Rugby Union: Beal breakaway halts Moseley's rise

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The Independent Online
Northampton. . . . . . . . . .8

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MOSELEY, sixth in the Second Division, may have some catching up to do before they join their Midlands rivals Northampton in the mainstream, but no one can accuse them of not preparing the way. Precisely the opposite, in fact.

Rumblings were guaranteed last week when two more Gloucester players hopped on the bandwagon leaving Kingsholm, which had begun to roll in the close season when Moseley took Mike Teague on board, and Richard Angell, the Midlands stand-off, was signed from Coventry.

Moseley, not alone in trying to improve their status, of course have the answers to criticism, not to mention cynicism. 'We are certainly not paying them,' Alwyn Evans, chairman of the club's playing committee, said. Meanwhile, Alex Keay, the former flanker who arrived via Saracens and Blackheath to take up the role of director of playing, says it is Gloucester who need to sharpen up their own act.

While Gloucester are now just getting around to advertising for a paid administrator, Keay said: 'They've got internal problems so there's no point in blaming everyone else. Teague no doubt created something of a domino effect here. But we're close to Gloucester, just 45 minutes up the motorway. We are getting our act together and what Teague's arrival says is that you can play at Moseley and play for England.'

Moseley took the drop the season before last, but there is no rush to emulate Northampton, who have risen through the ranks and reminded their visitors on Saturday what it will take to get past them when the pair meet again at Franklin's Gardens in a Pilkington Cup quarter-final at the end of next month.

'The realism is,' Keay said, 'that when you go down you've got to stabilise. You have got to bottom out. You don't start to say we are going to bounce straight back because it does not happen. But we've got a good spirit going.'

Now he is looking for the backs to complement a competitive pack. As the Saints - albeit minus Shelford, Rodber, Olver and Pearce - found, Moseley are certainly a forward force and it took a breakaway try from Nick Beal in the second half to settle the issue after penalties by Jim Reed-Daunter had given Moseley the edge.

Even then, a flag-waving touch judge had to be overruled before Rob MacNaughton's interception allowed Beal his gallop to the line. Keay was not amused, though he said: 'My first priority at the moment is Waterloo in the next league game.'

Northampton: Try Beal. Penalty Steele. Moseley: Penalties Reed-Daunter 2.

Northampton: J Ward; N Beal, F Packman, R MacNaughton, H Thorneycroft; J Steele (capt), M Dawson; G Baldwin, P Roworth, C Allen, J Etheridge, J Phillips, M Ord, D Merlin, R Tebbutt.

Moseley: J Reed-Daunter; S Purdy, I Bancroft, J Bonney, G Bartlett (D Hanson, h/t); A Kerr, B Fenley; M Linnett, D Ball, N Lyman, C Raymond, S Lloyd, B Barr (capt), W Hart, D Parry.

Referee: J Coulson (Northumberland).