MOSELEY 50 PLYMOUTH ALBION 32
Having eked out a more than nutritious existence on scraps for several weeks, Moseley are relishing their place at their end-of-season banquet.
Ian Smith’s men continued to gorge themselves with seven tries to add to the seven they foraged at Manchester last Saturday and in doing so crept one place further up the National One table.
Playing like this they continue to make a mockery out of the notion their place in next season’s Championship was ever under threat, though whether they can recreate the fluidity of this performance against London Welsh in three days’ time is another issue entirely.
That won’t matter a jot to the hordes who sent them on their way at ‘Chillesley Common’ last night and in doing so bade farewell to one of the most loyal servants in recent club history.
Sadly the evening didn’t bring a try in the final home game of the season for stalwart Andy Binns.
After 15 years of dedicated service, the full back has two games left in his distinguished Moseley career – both away from home.
A couple of assists aside, the 32-year-old had to be content with leading the team out and a standing ovation as he hobbled from the pitch after an hour.
There were also last appearances on familiar turf for Paul Arnold, whose assist for Andy Reay’s try was as adroit as anything on show in a high-octane evening where attack dominated defence.
And Jack Adams and Dan Norton are off to Bristol next term where the latter will hope the former is not as deaf to his call for the ball in space as he was yesterday. Adams played well but he didn’t allow Norton to do likewise.
He also missed a tackle or two but it would be churlish to focus on the negative when, despite the cold, there was a festival atmosphere down Windy Alley.
With the EDF Energy National Trophy already in the bag and a top-half finish beckoning, these are rarefied days.
Moseley are operating like a well-oiled machine at present and it seems not even metal fatigue thrusts a spanner into the works.
It took them all of three minutes to open the scoring, courtesy of a Tristan Roberts penalty following burst up the middle from Terry Sigley, and they spent the rest of the first half looking as though they could add to their total whenever they had the ball.
That is not to say their guests lay down. Far from it, in the considerable shape of Justin Mensah-Coker they had a carrier of enviable size and speed and the burly wing caused Moseley considerable problems.
But not as many as the hosts’ adventure and ambition posed. Adams scored the first of his two tries on eight minutes, following Gareth Taylor’s tapped penalty, which was well supported by Binns and Neil Mason.
Seconds later, though, Mensah-Coker burst through Adams’ tackle and released Scott Ireland to arc over for 10-5.
Not much longer after that Mose were back in the ascendancy as Binns put Nathan Bressington over in the corner. Roberts converted for a second time.
Albion fought back with 13 points, including a bizarre penalty try but James Rodwell had brought his enormous physical skills to bear on the occasion.
The No 8 found room to score out wide in the 27th minute and once again in the 40th. Leading 29-18 at the break, the hosts were well in control.
And they stayed their for the duration of the second, despite the fact Liam Gibson made Norton pay for a hideous knock on inside his own 22 from the resulting scrum.
Adams grabbed his second in the 48th minute when he chased down his own kick through and then four minutes later Mason was shunted over from a driven lineout.
Gibson grabbed his second on the hour by breaking through some weak tackling but the final word went to Smith’s lads.
The lesser-spotted Richard Vasey, on for Roberts who finished the evening with 15 kicked points, opened up Arnold’s route to the posts and just as the lock was downed out came a magnificent pass to Reay who strolled over. A fitting end to an enjoyable evening.
MOSELEY: Binns (Thomas, 64); Bressington, Adams, Reay, Norton; Roberts (Vasey, 60), Taylor; Williams (Y Thomas, 56), Caves (Oselton, 62), Sigley, Muldowney, Stott (Arnold, 56), Mason (Evans, 56), Bignell (Whitney, 62), Rodwell.
PLYMOUTH: Ireland; Gibson, Cruickshanks, Allan (Ritchie, 62) Mensah-Coker (Jarvis, 60); Laidlaw, Newman (Nicholls, 73), Rice, Owen, Hopkins, Stewart, Brenton, Stephen (Denbee, 40) Sprangle, Marriott (King, 46). Replacements: Du Toit, Salter.
Referee: Richard Kelly (RFU).