BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


London Welsh v Moseley, at Esher's Pillar Data Arena, National League Division 1, Saturday, May 2nd 2009, k.o. 3.00 pm


This will be the third time this season that Moseley will have played London Welsh. So far honours are even; in the opening match at Billesley Common on August 30th last year the Welshmen beat Moseley 15-19, but in the EDF Trophy Quarter Final at Old Deer Park on 28th February we won 27-21, an away victory that convinced the players that they were capable of going all the way to Twickenham.

Saturday’s return away league match was originally to be played at Old Deer Park on 13th December last year, but was cancelled due to bad weather and pitch flooding. Due to the absence of free Saturdays and cricket’s precedence over rugby in April at ODP, it was not possible to rearrange this fixture until after the end of the scheduled National League One season. The game will be played on Esher’s ground in Molesey Road, Hersham, Surrey.

The results of London Welsh’s last three matches are:

25th April Cornish Pirates 8 v London Welsh 10
18th April Esher 21 v London Welsh 32
11th April Coventry 36 v London Welsh 30

The relative positions of Moseley and London Welsh in National League One are:

                    P W D  L  BP  P  Pos

London Welsh 29 18 0 11 16 86 6th
Moseley         28 12 0 16 19 67 10th

The Welsh have been in National League 1 since season 2000-01, after having suffered the ignominy of playing in Courage 5 (South). This season they became fully professional and make use of loan players when the inevitable injuries arise.

Their record since then is:

00-01 5th;
02-03 5th;
03-04 8th;
04-05 12th;
05-06 12th,
06-07 12th
07-08 7th remarkable consistency!

In the 1970s it was said that all London Welsh the club had to do to recruit high class players was to go down to Paddington Station every September and meet the trains from the Principality, bringing young rugby players who had just arrived in London to study medicine or enrol on teacher training courses. How life has changed!

London Welsh RFC, founded in 1885 for London’s Welsh community, is a club with a famous history. Its ground is in Old Deer Park, in Richmond, near to Kew Gardens. Our two clubs first played each other on November 21st 1925 and, since the Leagues started in 1988-89, Moseley has recorded five wins to seven by the Welsh. At the start of last season, however, Moseley won 40-10, at ODP, one of the club’s best away wins.

Over the years the Welsh have contributed 177 players to the Welsh National XV, notably, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, John Dawes, John Taylor and the great J.P.R. Williams, but this has come to an end since Wales moved to home based regional teams, from which their international players are now invariably selected.

A debated issue at Old Deer Park had been whether the club should turn its back on the English leagues and seek to become an extra Welsh team in the Magners League. However this appears to have been resolved as the club has qualified for the new Championship next season.

The London Welsh club, like Moseley, has worked hard to retain the amateur ethos of enjoying a game and a pint on a Saturday. The club runs several sides and also has a vibrant social section which attracts many Welsh men and women, who live and work in west London, who are not necessarily followers of rugby. Among the most famous members was the film star Richard Burton, who was often accompanied by his wife, Elisabeth Taylor. The reserved seats they used to sit on are now considered to be one of the club’s heirlooms!

Can Moseley beat London Welsh again? Certainly, if they play with the confidence, fire and elan they showed when beating Plymouth on Wednesday evening. That the game will be played on a neutral ground will help, but there must be some doubt whether part-time professionals can play at this level of intensity for a third time in eight days even though 9th place in the league would be assured if the game is won. If the game is lost most of the club’s loyal supporters will understand and wish the players well for the final match of the season at Otley. After all, few teams this season have provided us with such excitement in such a short time.

 

 

London Welsh v Moseley - Saturday 2nd May 09 -

Gates Open at Midday, Kick off 3pm.


Ticket Prices

Adults £12

Concessions £6

U16's Free

Grandstand Upgrade £5

Programme £1

Car Park admission will be charged at £5
 

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