Preview to Moseley (A) 21.12.1320/12/2013
Sleigh Bills at the Common... and all that festive jazz
It's that time of year when the excesses of the build-up to
Christmas can start to take their toll. A lethal cocktail of mince
pies, last posting dates and 'Stop the Cavalry'.
It is to be hoped the players of Moseley and Jersey have managed to put off most, if not all, of the trimmings, until after this weekend's important fixture in the Greene King IPA Championship.
The host club have promised to lay on a festive occasion with an
entertainer belting out seasonal tunes (let's hope he's lost his
Jonah Lewie songbook) after the match, plenty of silly hats, and
refreshment in the form of mulled wine and Rockin' Rudolph, one of
a selection of the sponsor's ales.
But the real action will take place on the field at Billesley Common, and the last game of 2013 is very important for both sides.
Jersey's last league outing was a home defeat by an Ealing side that had previously not managed a league point in nine attempts, since when there's been a significant management change and a brace of B&I Cup defeats for Interim Head Coach Steve Boden.
Jersey are 11th in the table, four points behind Moseley. Each club have registered three league wins, including seeing off last season's play-off contenders Bedford and Nottingham. Moseley's higher ranking in the table stems from an unlikely draw at Plymouth in September, when they battled back from 31-6 to 34-apiece, while Jersey lost two points in September after RFU disciplinary action.
The visitors know that a win would seem them get up close to, if not overtake, their hosts, while Moseley will be looking to surge up into lower mid-table, and well away from any relegation worries. The Midlands side are likely to field their star signing of 12 months ago, the larger-than-life Ben Evans (below), who was formerly with Jersey for 18 months in a player-coaching role.
Saturday's Christmas cracker kicks off at 3pm.
News from the Jersey Camp
Injuries remain a concern for Steve Boden, and attempts to bolster his squad with loan players haven't yet come to anything yet. The plus point of this is that the squad has a fairly settled look, and will be determined to prove a point after recent results.
Boden rewards lock Dave Markham and full-back Jack Burroughs for impressive displays in the B&I Cup with starting berths in the Jersey XV tomorrow.
Markham will partner skipper Alex Rae in the engine room, while Burroughs' inclusion is part of a shuffle of the back division that will see David Bishop and Grant Pointer play in the centre, with Mark McCrea and Drew Locke on the wing. Jimmy Williams (pictured below taking a pass from Sean McCarthy) is chosen at scrum-half ahead of Joel Dudley.
Hooker Elvis Taione will make his first start since playing for
Tonga in the Autumn Internationals, with Dave Felton dropping to
the bench - one of five forwards who also include lock Nick
Campbell. Dudley and Mark Foster are the replacement backs.
Alex Rae (capt)
Tom Fidler, Dave Felton, Nick Selway, Nick Campbell, James Voss, Joel Dudley, Mark Foster
The two sides met at St Peter on the middle Saturday of September 2012, both having lost their opening two Championship games. After Matt Evans of Cornish Pirates scored a hat-trick at St Peter on the opening day of the season, Charlie Hayter emulated him. His first try came after just six minutes, and the second shortly before half-time helped the visitors to a 12-24 lead, Jersey's points coming from tries by Donovan Sanders and Glenn Bryce (below) and a Ross Broadfoot conversion.
The second half was a scoreless affair until forwards Ethan Waller and Buster Lawrence set up Hayter for his final try in the last minute. Ollie Thomas's conversion took his day's tally to 16 points and completed a 12-31 win. More details can be found HERE.
On the first Saturday of 2013, Jersey made their first
appearance at Billesley Common, which after warnings of frozen
wastes was surprisingly mild. Charlie hayter had only scored one
league try since his hat-trick on Jersey, but he was at it again
here, scoring his side's first try. Mose led 13-6 at the break and
23-9 on the hour, looking set for a bonus point win, but Jersey did
well to claw it back to a 4-1 split of match points with tries from
Nicky Griffiths and Nathan Hannay helping the scoreline to a
respectable 23-19. Match report is HERE
History of Moseley Rugby Club
Havelock FC were founded in 1873/74 and renamed Moseley FC the following season when the club first wore the red-and-black kit, a colour scheme that persists to this day.
In the 1880s Moseley took up residence at the Reddings, defeated the touring New Zealand Maoris and had their first England cap JH Rogers. Moseley Wanderers represented Great Britain in rugby in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, losing to gold medallists France in their only game.
Moseley were one of the pre-eminent clubs in England, with a
healthy crop of internationals ranging from JF Byrne (13 England
caps + 4 for the Lions) in the 1890s to Peter Robbins (19) and
England captain Colin McFadyean (11 + 4) in the '50s and
In the 1970s a raft of players from the club gained England caps including Sam Doble (3) Jan Webster (11) Martin Cooper (11) Barrie Corless (10), Nigel Horton (20) and Keith Fielding (10), and nine Moseley players were in the Midland Counties (West) team that defeated the All Blacks at the Reddings in December 1972.
The most recent England caps from Moseley were Nick Jeavons (14) and Mark Linnett (1) in the 1980s and Mike Teague (27 + 3) during a brief spell away from Gloucester. Many other countries have called on the club's squad; a small selection of these honours includes Scotland (Ian Smith won 25 caps), Namibia (Ryan de la Harpe won 6 caps in 2011) Canada (Al Charron - 76 caps) and even India (the lock Mani Samra - 4 caps).
In 1982 Moseley reached the final of the [national] John Player Cup, sharing the trophy with Gloucester after a 12-all draw, including extra-time. When leagues were first introduced to the English game, Moseley were in Courage League One for four seasons before being relegated from the top flight in 1991. In 21 subsequent seasons they have been largely found at level two, with the exception of three seasons at level three in the mid-noughties.
Relegation in 2003 followed a difficult spell which included administration in 1998 and the sale of the Reddings in 2000. This was followed by five seasons at the University of Birmingham's Bournbrook facility until they moved to their present site at Billesley Common (below) in 2005 after a proposal to relocate to Oxford's Kassam Stadium had been rejected in 2002.
In six seasons back at level two, Moseley's best finish has been 8th in 2008/09, the season in which the club won the EDF Trophy with a 23-18 victory over Leeds. This was followed by three successful attempts to avoid the drop via the now-defunct relegation play-offs.
Last season Moseley managed to pull clear of relegation trouble in the latter half of the season, eventually finishing 10th with 33 points, two ahead of Jersey (both sides achieved six wins).
Moseley have ambitious plans to redevelop Billesley Common and to build on the club's status as the leading-ranked side in England's second city, and work is set to commence in summer 2014.
The former Irish international Kevin Maggs - a Bristolian whose
grandpa came from Limerick - arrived at Billesley Common in summer
2010 in a Player-Coaching role. The playing side of the role went
unfulfilled, but his coaching abilities were quickly evident and 12
months later he was promoted to Head Coach, overseeing a season in
which Moseley finished 10th in the league before comfortably
avoiding relegation through finishing top of the 'trapdoor league'
ahead of Plymouth, London Scots and Esher.
The forwards are coached by former Scotland (and Dings) prop David Hilton, who was an occasional replacement when the need arose last season, in spite of being in his 43rd year
The well-travelled former Jersey DoR Ben Harvey played a season at Moseley in 2000-01, making 19 appearances and scoring 181 points, as well as earning the nickname 'suave'. His colleagues included hooker Adam Caves, who has been at Moseley since 1999 with the exception of one season at Gloucester in 2002/03. Harvey also played alongside Kevin Maggs for Bristol in the mid 1990s.
Moseley have relaunched their website in recent weeks, with
plenty of info about all aspects of the club, including this
season's results and the players who will be facing Jersey - see HERE
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jerse v Mose through the following channels:
Preview on BBC Radio Jersey on Friday from 5.30pm, and live commentary on Saturday evening (available online and on your transistor-wireless device).
Preview in Friday's JEP and full match coverage on Monday
Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby forum
Reports and match action, festive scheduling permitting, on Channel TV online and on Monday evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at 6.30pm
The Greene King IPA Championship this
Round 11 is an untidy affair thanks to the festive season and the host clubs' scheduling preferences. This Saturday Ealing host Bristol at 3pm while Sky will screen London Welsh v London Scottish at 5pm.
There are two Boxing Day (that's Thursday, for those who struggle to keep track at this time of year) fixtures - Pirates hosting Plymouth and Bedford travelling to Rotherham, and Round 11 concludes on Saturday 28th with Leeds hosting Nottingham at 2pm, an hour before Round 12 commences with Bristol v Moseley. Jersey's next league action won't be until Saturday January 4th when leaders London Welsh visit St Peter.
No other local rugby to tell you about in Jersey, other than, we hope, the traditional Boxing Day match at St Peter - set to be a 'turn up with your boots' affair. It just remains to wish all preview readers a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014.
Enjoy your festive rugby!