22

Darlington
Mowden
Park

V

21

Birmingham
Moseley

18th February 2023 - 3.00pm

by Bobby Bridge – Birmingham Mail

‘We’re on a journey as a group but we’ve got to get there a bit quicker,” was Birmingham Moseley boss Adam Balding’s key reflection after suffering a defeat in Durham.A lacklustre first half saw the visitors to the Darlington Arena trail 19-7 at the break before a late rally saw Moseley reduce the deficit from 15 to one setting up Dan Lewis with a stoppage-time long distance penalty to snatch victory that faded wide.The slender loss means the boys from Billesley Common have won only once in five games since the turn of the year, the reverse of their form in the handful of games in 2022 when they lost once.“There’s lots of positives we can take from the game but the frustration is for us as a coaching group, you can’t turn up for 40 minutes, you have to play for 80 and that’s the frustration.“When you get to the end of the season this is another game we should’ve won. All credit DMP, they flew out the blocks, they did just about enough to hang on at the end all in all they just about deserved to shade it.”Benjamin Frankland’s brace, both improved by Louie Johnson from the tee, saw Darlington open a strong lead in the opening quarter before Aquile Smith responded with a finish under the posts as Moseley’s forwards began to get on top.But the game’s killer score came on the stroke of half-time as Joshua Crickmay powered over from close range.Half-an-hour of scoreless action separated Johnson’s conversion and penalty with 12 minutes remaining.Moseley’s late bid for victory saw Anthony Egodo and Ollie Allsopp cross the line with Lewis’s precise boot closing the gap to just one point come the final whistle.Balding added: “We didn’t really get out of the blocks to be honest, we were 19-7 down at half-time and ended up scoring two really good tries in the second half, missed one. You can’t come away from home and defensively sit back the way we did in the first half. The way the lads managed the second half was much more like our brand and how we like to play.”The second half showing was just one positive that Balding highlighted from the defeat that included former Gloucester back row Will Safe ending 14 months of injury torment following an MCL rupture when he came on as a replacement.“It was great to see Will return after so long out and he played extremely well,” Balding said. “Anthony Egodo had a strong game on the wing and Jack Forsythe did really well when he came on at seven. The front row boys went superbly well, we completely dominated them at the scrum, the boys worked really hard in that area.“Ultimately it’s disappointing not to win but the reality is at least we got a point. It’s better than nothing but we’re still disappointed.”DMP: McTurk, Hadfield, Frankland, Law, Walker, Johnson, Pascoe; Barron, Guest, Crickmay, Davies, Craggs, Fantini, Jones, HodgsonReplacements: Fraine, Kyle-Clay, Fisher, Mackenzie, Purewal.Moseley: Pointon, Smith, Allsopp, Knox, Egodo, Lewis, Painter; Foreman, S.McNulty, Ajayi, Barnes, Ayling, Le Roux, Morris, Steadman.Replacements: Roach, Priest, Forsythe, Safe, I.McNultyMoseley star man: Ollie AllsoppReferee: Matthew Sharpe

Starting XV

1
Foreman
2
McNulty
3
Ajayi
4
Barnes
5
Ayling
6
Le Roux
7
Morris
8
Stedman
9
Painter
10
Lewis
11
Egodo
12
Knox
13
Allsopp
14
Smith
15
Pointon

Replacements

16
Roach
17
Priest
18
Forsythe
19
Safe
20
McNulty

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