a great group of lads with good leaders and we look forward to welcoming Esher. We are back at Billesley Common, we need to react well, build on this and hopefully get a good win.
“Playing two of the top six at the start has probably given us that hard edge that we need to move forward.”