MATCH REPORT: Birmingham Moseley vs Rosslyn Park

Birmingham Moseley 32-33 ROSSLYN PARK

SATURDAY 13TH JANUARY

By RHYS STRATTON

The 1st XV saw off a late comeback attempt to secure the bonus point win in Birmingham on Saturday.

After a cagey opening 10 minutes, a penalty at the breakdown allowed Moseley to make their way into the final third for the first time. They spent some time knocking on the door before finally breaking through the stout Park defence and scoring through winger Aquile Smith.

The Moseley lead didn’t last long, however and Park answered back thanks to a combination of Archie Hosking, Josh Bragman and Luc Smith who showed off some slick handling to create the space for Benji Marfo to finish out wide. Less than 10 minutes later, Marfo got a second try as he was tasked with cleaning up a broken play in midfield. When a loose pass hit the deck during some phase play just inside the Moseley half, it was scooped up by Marfo who made something out of nothing by shooting through a gap in the line and beating three defenders on his way to the posts.

A scrappy period followed as both teams were guilty of some loose play in the middle of the pitch and neither able to sustain an attack, but the hosts were eventually able to take advantage when Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley made a break down the right-hand side before popping the ball to Danny Eite for a well-worked try. Then, with the clock ticking down at the end of the half, a clever Bragman chip in behind was carried back over the Moseley line, resulting in a 5m Park scrum. Moseley initially do well to hold Park out, but the pressure tells and forces them to concede a succession of penalties on their own line. With a warning from the referee and a yellow card looming, the brave Moseley goal-line stand eventually gave out and a flat pass across the face of the defence found Marfo out wide who coolly finished in the corner, securing a first half hattrick.

The second half started promisingly, and Marfo almost added to his tally when he shot up out of the line and cut out a looping miss pass that was sailing over his head. The red hot winger would have surely converted the chance into points with nothing but green grass in front of him, but a late whistle by the referee pulled play back for an earlier offside infringement. When a second penalty in favour of the hosts quickly followed, play moved into the Park final third where Moseley took advantage of the opportunity by scoring through Ryan Roach from the back of a driving maul.

Not long after, Park answered back with a classy score through Jasper Cameron as the hooker hit an excellent line and burst through the defence before coolly dummying the Moseley fullback and dotting down. The now two score Park lead was cut down to just 2-points when Moseley bundled the ball across the line seconds after what looked to be a try-saving intervention from Luc Smith had momentarily prevented a score. However, less than 10 minutes later, a Moseley clearing kick sailed straight into touch from outside their 22 and provided a platform for Park to run a strike move that sent Jordan Martin barrelling into the Moseley defence to suck in multiple defenders. Ewan Fenley quickly took advantage of the now retreating Moseley team as he weaved between three would-be tacklers to dive over and re-establish the two-score lead.

A frantic final five minutes saw Moseley pull three points back from the boot of Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley before an unfortunate yellow card for Martin reduced Park to 14 men. Then, another late penalty allowed he hosts to head into the corner in the 80th minute and set up one last driving maul. Despite a tremendous effort from the Park pack, the maul was just about able to cross over and Roach completed his hat-trick. Thankfully, a missed conversion from out wide with the clock in the red meant Park held on for a memorable victory that had raised the heart rate and moistened the palms of everyone in attendance.

Referee: Matthew Sharpe

BIRMINGHAM MOSELEY

Tries: Smith (12’), Eite (34’), Roach (44’, 57’, 80’)
Conversions: Maxwell-Whiteley (35’, 58’)
Penalties: Maxwell-Whiteley (78’)
Yellow Cards; N/A

Team: Foreman, Roach, Langley, Allen, Eite, Morris, Safe, Stedman, Jolly, Maxwell-Whiteley, Bulumakau, McNulty, Allsopp, Smith, Pointon

Replacements: Holsey, Priest, Zindi, Painter, Brough

ROSSLYN PARK

Tries: Marfo (17’, 25’, 40’), Cameron (48’), Fenley (67’)
Conversions: Bragman (18’, 26’, 49’, 68’)
Penalties: N/A
Yellow Cards: Martin (77’)

Team: Cade, Cameron, Hay, Stevenson, Spencer, Martin, Hosking, Bolwell, Fenley, Bragman, Marfo, Gordon, Manihera, Walker, L. Smith

Replacements: Miller, Pieterse, Garvey, Baldwin, J. Smith

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Blackheath 27 – 29 Leicester Lions
Cinderford 24 – 23 Darlington Mowden Park
Plymouth Albion 39 – 23 Bishop’s Stortford
Rams 28 – 7 Sedgley Park
Richmond 22 – 21 Taunton Titans
Sale FC 10 – 47 Chinnor

The first full week of National One rugby in 2024 saw Leicester and the league leaders, Chinnor join Park as the only sides to win away from home as they defeated Blackheath and Sale respectively. Elsewhere, Plymouth, Rams, Richmond and Cinderford all picked up home victories with the latter the only one of the four not to come away with a bonus point.

Up Next for Park is a heavyweight clash at The Rock against 2nd place Rams, tickets are on sale here.