Moseley 8

Rotherham Titans 36

Of all of Moseley's six defeats this season, this one was perhaps themost disturbing, one that will set Kevin Maggs' nerves jangling morethan the others and not just because it was against his former team.

The fact it came at home, against a side deprived by illness of its captain and front-line goal-kicker is of considerable cause for concern and the fact that this week they couldn't point to a lack of effort or interest doubly so.

In a strange way Moseley have been able to take succour in the first two months of campaign from the way they have allowed opponents to prosper simply by not working hard enough.

At Doncaster, London Scottish and Leeds they showed themselves capable of coming back when they put their collective foot down and in doing so were able to explain away their failings as merely commitment-related.

In that respect this defeat was different. Perhaps for the first time in Kevin Maggs' embryonic reign they were basically found out to be not good enough on the day.

Going up the hill and into the wind in the first half their intensity was reasonable, not of Twickenham standards admittedly but certainly not as bad as it had been at Castle Park or at Scottish.

They seemed to be doing pretty well too, holding on to the ball and inching their way up the pitch in defiance of gravity.

However, as soon as Rotherham scored the first try in the 24th minute, they imploded. All the Titans had to do was run hard and straight and they mowed Moseley down to lead 29-3 at the interval.

That was always going to be at least seven points too many to rein in but everyone at Billesley Common expected a second half onslaught as the conditions blew Mose towards the visitors' line.

But when they tried to step on the gas at the start of the second period there simply was nothing in the tank, they couldn't pull back and the distance between themselves and the redoubtable Titans remained constant. That will alarm Maggs.

Of course Moseley have shown themselves in recent seasons to be masters at turning negatives into positives, of coming back when the odds are seemingly insurmountable.

There was a sense of growing urgency in the Billesley Common clubhouse after the game and it would be surprising if Maggs doesn't swing his axe. One or two of Saturday's side might find themselves confined to British & Irish Cup duty, or even complete inactivity, for the rest of the season.

It will be interesting then to see whether there is any headroom in his budget, a la the Scottish Exiles who brought two Argentina internationals to the Athletic Ground last week. How Moseley would love to be able to do something similar.

For the moment Maggs must find the forwards to live with Plymouth on Friday night. Mike Ellery should be fit to return and the prospect of the young No. 8 in the back row with Chevvy Pennycook and Neil Mason is mouthwatering.

It is the tight five that needs most attention though. Maggs has some decent options at lock but the front row and therefore the scrum, remains a genuine concern. What he needs is a tighthead capable of competing for 80 minutes and not just the second 40.

Find that and Moseley could yet mount the most spirited of rearguard actions, find it not and Billesley Common could be set for a winter of discontent.

MOSELEY: Carter; Robinson, King (MacBurnie 65), Reay, Gillick; Davies, Brown (De La Harpe 52); Warren (Gadd 53), Caves, Quigley (O'Donnell 40), Lyons, Stott (Spivey 40), Mason, Maltman (Harper 40), Pennycook (Thomas 70).

ROTHERHAM: Foden; Tellwright, Brierley, Nonu, Monahan; Hodgson, Rhodes (Williams 70); Kilbane (Cahill 72), Baines (Stagg 61), O'Donnell (Noonan 70), Maddison (Hooper 65), Griffiths, Copeland, Kirwan, Taulava. Replacements: Dougall, Law