Chris Bertram sees Moseley win despite an erratic performance
A lovely warm sunny day, ideal for running rugby, or so it seemed. Yet despite that, what transpired was a forward-dominated battle between two sides determined to grind it out. Leicester Lions were looking for a second victory to help them move away from the foot of the table, while Birmingham Moseley were hoping to get back on track after a defeat the previous week. Perhaps those hopes of a flowing game were always on the optimistic side.
The early exchanges favoured Moseley, and it was not long before they opened the scoring. Lions conceded a penalty, kicked to the corner. Moseley couldn’t work the drive over from the resulting maul, but the ball was then worked across through the phases, and Elliott Creed went over for the try. Tighe Maxwell-Whitely could not convert on this occasion but the lead was established.
The following passage of play settled into a pattern of forward exchanges, with the packs trying to assert dominance. Moseley once again threatened the Lions line, but again were held short, allowing Lions to clear and to force Tuoyo Egodo to kick the ball dead. A penalty soon after gave Lions the opportunity to get on the scoreboard and former Moseley fly-half Dan Lewis made no mistake with the three pointer.
That seemed to give Lions a boost in morale, and they worked the ball up to the Moseley line. Repeated attempts to break the Moseley defence were, however, rebuffed, until Lions decided to send it wide and centre Joe Brock scored in the corner, Lewis adding a tricky conversion.
That stung Moseley into a more dynamic approach, and a period spent applying pressure in the Lions’ half eventually culminated in the ball reaching Sam Pointon who sprinted in characteristic style past the defence and touched down under the posts, giving Maxwell-Whitely the simplest of conversions. That was the last score of the first half, which ended with Lions camped on the Moseley line again but unable to breach the defence despite several penalties in their favour, until one awarded to Moseley allowed them to kick out to end proceedings.
The second half opened much as the first had closed, with sustained pressure on the Moseley line from Lions, but again they were unable to break through, and a penalty for Moseley increased their lead to 5, Lions eventually settled for a penalty kicked by Lewis, but not before Sam McNulty had been shown a yellow card for stopping a drive illegally.
The introduction of Freddie Painter at scrum-half seemingly galvanised Moseley, and he was held up over the line. With Moseley set in the Lions half, the pressure eventually told as Pat Zindi broke away from a ruck and scored close to the posts, with Maxwell-Whiteley again converting, and following up with a further penalty shortly afterwards.
The closing stages of the match were dominated by Moseley, who had the upper hand in the scrum and were seeking a bonus point try. Alas, with time up, a handling error enabled Lions’ wing Toby Cousins to run almost the full length of the field to touch down for a try. Lewis sent the conversion wide, but it did not matter, Lions had their losing bonus point as the final whistle blew.
BIRMINGHAM MOSELEY: Pointon; Smith, Creed, Allsopp, Egodo; Maxwell-Whiteley, Jolly; Foreman, S McNulty, Betts, Allen, French, Morris, Zindi, Stedman. Replacements: Priest, Roach, Langley, I McNulty, Painter.
LEICESTER LIONS: Patrick; Sterland, Hamilton, Brock, Cousins; Lewis, Stubbs; Williams, Taylor, Dawson, Ward, Irvine, Johnson, Murdoch, Godefroy. Replacements: Gradwick-Light, Thompson, Roberts, Cairns, Bouchier.
Scorers: Birmingham Moseley – Tries: Creed (2), Pointon (25), Zindi (63); Conversions: Maxwell-Whiteley (26,64); Penalties: Maxwell-Whitely (50, 68)
Leicester Lions – Tries: Brock (18), Cousins (80); Conversion: Lewis (19); Penalties: Lewis (15, 54)
Referee: Michael Lamb