Orrell. . .9
AT THIS stage in the season, the glow of anticipation burns brightest at those clubs aspiring to win League titles. Moseley, relegated last season, are seeking an immediate return to the First Division, while Orrell are hoping to succeed where they have so narrowly failed in recent years. Flash new strips apart, Moseley can take considerably more comfort from this game than their opponents, who were admittedly missing every one of their first-choice front- five forwards. But then Moseley were also without Mike Teague and Phil Blakeway, who are nursing leg injuries.
Moseley's biggest problem will be to find backs good enough to finish off the work of what appears to be an exceptionally fine pack. After a first half of almost constant pressure, Moseley were a mere five points ahead through a try by Dave Parry, a flanker whose tenacity and speed are ample compensations for his lack of inches. Within four minutes of the start of the second half, Parry was at Bob Massey's elbow to set up a try for Bruce Fenley.
Moseley's pack, splendidly marshalled by the ageless Peter Shillingford, would certainly not look out of place in the First Division. They stripped Orrell to the bone in the line-out where Steve Lloyd was untouchable during a first half in which Moseley finished 18-7 ahead. Orrell's failure in this department was not entirely the fault of their jumpers. Paul Stokes, pressed into service as Orrell's third-choice hooker, should certainly not give up his day job as a prop. Throwing-in is not his strongest suit and even hooking proved to be a problem. He conceded two strikes against the head, and generally had a most uncomfortable afternoon.
The same could also be said of Paul Ashurst, Orrell's apparently indestructible flanker who ran into Shillingford's withering tackle in the first half and, although he battled on bravely for a while, was eventually forced to leave the field. Another of Orrell's first-choice forwards gone, leaving only Paul Manley and Shaun Gallagher to attempt to keep the ship afloat.
Their back row, fast and creative, are well-suited to the new laws but until they find a midfield combination with similar qualities they are unlikely to get full value for the excellence of the work done up front.
Andy Houston at fly-half played with composure dropping a goal and kicking a penalty and Dave Hanson was the sharpest of the outside backs. It was an obstruction on him a couple of yards from the Orrell line which led to Parry's first-half try.
Orrell's inability to construct anything worthwhile behind the scrum was even more disturbing than their shortcomings up front given that, in all but two positions, they fielded first-choice players. They could muster only three penalties, all of them kicked by Gerry Ainscough and, had Moseley enjoyed the same success - they missed a total of six kicks at goal - the margin of their victory would have been a more accurate reflection of the difference in quality between the sides.
Moseley: J Reed-Daunter; D Spiller, I Bancroft, B Massey, D Hanson; A Houston, B Fenley; M Linnett, D Ball, P Mitchell, C Raymond, S Lloyd, N Martin, D Parry, P Shillingford (capt).
Orrell: S Taberner (capt); C Bibby, S Langford, G Ainscough, P Halsall; M Strett, G Povall; D Sandford, B Stokes, M Ridehalgh, S Bibby, C Brierley, N Ashurst (P Winstanley, 21 min), P Manley, S Gallagher.
Referee: B Campsall (Yorkshire).
Scores: Houston (drop, 18 min) 3-0, Parry (try, 25 min) 8-0, Ainscough (pen, 29 min) 8-3, Fenley/Houston (try/con, 44 min) 15-3, Ainscough (pen, 58 min) 15-6, Houston (pen, 65 min) 18-6, Ainscough (pen, 67 min) 18-9.Reuse content