MATCH REPORT: MOSELEY 31 NEATH 14 – SATURDAY (20-08-2016)

MOSELEY 31 points NEATH 14 points

Neath’s lack of technical discipline cost them dear at Moseley on Saturday when they conceded no fewer than 13 first-half penalties which effectively knocked them out of the contest.

Moseley, with slope and strong wind in their favour, attacked from the start but Neath’s defence held firm before impeccable outside-half Elliot Bale nudged the home side in front after the visitors had conceded a stream of penalties.

The Blacks certainly tested the patience of referee Mr. Parrott who sent prop Ryan Thomas to the sin-bin and Moseley exploited their advantage to strike for two quick tries by wing Drew Cheshire on an under-guarded blind-side and by scrum-half Dave Brazier.

Bale converted both and, with Portuguese-South African No.8 Jacques le Roux always to the fore, Moseley struck for a third try by wing Charlie Baffour for Bale to convert.

24-nil down, Neath were rocked into action and a sweeping three-quarter movement had the Moseley defence in a panic but play was halted when Neath wing Tom Rees suffered a serious knee injury.

Neath started the second-half in positive fashion and a series of line-out drives led to a penalty try which outside-half Iwan Evans goaled.

The Moseley forwards exerted a strong grip in the second-half but Neath countered with a succession of break-outs and one led by full back Ed Howley ought to have resulted in a try at the posts but centre Keiran Williams lost the ball five metres out.

Another try went begging when an attack spearheaded by Howley and replacement outside-half Rory Morgan-Williams saw winger Gareth Morris spill the ball with the line at his mercy.

Neath’s attacking intent earned its reward when Morris supplied the finishing touch to clever football skills by the ever-threatening Howley and wing Aaron Grabham, Morgan-Williams’ conversion making it 24-14.

In the game’s final move, Neath kept up the attack and from a quick penalty 15 metres out Grabham saw his pass intercepted by Mark Harrison who gleefully ran the length of the field to dab down at the other end for James Williams to convert as the final whistle went and give Moseley a well-deserved win.
As a pre-season exercise, this was an ideal work-out for Neath as they were fully extended by a strong Moseley team… to achieve maximum gain though, lessons must be heeded.

The game gave a timely reminder before the serious stuff starts as the All Blacks cannot afford such profligacy on two fronts : too many unnecessary penalties and crucial handling errors. Both must be eradicated !