NATIONAL ONE: Moseley 48 Manchester 7
That Moseley spent the final quarter of this match with a flanker and a full back on their wings yet still won by more than 40 points says much about the disparity between these two teams.
Ostensibly Moseley and Manchester dangle at the same end of the National One food chain. Neither are full time and the only exit door currently available to either club is the one that points south and the one the Mancunians are surely destined to use at the end of this season.
However, they operated in different stratospheres for 80 minutes on Saturday as a half decent performance from Ian Smith’s men, they were decent for the second half and pretty ordinary for the first, was enough to put considerable amounts of clear water between themselves and their visitors.
Seven tries and a superb place-kicking performance from Richard Vasey, four successes from five attempts was reminiscent of his early season form, were just two of the many positives to come from the biggest win of the campaign.
But it was a virtuoso display from dual registered Kingsholm kiddie Henry Trinder that stole the show. With three tries and an assist the 19-year-old sparkled against opponents who couldn’t get near him.
While the England Under-20 glided across the Billesley turf apparently without touching it, Manchester gave chase as if clad in diving boots.
His first two scores came from well over 50 metres apiece courtesy of his searing pace, while his third followed a beautifully run line that took him through a defence that had long since waved the white flag.
There was also a deliciously timed pass that released Tristan Roberts for a try and a stunning kick chase that caught visiting full back Joseph Knowles dallying with his clearance and produced a penalty for his team with the game still at its formative stages.
Moseley will, nevertheless, reflect that this victory should have been even bigger having spent the opening period reliant on their guests’ mistakes as a source of points. There were plenty off them too, mistakes that is not points.
The first try came courtesy of a total howler from Gareth Wynne who was caught in his own 22 by Nathan Bressington and instead of taking the ball into touch threw it over Knowles’ head. Vasey had followed his own kick with sufficient enthusiasm to fall on the easiest try of his career.
The next one came via a knock on in Mose territory which Trinder scooped up and scoched his way to the try-line. It was as though Manchester were doing everything they could to hand their hosts the victory.
Up by 15-0 at the break Moseley had not played especially well. What has been improved in recent weeks is Moseley’s defence. When head coach Iam Smith says they’ve have spent a lot of time on it he does not mean the tackling practice they enjoyed at Leeds.
It was too forceful for Manchester who had no idea how to break through and before long ended up fumbling away most of the decent possession they garnered. The one try they scored was about all they deserved for turning up.
Having stumbled over their lines a bit in the first 40, though, Smith’s men burst out of the blocks in the second. Three tries in less than a quarter of an hour ended the game as a contest.
Roberts scooted away, Trinder slashed down a corridor no more than 5 metres wide for his second and Paul Arnold cut an outstanding angle to take Vasey’s pop pass over the line.
Neil Mason bundled his way over and then Trinder sliced through at the end to complete the rout.
Not even the loss of skipper Andy Reay and Bressington, both to non-serious neck injuries, could hinder Moseley’s progress. Both are expected to be fit for the rather more testing trip to London Welsh next Saturday.
MOSELEY: Thomas; Roberts, Trinder, Reay (D Williams, 53), Bressington (Binns, 30); Vasey, Pasqualin (Taylor, 48); N Williams (Buxton, 66), Caves (Oselton, 66), Davis (Arnold, 48), Muldowney, Stott, Mason,. Bignell (Whitney, 48), Evans.
MANCHESTER: Knowles; Wynne (Coulbeck, 40), Wilson, Rawlings (Parrott ,40), Irlam; Wainwright (Eaton, 48), Runciman; Birchall (Collier, 65), Oxley (Gould, 65), Flynn (Mantell, 32; Owen, 35), Ralph, Norris, Lloyd, Dew, Moss.
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint Roberts (RFU).