Moseley v Bedford Blues
Bedford slipped to their 11th defeat of their unhappy Championship season and lost at Billesley Common for the first time in nearly eight years. Not since September 2006 have Blues left Birmingham without the spoils but in truth they were never in control of the game. Tries from Paul Tupai and Pat Tapley were all they had to show for their efforts against a redoubtable home team that has not lost at Billesley Common in three months.
The Moseley scrum set their stall out early as Nic Auterac and Phil Boulton struggled for parity and even though the Blues mauling game was good, it wasn’t decisive.
However, up the hill in the first half Bedford restricted Moseley to just three Ollie Thomas penalties.
The fly half ended the game with five from seven attempts and a mixed bag tactically. Opposite number Jake Sharp shared the tactical mixed-bag side of that equation but crucially landed only one of his four shots.
The only try of the half went to Blues who smuggled Tupai over the line as they used their maul to counteract the home scrum.
Thomas gave his side an ideal start when he struck an eighth minute penalty won by the forwards as they picked their way up to the 22.
Midway through the half the home side leaked a series of penalties which Bedford opted to punt to the corner.
After a long spell of sustained pressure lock Tupai rode his way to the line to make it 5-3.
A quarter of an hour before the break Thomas was presented with another three points after Tupai went into the side of a maul. The 30-year-old missed his third attempt from 49m but atoned seconds later when Sacha Harding failed to roll away.
With a 9-5 lead and on the front foot Kevin Maggs’s men looked to press home their supremacy - but instead gifted a numerical advantage to the visitors when Will Evans was yellow carded for punching.
But it didn’t seem to affect them that much and the only score during the sin bin came early in the second half through Thomas’s fourth penalty.
Sharp finally found his bearings in the 46th minute as Moseley were pinged for holding on and made it 12-8.
And the Goldington Road side hit the front five minutes later as classy centre Mark Atkinson sneaked down the short-side committed two defenders and gave winger Tapley an unopposed run in. Sharp missed the extras.
In previous years that 13-12 lead would have been enough for the Mike Rayer’s side to seize the initiative.
Instead Moseley battled their way back up the pitch and on the hour they replied through Will Owen, as Mike Powell flipped the ball off the ground to the centre who went under the sticks. Thomas’s conversion made it 19-13.
And with 15 minutes remaining Thomas lifted an injudicious kick to the left wing where Matt Williams bailed him out by leaping between two defenders to score. Blues could not respond.
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