MOSELEY 23 BEDFORD BLUES 26
There is a very strong possibility that Moseley’s National One future will be decided by bonus points and after consolidating their position at the top of the loss bonus table, they are almost guaranteed to have enough.
Yet another narrow reverse brought them their eighth of the season – the next best is six – and just as they were on those previous seven occasions they were left wondering if they should have taken more.
Particularly because there is an even greater likelihood that the relegation picture will be determined first and foremost by wins and in that respect Ian Smith’s men are coming up short time and time again. They will probably need three more.
In that regard Leeds were allowed to slip the noose, Esher escaped what would have been a hugely damaging defeat and now Bedford have snatched success from the jaws of failure twice against the Billesley outfit.
For Moseley this was not as painful an experience as the one they endured at Goldington Road when Rory McKay scored in the dying seconds to win 17-15.But it was unpleasant nonetheless, particularly given the manner of the decisive try.
That came ten minutes from the end and as a result of a passage of play that was as sloppy from the hosts as it was impudent from Blues’ outstanding scrum half Karl Dickson.
Ollie Thomas, on as a half-time replacement for Nathan Bressington who picked up an uncomfortable looking pelvic injury, cleared to touch and as Mose dozed Dickson took a quick throw- in to himself and raced 40 metres unchallenged to the line.
James Pritchard converted and after leading for most of the match the Red and Blacks were behind for good.
Not that Smith was convinced with the rectitude of the score. “I think it was an illegal try,” the head coach lamented.
“The ball did not go the full five metres.
“The ref had a good game but he had to look at his touch judge for guidance, which did not come. The assessor said afterwards it shouldn’t have been allowed. Should we have done more anyway? Terry Sigley was injured and the boys were waiting to come into the lineout. Suddenly the game was moving before we were ready.”
Had the lineout been allowed to form Moseley would have had as much chance of stealing the Bedford throw as they would have had of retaining their own.
That is to say a set-piece that for many years has been their strength is not functioning well at the moment.
Three throws were snaffled by Carnegie last week and at least as many again on Saturday. Had the visitors contested more often it would have been more.
Hampered by their lack of precision in the airways Moseley spent the entire second half on the defensive. That they only conceded twice was something of a moral victory. Whenever Bedford allowed them the ball they either dropped it, were penalised or more often box-kicked it straight back to a dangerous back three.
As a result the in-form backs cordon of Andy Reay, Jack Adams and Dan Norton were not in the game after the restart, in an offensive capacity at least.
Which is a shame because they’d looked sharp in the opening period.
Bressington was on the scoresheet inside three minutes when he finished off his own incisive break and Tristan Roberts landed a steepling touchline conversion. Reay missed Ollie Dodge five minutes later and allowed the wing to stretch over but with Roberts kicking well for position and the home pack well on top the young fly half kicked two penalties. Another defensive lapse, with Richard Stott letting Brendan Burke slip past him, made it 14-13 to the visitors although James Rodwell rounded off the half by sniping over from a lineout.
The second period produced a single Thomas penalty although the full back missed a second effort with six to go. Had that gone over Mose would have had two points instead of yet another unwanted loss bonus.
MOSELEY: Binns; Bressington (Thomas, 40), Adams, Reay, Norton; Roberts, Taylor; N Williams, Caves, Sigley, Muldowney, Stott (Arnold, 62), Mason (D Williams, 62), Bignell (Whitney, 77), Rodwell. Replacements: Davis, Oselton, Vasey.
BEDFORD: Pritchard; Owen, Burke (Harries 40), Vass, Dodge; Twelvetrees, Dickson; Cecere (Walsh 49), Richmond, Boulton, Howard, Botha, Gillanders, Harding, Tupai (McKay 21-26). Replacements: Locke, Hoy, Chudley, Davies
Referee: David Rose (RFU)