Jon Meadows reports on a heavy defeat, but …
Moseley welcomed old rivals Coventry to the Common for the last friendly before the league season begins. This was always going to be a sterner test that the two previous matches for Moseley and so it proved.
Moseley started brightly, collecting the Coventry kick off and cleared the ball with interest to touch. The early stages saw several infringements by the visitors resulting in a penalty in front of the posts which Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley duly slotted for a 3-0 lead.
The next passage of play was spent mainly in the Moseley half and was finished with a converted try for Coventry’s No. 13 who jumped an attempted tackle to touch down on the line. It was not long before the visitors next try – a box kicked spilled forward allowed the visitors to break through and the resulting numerical advantage giving a simple run in. Moseley were playing some good rugby and the scrum looked particularly solid, however small mistakes were being ruthlessly exposed, the visitors running in a couple more tries
The home side were to finish the first period with a sustained spell of possession and pressure. This was rewarded with smart work from the top of line out to break the defensive line. Coventry repelled the first surge but with the ball camped on the line a couple of phases saw Callum Allen break through to score. Maxwell-Whiteley added the conversion with the referee blowing for a half time score of 10-28.
Moseley kicked off for the second half, but once again small mistakes and fine margins saw Coventry score twice in quick succession. At this point the visitors made wholesale changes to their personnel, but there was to be no let up for the home team.
Moseley had a period of possession, albeit mainly in their own half. They got up to the Coventry 10 metre line but lost the ball forward. Coventry gathered, broke through and with superior speed ran in another score. Unfortunately in the act of trying to prevent the score Dan Brough made head contact with his shoulder and was shown red to reduce the home team to 14. This was to be short lived as the Coventry director of Rugby could not see much sense in playing the remaining 30 minutes of a warm up game against a reduced opposition. His suggestion, nay almost insistence, that the referee allow Moseley back to full strength was granted. Somewhat bizarrely it was not long before Coventry were reduced to 14 for a yellow card offence. Presumably Moseley were not able to repay the favour.
Coventry scored once more before Moseley had perhaps their best passage of play. From a free kick just inside the visitor’s half they made progress into the 22 before making further ground towards the try line. A few phases later saw a smart pass to the left wing and Jack Teague broke through and jinked infield to give Maxwell-Whiteley an easier conversion.
Moseley were now having the lions share of possession and were pressurising Coventry on their own 5 metre line. Following a knock on by the defence Moseley had a solid scrum which they opted to reset after some foul play. Once more a solid foundation was laid allowing Ollie Stedman to pick up from the back and muscle his way to score, Maxwell-Whiteley was once more successful with the conversion.
Moseley almost scored again with Freddie Painter scorching down the left wing, losing the ball forward just short of the line in a last ditch defensive tackle. It was to be Moseley’s last meaningful contribution with the visitors running in two more scores for a final tally of 24-68.
Speaking to Adam Balding after the match he was fairly happy and thought the result was about right for a contest between a top three Championship side and an aspiring National League One team. He mentioned that we need to be a lot more clinical next weekend in the opening league fixture, but there was enough there to be positive about. He was particularly pleased that the players continued to front up to the opposition for the full 80 minutes.