Moseley make home advantage count
By Jon Meadows
Moseley gathered the kick off but were unable to successfully clear their lines. Darlington were trying to keep the ball alive and had an attacking 5 metres lineout. The ball was safely gathered to set up the drive. Moseley held firm, even when the backs joined in. The ball was worked inside only for the referee to decide the defence was over enthusiastic, Robert Knox receiving an early Yellow, giving Callum Pascoe an easy three points for the Visitors.
Despite being a man down, Moseley were playing the more enterprising rugby, Dan Brough collecting a couple of long clearances to charge into the visitors’ half. Despite some slick passing, the hosts were unable to capitalise on either occasion. Moseley continued to press but it was Darlington who would score through another simple penalty for Pascoe.
The response was almost immediate. The clearance from the restart found Aquile Smith who broke through several tackles to get up to the 22. The ball was recycled a couple of times and worked to the right wing and Brough. With a two on one, he fed Anthony Egodo who finished a fine move in the corner, Jack Jolly’s attempt falling short in the wind.
The Visitors hit back, Yaree Fantini was allowed to ghost through from the back of a line out, Pascoe with the easiest of conversions. With the conditions against them, the home defence were doing their best, only for another simple 3 points for Pascoe before the first half limped to an end.
Following the turnaround, Moseley were to have early use of the now favourable conditions. Darlington collected the kick off just outside their 22. An attempted clearance went high and the wind blew it back, Ollie Stedman tidying things up and charging into the 22 before going to ground. Will Safe collected from the back of the ruck and ran through to score, Jolly making no mistake with the extras.
The home team’s superior line speed and a favourable wind saw almost one way traffic for the next 30 minutes. Moseley had an attacking 5 metres line out for a catch and drive, the referee adjudging the ball was held up. The resulting goal line drop out was caught on halfway and worked to the right hand side and to Brough. His clever chip and chase was grounded before crossing the dead ball line, Jolly again converting.
Darlington were, in the main, being confined to quarters. Jolly had two long range opportunities, missing the first one and securing the second. The resulting restart was gathered by the Moseley pack who drove their opponents back into their own half. Going to ground, the ball was moved to the right. Ollie Allsopp broke through to score a wonderful solo try, not needing the plentiful support that was around, Jolly slotting what was his last kick of the game.
With less than ten minutes remaining it looked like Moseley were home, if not dry. It was not to be. Some lax handling saw the visitors into the opposition 22 and a penalty kicked to 5 metres. Moseley infringed at the line out and a quick tap and go saw Fantini score his second, the conversion pushed wide.
Some ill discipline and talking back to the referee was threatening to derail the home team’s efforts. However, a strong scrum driving their opponents backwards drew a penalty, Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley being successful from just outside the 10 metres. With 60 seconds on the clock, Moseley gathered the restart and appeared to be playing for time, but were conceding penalties. The visitors opted to tap and go once more, this time from further out. Despite the best efforts of the defence, Callum Mackenzie found a way through to secure the losing bonus point, Callum Pascoe completing the scoring with the last kick of the game.