The twentieth league game of the season is upon us and the battle for top spot and the two other promotion places is getting very tight.
The defeat at Medway last Saturday gave Camberley a nine point lead at the top of the table and brought Medway within a point of second place. Hammersmith & Fulham remain 15 points adrift but are 18 points ahead of fifth-placed Guildford. Camberley and Medway should pick up bonus point wins leaving our game as the biggest of the round.
If Welsh gain a win with a bonus point and stop Hammersmith & Fulham picking up a bonus point, a top three finish, and promotion, is guaranteed. Any other combination of league points and future results will remain in play. With this match coming on the back of a defeat for us at Medway and a win for Hammersmith & Fulham over Battersea Ironsides we are certainly not counting our dragons before they hatch.
Our two teams met at Hurlingham Park in mid-November and predictably it was a tight game. Welsh led 21-7 at half time but this was narrowed to a 31-26 victory with both sides claiming a four try bonus point and the home team awarded one more for finishing within seven points. Tom Hunt opened the scoring that day and was followed over the line by James Buncle. Rohan Pixley scored the next with Sion Cowdy adding a further two.
Our visitor’s league record to date comprises 12 wins and seven losses with a further 16 bonus points. They have scored an average of 27 points per game and have a points difference of +114.
Welsh welcome some big players back to the squad this week in the shape of Adam Nixon and Tom Williams, both will be looking for an immediate return to action. Welsh also see returns to fitness for Mike Griffiths and Jonny Miles in the front row and both will look to force their way into selection contention.
Long term injuries remain in the form of: Jack Burnett (broken hand), Sion Cowdy (ankle), Rhys Howells (hamstring), Tim Ross (leg), Griff Whitson (leg) all will continue to miss out. There are new injury concerns that will require fitness tests for Tom Baldwin, Will Ponty, Paolo Peschisolido and Matt Pollen.
Both teams have everything to play for and it promises to be another great day at ODP that will also see the London Welsh Choir attending to entertain the pre match lunch and of course the six nations!
Kick off is at 3pm.