BIG MATCH PREVIEW - London Welsh
by PETER WOODROOFE
Another Old Fixture renewed
Itís always a pleasure to visit Old Deer Park, very hospitable and full of tradition and history with the famous British Lion and Welsh international JOHN DAWES as President and where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to watch games. Ex President Alwynne Evans, part of Moseleyís ďTaffiaĒ, always enjoys it there!
The two clubs first played each other on 21 November 1925 at The Reddings, the return game taking place at Herne Hill a year later, both sides winning on their own ground. Over the seventy-three matches played between the two clubs, Moseley have won only nine games in London and Welsh ten games in Birmingham.
However, since League matches began, London Welsh have won seven matches, including the double when Moseley were relegated to National Two, and Moseley three, including the double in 2001-2.
London Welsh began League rugby in Division Two, went down to Division Four South and then climbed to Premiership Two in 1998-9, which was renamed National One in 2000-01. Up to 2003-4, they finished in the top six but dropped to eighth in the following season and then twelfth in the last two seasons.
This season London Welsh are struggling again, lying fourteenth, two points above Moseley, having beaten Waterloo at home last week 24-19, their only victory at home, and Coventry, Leeds and Waterloo away. The win at Leeds was the Tykes first match in National One.
Welsh play Bedford away on the Christmas weekend and then play Moseley and Otley, both in the bottom five, at home in consecutive weeks.
Their Head Coach is MARTIN JONES and their leading points scorer is full-back SAM ULPH, ex-Wasps, who has scored 146 points to date. Centre DUNCAN HAYWARD has scored four of their twenty-five tries to the date of writing.
Newcomers include winger PAUL SAMPSON, the former England Sevenís star from Blackheath, JAMES STOREY, a centre from London Irish, TOMAS MARKS, a fly-half from Llanelli, and two props GARETH MASON from Exeter and DORIAN WILLIAMS from Llanelli, and flanker BRETT McNAMEE from Northampton.
Players who have already represented London Welsh include centre ALEX CADWALLEDER and scrum-half ROBBIE SHAW, who has played for
Ireland at every level from the U18s to the U21s. He will be vying for the position with last seasonís captain ALAN CHILTERN who has had a long-term injury.
Hooker CHRIS RITCHIE has made over one hundred1st XV League appearances and lock HOWARD QUIGLEY, who made twenty-four League appearances last season, has captained the side in Chilternís absence. Prop COLM HANNON made nineteen League appearances last season.
Much to play for
With so much at stake, it will be a tough match at Old Deer Park to end the year, with much depending on the result. Itís a game Moseley can win, but they will face stiff opposition with London Welsh in adversity at their most fiery.
A happy and rewarding New Year to the Moseley squad and to the travelling support. A good game to watch to dispel the indulgences of the Festive Season.
Directions to London Welsh
London Welsh RFC, Old Deer Park, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 2AZ
See website for directions
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