Match preview: Welsh take on Guildford in Round 23 as they look to ramp up pressure at the top of the league

The bonus point win at Farnham was more than enough in Round 22 to secure promotion but the season is far from over and the next three games will determine where in the top three London Welsh will finish.

The league title remains a possibility and with Camberley having a bye this Saturday a bonus point win against Guildford would put the current league leaders under pressure. However, we do know from experience earlier this season that this is easier said than done with the 5th placed visitors.

The trip to Guildford brought the first of our three league defeats this season. The score was 14 all at half time only for the hosts to add another 15 unanswered points in the half hour after the break.  Welsh left it late to fight back and tries by Andy Black and Jack Anderson in the closing minutes, plus a conversion by Osian McAvoy, couldn’t quite close the gap and Guildford took a 29-26 victory. 

Although there is one further home game to play this will be the final 1st XV game at ODP for the season. The final game, against Battersea Ironsides on 23rd April, will be played at Grasshoppers. It will be a special day at ODP with our match sponsors being The Voyagers  – the charity created by London Welsh supporters in 1954 mainly for the benefit of injured sportsmen and women. We will also be welcoming Ty Hafan, the Welsh Children’s Hospice, and they will be fundraising on the day and explaining more about their work at the pre-match lunch. We expect a crowd of well over 1000 for Round 23 so get down to ODP and enjoy the day.

Tries by James Buncle and Tom Hunt against Farnham closed the gap on Paolo Peschisolido at the top end of the try scorer list. Peschisolido still leads the group with nine tries to his name but Hunt is now on eight and Buncle one try behind him. Osian McAvoy is the leading points scorer with 122 so far this season.

It is also a big day for our Druids team in a winner takes all league title decider against Belsize Park 2s in the Merit Premier league. The match kicks off at noon and will be played at Chiswick RFC. There’s plenty of time to watch this game and get to ODP for 3pm so please go along and give them your support if you can!

The result at Farnham in Round 22 will be in no small part due to a return to near a full strength squad, this has heralded a return to form. Indeed, further reinforcements arrive this weekend as Ben West returns, Paolo Peschisolido, Lloyd Davies, Tom Baldwin and Sion Cowdy. That takes the squad to almost 100% strength. There is an injury doubt over centre Matt Pollen who injured his ankle late on at Farnham and Jack Anderson definitely misses out after popping his shoulder last time out, an injury that may end his season 3 games early.

We look forward to welcoming you to another big weekend at Old Deer Park!


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