A third postponement in six matches has left Moseley facing the unusual – and unwelcome – prospect of having to play a midweek fixture to complete their National One programme.
The Billesley outfit travelled all the way to Otley on Saturday, only to discover a mere 15 minutes before the original 2pm kick-off time that a frozen pitch meant their journey had been for nothing.
It was the second consecutive week, and third time in the past month, Ian Smith’s men have been left without a game following the postponement of the visit from Exeter Chiefs on January 3 and the loss of their match at London Welsh before Christmas.
That unfortunate sequence of events has left Moseley wondering how they are going fit in their back-log and still finish the season with the rest of the division on April 25.
Much will depend on how they – and Otley, Exeter and Welsh – fare in the EDF Energy National Trophy which begins next weekend. The fact all three are at home to lower ranked opposition does nothing to help a scenario that could leave Mose having to play in midweek.
The most likely opponent would be Exeter. Neither Otley nor Welsh are expected to reach the final of the knockout competition and could probably be accommodated on ‘cup weekends’, assuming Moseley are themselves eliminated.
But, draw-permitting, the Chiefs, high-flying in the First Division, have hopes of making it all the way to Twickenham and that would leave them with no free Saturdays between now and the proposed end of the campaign.
While First Division Rugby Ltd are due to meet this week when they will discuss the recent spate of cancellations, Moseley head coach Smith is left pondering how to squeeze at least 14 games into the next three months.
“It is looking as though we will have to play in midweek,” said Smith. “In terms of preparation we could manage it but it playing three times in the space of seven days is far from ideal physically and mentally.”
Smith was far from pleased with the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s postponement. Moseley were unable to make contact with anyone at Otley until midday, by which time they had already set off.
“This problem should have been anticipated and the responsibility for that lies with the home team,” he said.
“We made sure of that last week. We decided we would leave it until 9am on Saturday when we took the decision to call it off. That meant Exeter did not have to travel.
“We all knew this week it was going to be minus four on Friday night. On Thursday we sent an email to their chairman [Paul Jaques] outlining we must be informed by the time we leave at 9am on Saturday. They sent one back claiming that would be done but we did not hear from them again.
“The effort that we made with Exeter the week before was not bought into by Otley.”