by Jon Meadows
Luctonians were first time visitors to the Common for the opening preseason fixture. They kicked off up the slope and into the breeze to begin a passage played mainly in the Moseley half. The visitors were unable to create any meaningful opportunities, but neither were Moseley able to break free.
However after about 8 minutes Moseley broke down the left wing only for their progress to be halted illegally. The resulting penalty was kicked to touch on the 5 metre line. The throw was accurate, and Moseley drove for the line. The initial surge was defended well but with several pick and go’s drawing more defenders, the ball was passed out wide to the right for the inevitable overlap allowing for a simple run in for the opening try. This was successfully converted by Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley, our recent signing from Leeds Tykes.
A period of scrappy play ensued with both sides conceding penalties and giving up possession in various ways. Luctonians had a break away down the right wing with numerical advantage and gaps in front of them, only for play to be halted for a forward pass on halfway. It was Moseley who would next disturb the scoreboard with a line break allowing Dan Brough to score under the posts and Maxwell-Whiteley adding the extras to end the first of three periods of 25 minutes, 14 points to the good.
Playing in the same direction, Moseley kicked off the second session. This saw perhaps Luctonians best spell of possession and pressure without really creating any openings. With Moseley opting to pass along the line and not kicking clear, possession changed hands frequently.
A bizarre passage of play followed with Luctonians kicking to touch on the Moseley 10 metre line. This was adjudged to be the mid-point of the period and the point at which the two teams quickly swapped ends without a break in play. Moseley successfully gathered the throw and with Luctonians seemingly off guard a smart move up the right hand side resulted in a third try. The conversion from out wide narrowly missed the left hand post.
The scorers were being kept busy. Moseley stole a lineout on their own 22 and some slick handling and running kept the ball alive, with a pass out wide and smart interchanges ending in a try in the left hand corner with an equally difficult conversion missed.
It was at this point the home team were threatening to overrun their visitors who looked to be tiring. Almost from the restart Moseley ran through the defence ending with an easy dot down for Elliot Creed, with the extras successfully added. Some more enterprising play came to nothing, and the whistle blew for the end of the second period.
Both teams made a number of changes for the third period and the visitors had some fresh legs. However a long clearance deep into Moseley territory was cleanly taken and with the first defensive line breached the ball was moved to the left wing where Aquile Smith sprinted up the touch line, breaking through several attempted tackles before jinking infield to touch down and make the successful conversion that much easier.
Following the restart there was a passage of broken play before Luctonians had a penalty on halfway. They kicked to touch close on the Moseley 5 metre line and a successful catch and drive followed. Moseley withheld the initial charge but a few pick and drives moved the ball infield before a gap was found in the Moseley defence to register a touchdown with a successful conversion following.
Not long after the restart Moseley had an attacking scrum on the 5 metre line, with the ball being picked up from the back by Harry English who ran through to touch down. Unfortunately the conversion was missed.A few minutes remained before the referee blew the final whistle for a full time score of 43–7
Director of Rugby Adam Balding was understandably happy. He commented that he was particularly pleased with the level of fitness shown from the whole squad. Obviously the hard work in the gym in the close season paid off and hopefully the players enjoyed putting it to good use on the pitch.