On Saturday we have undoubtedly the biggest Round in the league campaign so far. London Welsh and Medway are both unbeaten in their opening seven games and have an identical points difference of +159. Only bonus points separate the two teams and it is here that London Welsh has the advantage with five to Medway’s three. This will be yet another first for London Welsh (there have been many since project reset) as we meet Medway for the first time.
Whilst London Welsh had last weekend off from the league, Medway hosted Ironsides and although they clocked up a 30-5 victory; crucially perhaps without a bonus point for the fourth time this season.
Our visitors played their first game of rugby in 1931 as part of the Rolenian Sports Club and became Rochester City RFC in 1936 before taking their current title in 1974. Medway joined London 1 South at the start of the 2017/18 season having been promoted from London 2 South East and immediately made an impact on their new league finishing as runners-up but missing out on promotion in the playoff. The following season brought a fourth placed finish which they then repeated in the 2019/20 campaign.
London Welsh come into this game on the back of two strong performances – the first at Camberley where an assured and confident second half secured the bonus point win and the second at ODP against KCS Old Boys where the bonus point was in the bag by the interval, assisted by the third penalty try of the season with Welsh’s front 5 again dominant.
This Saturday we will be remembering those who have died in wars and other military conflicts since the onset of World War I. As part of the remembrance a memorial plaque on the club house wall will be officially unveiled and a minute’s silence held before kick off. Our special guests for the occasion will include The Welsh Guards, The Mayor of Richmond and Dr Julian Lewis MP. Please join us at noon for this ceremony.
The Welsh Squad has returned to something close to full strength for the first time this season in recent games.
There are no new niggles for Round 9 with Ben West overcoming his knee issue sustained in Round 7. 50 cap man Tom Baldwin returns from 4 weeks of concussion protocols and into contention and James Buncle in the front row returns from international duty in the European League. Wales 7s man Luke Crocker continues a period on the sidelines as he recovers from his shoulder injury inflicted by Camberley in Round 6.
Saturday certainly will stand as the toughest test of the season so far; for both sides. We look forward to a packed out Old Deer Park and to an outstanding match day at London Welsh.