Moseley faced Olney in their last home game of 2013, again delivering a win on the main pitch. After a week off the ladies wanted to get back to the excellent performance against Shelford, however Olney did much to disrupt the play and put pressure on the Moseley defence.
Moseley kicked off and started strongly putting together a series of phases, win only the final ball not going to hand. Eventually after a series of penalties Emily Dove took a quick tap from 5 metres out and tied in three defenders, offloading to Clare Bowyer to crash over the line. Olney pressed from the kick off and made their way up the pitch, using their forwards to make the hard yards. Despite being the smaller pack Moseley held their own and turned over a number of Olney’s scrums. Olney had 3 successive scrums on the Moseley 5 metre line but Moseley kept a strong defence and turned the ball over for Emma Shields to run half way up the pitch before being tackled.
Moseley continued to pressure the Olney defence, using the offloading game well and moving the ball wide. The ball went down the hands in the backs and Ashleigh Aiston stepped the last defender to sprint in from the halfway line to score. Nicola Sykes converted.
They then mixed it up, Hannah Bussey used a cross field kick for Nicola Brown to chase, with only the fullback clinging onto the ball on the floor stopping her from scoring. The resulting penalty provided quick ball and additional pressure. The ball went quickly down the line, using both forwards and backs to get the ball to Susan James who stepped 4 defenders and cut inside to outsprint the defence and score under the posts, again Nicola Sykes converted.
Olney continued to put phases together but the Moseley defence held strong, with big hits coming in from Michelle Gwynne, Caz Goodman and Ashleigh Aiston. Nicola Sykes and Emma Shields also made notable last man tackles to keep the clean sheet. Moseley again moved the ball out wide to use the pace on the wings, Emma Shields crossed the line but was deemed to have put a foot in touch by the supporting MSA members (as our linesman was helping the injured Olney player on the halfway line).
Emma Shields grabbed her try late on in the first half though after Michelle Gwynne smashed through the Olney defence, only to be stopped inches from the line. Emily Dove got the ball out quickly to Emma who stepped her opposite wing to touch down.
Half time Moseley 24 – 0 Olney
In the second half Olney came out strongly and used their forwards well to create holes in the Moseley defence. Five minutes into the half Olney had a lineout on the Moseley 5 metre line from which their hooker dived over to open the scoring. Moseley regrouped and pushed up the pitch, again using the quick hands. After a number of penalties for offside Moseley were pegged back on their line again, the Olney centre stepped round a number of tackles and offloaded to the hooker for another score.
From the kick off Moseley looked far more dangerous and pressured Olney into a knock on. From the resulting scrum Caz Goodman took the ball at 10 and switched the play to the blindside, drawing three tacklers before offloading to Emma Shields to dance through the Olney defence and score under the posts, converted by Nicola Sykes.
The rest of the half started to get scrappy with a lot of off the ball incidents. Moseley struggled to put together cohesive phases and the offside penalty count cost them ground and possession. Olney took advantage of this, passing the ball to their fullback who rounded the defence to score.
Moseley rallied for the final ten minutes, playing entirely in Olney’s half. A lovely passage of play allowed the team to travel up the pitch with players running onto the ball at pace, tying in defenders and offloading to support runners. Olney gave away a lot of penalties in defence and were pinned back on their line. With the penalty advantage coming Moseley did the simple things right, taking the ball in, setting it up and using the runners to make the ground. Eventually the ball came to Michelle Gwynne who smashed through three defenders to score. Nicola Sykes converted to end the game.
Players of the match were again difficult to decide – in the forwards Olly Gough was everywhere, making every tackle and turning the ball over in rucks. But forward of the match went to Clare Bowyer who has really improved her lines of running and physicality in attack, whilst making the most tackles in the team.
In the backs Ashleigh Aiston again had an outstanding game proving that size isn’t a match for technique in rugby, although Emma Shields took the plaudits for outstanding defence as well as keeping up the pace with 2 excellent tries.
Moseley’s last game of the year is Sunday 15 December away at Loughborough where they will be looking to avenge their defeat earlier in the season. The ladies then return to Billesley to open up the New Year playing Buckingham Swans on 12 January 2014.