On the 11th Day of Christmas*, ma' true lahv sent to
10 crapauds clapping
(Number) 9 bus on match-days
A gallon of Liberation
Seven Thompson tackles
Six runs by Dawson
Five Ben Har-veys
Three Booj kicks
Two Nathan beards
And a league win away at Mose-ley
There may be uncertainty over whether Christmas decorations have
to come down on Saturday or Sunday this weekend (*see 'And Finally'
below) but there's little doubt that one of two unwanted records
will be packed away around the same time.
At Billesley Common this Saturday, either Jersey will taste league
success on the road for the first time this season, or Moseley will
finally claim their first home Championship win. Unless it's a draw
Moseley's record as the host who gives away the most, and
Jersey's tendency to leave for home empty-handed, aren't the only
factors making this a compelling encounter. There's the league
table of course, with both sides jostling for position in the
Championship basement after 12 of the 22 rounds, along with
Doncaster and London Scottish. And if I go any longer without
mentioning Ben Evans, I think I might explode...
This Saturday's game will mark exactly one month since it was
confirmed that Jersey's Player-Coach would be leaving the club
after 18 months at St Peter. Within a fortnight he'd been snapped
up by Moseley, which was hardly a surprise given the Birmingham
club's troubles in the scrum this season, exacerbated by multiple
front-row injuries. An international prop with 27 caps and in some
of the best shape of his life? Available immediately? Get him over
It will be a strange experience on both sides for the Jersey
players to lock horns with the larger-than-life character who
shared the title-winning highs of last season and who cajoled them
through the opening three months of a tough Championship baptism.
But these are professionals, and Jersey's players will want to
prove that they are every bit as professional as the gnarled
Evans played nearly 80 minutes in his Moseley debut at
Nottingham a fortnight ago, helping his side compete defiantly
against one of the division's more potent attacks before losing
18-9. Expect some steely determination from the Welshman while
battle is joined, but also plenty of smiles and humour once the
final whistle blows.
The irrepressible Evans' humour has been in evidence already in
2013, with a New Year's Day Facebook posting of a picture taken
that morning on top of a Welsh mountain. He is wearing just a
wristwatch and walking boots, with his back to camera and arms
raised, a bit like the famous statue in Rio. They're big on
redeemers in Wales, and Moseley supporters will hope Billesley
Common is just close enough to the border to feel some of the
Jersey's players redeemed themselves just in time for Christmas
with a heroic win against Leeds, but their exploits on their muddy
home pitch won't count for anything this Saturday - a New Year
requires a new determination to demonstrate an ability to perform
away from home as well as in their own back-yard.
News from the Jersey camp
Jersey are one of five Championship clubs to have enjoyed a full
fortnight's break from league action over the festive season.
Several English sides have had the festivities curtailed by games
on either Boxing or New Year's Day, while across the border in
Cornwall - where religion plays second-fiddle to rugby - the
Pirates were in action on both days (and picked up a tidy nine
The break won't confer any significant advantage over this
weekend's oppo, as Moseley have also had a 13-day hiatus, but it
does mean the Jersey injury-list is - touch wood - shorter than at
any point in 2012. Back-row men Fred Silcock (knee) Talite Vaioleti
(shoulder) and James Voss (a horrible infection in his arm that saw
him rushed to intensive care three weeks ago) remain sidelined, but
otherwise a full squad resumed training on New Year's Eve, with
everyone ready for action either this weekend or in the final two
rounds of the B&I.
Winger James Copsey is the only change to Jersey's starting XV,
replacing Ashley Maggs.
Jersey have been boosted by the return of young loan players Max
Stelling, the Worcester three-quarter, and hooker Charlie Clare
from Leicester. Harvey hopes to have both players available for the
rest of the season, subject to any injury concerns at their
Stelling, a try-scorer in the 20-17 win over Leeds, starts at
outside-centre against the club where he played mini and colts
rugby. Clare is on the bench alongside two players returning from
long-term injuries: backs Tom Cooper and Ross Broadfoot haven't
featured since September, but are now fit to commence their
comeback in a match environment.
Jersey have yet to register an away win in their first season in
the RFU Championship, losing five matches and gaining just two
bonus points. By the same token, Moseley have under-achieved at
home, registering a draw and four defeats in the league thus
Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
1 Sean McCarthy
2 Dave Felton
3 Jon Brennan
4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Dave Markham
6 Graham Bell
7 Kingsley Lang
8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths
10 Mike Le Bourgeois
11 Ed Dawson
12 Dai Bishop
13 Max Stelling
14 James Copsey
15 Glenn Bryce
16 Richard Barrington
17 Charlie Clare
18 James Gethings
19 Rob Anderson
20 Brendan O'Brien
21 Ross Broadfoot
22 Tom Cooper
The two sides met at St Peter on the middle Saturday of September,
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 (pictured
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.
Moseley in 2012/13
The former Irish international Kevin Maggs - a Bristolian
(pictured below) 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 combined experience of nearly 900 Moseley matches left
Billesley Common last summer as Kevin Maggs oversaw the most
profound change in Red and Black personnel in a decade.
Record appearance holder Richard Stott, former captain Andy Reay
and one-time jewel in the crown Chevvy Pennycook were among more
than a dozen front-liners who moved on.
The pack was particularly well-shuffled with Stott and Pennycook
just two of five forwards to have made more than 50 appearances
before calling time on their Mose careers. That is to say nothing
of last term's leading scorer Michael Ellery, the flying
loose-forward who hurtled his way to nine tries in 38 outings over
two contrasting seasons.
However, Maggs was adamant he has upgraded his squad in most
positions and while many of the replacements are young and hungry,
men like Mike Powell and Simon Hunt have been most places and seen
and done most things.
Former London Welsh, Ospreys and Bridgend lock Powell, 33, was
signed as a particularly important part of 'new' Moseley, bringing
many years' worth of exposure to Heineken Cup, Magners League and
Powell's role of shoring up the front five and mentoring the
club's other, younger second rows, Liam Mather, Buster Lawrence and
Addison Lockley, was an important factor, while he was also made
captain. However injuries have ruined these best-laid plans, with
Powell making just two appearances to date.
Other players to watch out for in Moseley's colours include two
who faced Jersey last season: loose-head Ethan Waller played in
both the games against Coventry and Anders Mogenson was at
Cambridge and scored a try against Jersey in November. Both players
are dual-registered with Northampton, along with scrum-half Alex
Day, and all three appeared in Saints' LV Cup squad in
Back row man Ben Pienaar moved from Leicester Tigers this summer
after making three starts and two substitute appearances last
season. He has been a fixture in Moseley's back row for most of
this season alongside Ben Pons and veteran Neil Mason. The forwards
are coached by former Scotland (and Dings) prop David Hilton, who
has been an occasional replacement when the need has arisen, in
spite of being in his 43rd year.
In the backs, watch out for the dangerous line breaks of Hayter -
although he has added just one league try to the three at St Peter
- and centre partner Brad Hunt, the finishing of Simon Hunt (a
former England Sevens player) and Mogenson on the flanks, and the
kicking of Ollie Thomas.
Moseley tasted success at St Peter in their third game of 2012/13,
which began with a 50-6 loss at Bedford in a game described as 'a
car-crash' in the Birmingham media, followed by a narrow defeat at
home to Nottingham. The opening section of the season continued
with a 22-24 home defeat by Plymouth, a heavy loss to the
high-flying Falcons and a heroic 21-22 win, after trailing for most
of the game, against a stunned Bristol.
The Championship campaign continued with a trio of defeats to the
Yorkshire contingent, a narrow 23-18 reverse at London Scottish and
a 9-9 draw with the Pirates on a wet night at the Common. The most
recent outing was the defeat at Meadow Lane, although there was no
disgrace here given the damage inflicted by Nottingham on the likes
of Bristol (63-7) and Jersey (48-16) this season.
The British & Irish Cup has seen better fortunes for the
Red-and-Blacks, with three wins from four putting them in pole
position to qualify from Pool 6, with 15 points to rivals Gala's
The Moseley squad will be added to this preview once it is
confirmed on Friday morning. In fact you'll need to link to it here
(but yes, HE is playing at number 3!!
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
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
* Two players have started all 12 league games for Moseley so far
this season - Lockley and Simon Hunt.
* Ollie Thomas has landed 24 penalties this season with an 85%
success rate, plus nine conversions (69%). Conversely Jersey's Mike
Le Bourgeois has a better record with conversions (13 at 92%) than
penalties (18 at 64%). Back-up kickers Glyn Hughes and Ross
Broadfoot have scored 31 and 13 league points respectively, with
the latter not having featured for Jersey since September but in
contention to return to the squad.
* Jersey and Moseley are the lowest try scorers in the
Championship this season, with 19 and 16 respectively. Both sides
will be hoping for an above-average return this weekend after Round
12 of the Championship (Dec 22-26) saw just 13 tries in six games,
four of them at St Peter. The previous lowest tally was 23 in Round
* The well-travelled 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. The nearest rival in terms of
longevity for Caves [whose uncle is Mose Team Manager John] is
flanker Neil Mason, now in his eighth season and with around 180
Moseley appearances under his belt.
* Young whipper-snapper Harvey made his Bristol debut in September
1995, joining Kevin Maggs in the side after replacing Kyran Bracken
against a Wasps side (33-5 winners that day) that included Rob
Andrew, Lawrence 'Dayglo', Andy Gomersall and Dean Ryan. Other
names in the Bristol squad that season included Simon Shaw, Garath
Archer, Paul Hull, Jason Keyter, Arwel Thomas and Martin
* Kevin Maggs, David Hilton and Ben Evans have a total of 139
international caps between them.
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Moseley
v Jersey through the following channels:
* Live commentary on BBC Jersey, available online and on your
transistor-wireless device, with the show starting at 2pm, plus
preview on Friday between 5.30 and 6pm
* Match report on Channel 103 soon after the final whistle i.e.
just after 5pm
* Preview in Friday's JEP, and full match coverage on
* Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
The Championship this 'weekend'
New Year's Day - Pirates 32 Bristol 17 - Bristol suffer
first defeat in seven games, and to make matters worse they concede
a late BP try, see Pirates go above them in the table to fourth
place, and could be down to 6th should Leeds defeat Plymouth;
Doncaster 10 Newcastle 28 - Falcons recover their poise after the
near embarrassment against London Scottish before Xmas, although
the going was far from easy against a determined Knights side who
looked like they might be the fifth side to deny Falcons a BP until
the dying minutes. Newcastle stay top, now 17 points clear,
Doncaster 12th just behind Jersey and Moseley.
Saturday - London Scottish v Bedford; Rotherham v
Sunday - Leeds v Plymouth
* I wasn't sure whether January 5th was the 12th Day of Christmas,
or the 11th. Having researched this, I can confirm that this is a
complex matter and there is little agreement on the subject. People
can't even agree whether 12th Night comes before or after the 12th
Day (whenever the 12th Day is). For those wanting to investigate
more, there's always Google. But I wouldn't if I was you... 11
'verses' seemed ample - some might say more than enough - for the
purposes of the ditty used to open this article.
The referee for the Moseley game will be Luke Pearce, whose CV
includes the 2009 Siam Cup encounter between Jersey and Guernsey,
then aged 21. Pearce has since gone on to referee in the Aviva
Premiership and on the IRB Sevens circuit.
Two other games involving Jersey teams this weekend. Banks Ladies
play Harlequins Ladies at Grainville at 1pm on Saturday, having
served up a feast of running rugby on their last outing, a 45-10
trouncing of Tonbridge Juddians in November. On Sunday Jersey Colts
are away to Havant.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.