Rugby Union: Moseley run down

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The Independent Online
Moseley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Gloucester. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

ONCE upon a time this fixture between two of England's most respected clubs would have banished the festive torpor from all but the most indolent. That was in the days before league rugby separated the wheat from the chaff. Sadly, these days Moseley are chaff, having been blown out of the First Division and struggling vainly now to keep up appearances in the Second.

There are precious few links between the clubs nowadays and one of the few, Mike Teague, was missing, having made a diplomatic withdrawal, apparently for fear of reprisals. But Gloucester took their revenge in other ways, mostly through the staggering ineptitude of their opponents.

The first try of the new year at the Reddings, will, one can only hope for Moseley's health and prosperity in the coming months, be the last of its kind. It was pure farce. Ashley Johnson kicked deep up to the Moseley line where Chris Dossett and Dave Hanson made the most almighty hash of a quick throw- in and Mark Nicholson, loitering nearby with no intent whatsoever, scored the simplest try of his career. Tim Smith converted and also kicked two penalties in a first half of dismal quality.

This was the kind of game which gives the new laws a bad name. It is much easier to organise a defence than it is to teach the skills to break it down and neither side had the class behind the scrum to breach the defensive barriers. Moseley did at least contrive to give Leroy McKenzie, their most penetrative player, a couple of runs on the left wing. But with Martin Bright and Steve Lloyd in commanding form at the line-out, Moseley could have made much more effective use of his talents, especially when he was pitted against Nicholson's replacement, Marcus Hannaford, who is hardly the swiftest of movers these days.

Gloucester, who showed little stomach for the game and who had found it hard enough coming down the slope in the first half, laboured even more in the second and had it not been for the wretchedness of Moseley's goal-kicking - Mike Hamlin missed with three attempts and Andy Houston with one - then they would have found it more difficult to protect their lead. That they did so with such careless indifference and even managed to extend it with a barging try late in the game by their lock Peter Miles, was a measure of how low Moseley have sunk.

Moseley: Penalty Hamlin. Gloucester: Tries Nicholson, Miles; Conversions Smith 2; Penalties Smith 2.

Moseley: C Dossett; D Hanson, A Houston, J Bonney, L McKenzie; M Hamlin, R Moon; M Linnett, D Ball, R Wareham, S Lloyd, M Bright, C Raymond, M Ord, P Shillingford (capt).

Gloucester: T Smith (capt); J Wootton, D Cummins, D Caskie, M Nicholson; A Johnson, B Fenley; T Windo, J Hawker, A Deacon, P Miles, S Devereux, P Ashmead, P Glanville, R Baxter.

Referee: S Womersley (East Midlands)