22

Birmingham
Moseley

V

14

Sale
FC

4th November 2023 - 3.00pm

by Chris Bertram

It was not a day for champagne rugby.  It was cold, it was overcast, the pitch was heavy, and though the wind was uncharacteristically light,rain blew over from time to time and the ball was clearly hard to handle, as the plentiful handling errors from both sides suggested.Yet both teams did manage to put some deft passing moves together, belying the conditions, even if these moves tended to break down fairly quickly as the game reverted to the forward dominance that is usual on these occasions.Sale FC arrived with plenty to prove to their travelling supporters. High-flyers last season, finishing third and only a single point off the league winners, they were lying bottom of the table, though the unavailability of regular starters dual-registered with Sale Sharks due to involvement in the Premiership Cup competition was deemed to have contributed to this.  So now was surely a chance to kick-start the recovery, wasn’t it?Well, they certainly started as if that was exactly what they intended. Playing towards the clubhouse end in the first half, it didn’t take long before a Birmingham Moseley defensive error allowed them a breakthrough, and though this was stopped, a penalty was kicked to the corner and from the resulting maul, prop Callum Ford was driven over for a try, converted by fly-half Tom Curtis.Moseley responded quickly, as Sale conceded a penalty that Moseley sent to the corner, from which captain Ollie Stedman went over off the back of the drive.  The conversion went wide, but it was game on.The following exchanges saw much jostling for dominance, which Moseley appeared to achieve in the scrum, also stealing a line-out.  Sale however countered with the tactic of the grubber kick through defence, something that they would use several times during the match.  However eventually Moseley pinned Sale back in their own 22, and from a line-out on that 22 worked another drive up to the line for Stedman to score again off the back of the drive.  This time Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley’s conversion was good and it was 12-7 to the home side.The last word of the first half, however, belonged to Sale, when they were able to kick a penalty for a high tackle to the corner and drive over for hooker Josh Brown to score, with Curtis again adding the conversion for a 12-14 lead at the break.The early part of the second half was once again dominated by forward battles, though Sale’s kick-throughs had to be carefully dealt with by Moseley’s defence.  Finally, with 20 minutes left, Sale conceded a penalty just outside their own 22 which Maxwell-Whiteley coolly sent over for a 15-14 lead.Six minutes later, Moseley established a two score margin as Sam Pointon  executed a 50-22 kick for Moseley to have a line-out well into Sale territory.  This was secured, and from the resulting drive, Ben Morris went over for his first score of the season, and Maxwell-Whiteley again converted from wide out for 22-14.  The remainder of the game saw Sale striving for at least a bonus point, but Moseley’s defence was alive to their threat and dealt with it effectively, with no further scoring.Scorers: Birmingham Moseley – Tries: Stedman (9, 21), Morris (66); Cons:Maxwell-Whiteley (22, 67); Pen: Maxwell-Whiteley (60)Sale FC – Tries: Ford (3), Brown (34); Cons: Curtis (4, 35)Teams: Birmingham Moseley: Pointon; Smith, Creed, Allsopp, Brough; Maxwell-Whiteley, Jolly; Foreman, Roach, Betts, Allen, French, Morris, Safe, Stedman.  Replacements: Holsey, S McNulty, Langley, I McNulty, Painter.Sale FC: Dixon; Brady, Mulchrone, Robins, Walsh; Curtis, Street; Onasanya, Brown, Ford, Bamber, Groves,Barron, Hughes, Priestley-Nangle. Replacements: Makin, Opoku-Fordjour, Gray, Parkin, Bradley.Referee: Ben Rayner

Starting XV

Foreman
1
Roach
2
Betts
3
Allen
4
French
5
Morris
6
Safe
7
Stedman
8
Jolly
9
Maxwell-Whiteley
10
Brough
11
Allsopp
12
Creed
13
Smith
14
Pointon
15

Replacements

Holsey
16
McNulty
17
Langley
18
McNulty
19
Painter
20

Most recent match reports

Birmingham
Moseley

V

Rams

Birmingham
Moseley

V

Chinnor

Birmingham
Moseley

V

Cinderford