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London Welsh v Bedford Preview


By Mark W-J
December 1 2011

London Welsh’s last home game before Christmas sees the third-placed Exiles entertain second-placed Bedford at the unusually early time of 12-30pm.  Games with the Blues are usually crackers, and the home support will be wishing for a sackload of tries and a feast of running rugby, while our Scrooge-like defence hopefully offers the visitors no gifts or cheer.  I just hope it doesn’t rain, dear…

At the midway stage of the Championship season it was clear that the contenders for the promotion and relegation places were taking shape, with the top eight starting to pull away from the bottom four. As a result of last weekend’s fixtures the gap has widened still further, but wins for Doncaster and Leeds over Pirates and Rotherham respectively appear to have seen the top three pull away from the chasing pack. However, one feature of the 12-team Championship is that every weekend features at least two fixtures between top-eight sides, and with leaders Bristol entertaining fifth-placed Leeds – who have won seven in a row – on Sunday, Welsh could finish the weekend anywhere from first to fifth in the table.

Bedford have the best attack in the division, having scored 389 points, 48 tries and eight try bonus points in their 12 games to-date. Nineteen of those tries have been scored by their wingers, with teenager Josh Bassett having scored nine in the club’s last seven matches – the only seven league games he’s started for the club. Consequently he’s joined Ed Jackson and Pirates’ David Doherty at the top of the try-scoring charts, although Ed’s 16th minute try at Plymouth last week was his first since the defeat at Bristol in mid-October. For once the name of James Pritchard doesn’t feature at the top of the list of the Championship’s top scorers, yet the Canadian international has grabbed 59 points in his last four appearances since returning from the World Cup where he kicked 31 points in three appearances against Tonga, France and Japan. Jamie Lennard, who had four-match loan spell at ODP last Christmas, is their leading scorer with 107, 20 behind Gordon Ross.

Sin binnings for Paul Mackey and Mike Denbee at Plymouth last week mean that Welsh have received ten yellows in twelve games this season, four of them against Albion and five in November alone. Nine different players have spent time in the bin, with Greg Bateman the only repeat offender. Only Esher have a worse disciplinary record with eleven players being binned, while Bedford have received only two yellows all season, and none at all in the nine games since our 22-18 defeat at Goldington Road on 17th September. We have the meanest defence in the league, with just 220 points and 20 tries conceded, but only Leeds have conceded more points from penalties than the Dragons. In each of the last three seasons Welsh and Bedford have each won one and lost one of our league meetings, with the losers collecting a bonus point in five of the last seven meetings, so discipline will be crucial on Saturday. Of course, nobody who witnessed last season’s meeting at ODP will forget Gordon’s Ross’s 80th minute penalty from halfway which secured a 25-22 win, although the Blues also collected a try bonus that afternoon and were ultimately denied victory by a succession of missed kicks by full-back Edd Thrower.

Bedford and Welsh have been the losing play-off semi-finalists in both seasons of Championship rugby, and our rivalry extends back to the 19th century. Only Exeter have beaten us more often in the league, Welsh emerging victorious on only six occasions in our 25 meetings to-date with a single draw in the first encounter in 1987. The Blues were relegated from the Allied Dunbar Premiership at the end of the 1999-2000 season, so are currently enjoying their 11th consecutive level two campaign. Despite surviving the threat of a second successive relegation on the final day of the 2000-01 season, they’ve finished in the top half of the table in each of the last ten years, including second-place finishes in 2005-06 and 2010-11. Unlike the majority of clubs in the top half of the table they do not run a full-time squad, although they do have a very productive relationship with Saracens which saw the likes of Owen Farrell, James Short and Jackson Wray spending time on-loan at Goldington Road last season. In addition, a number of players have left Bedford for the bright lights of the Premiership in recent years, including Saone Tonga’uiha (Northampton), Luke Fielden (Newcastle), Mouritz Botha (Saracens) and Myles Dorrian (Exeter), while Paul Turner and Rudi Straeuli have embarked upon successful coaching careers since their playing days ended.

Games between our two clubs are invariable tense, exciting affairs. We’re both in the top three in the league table, are among the top three clubs for both tries and points scored, have two of the division’s top three try-scorers and have the best two points differences in the league. The weather outside may be frightful, but the rugby’s sure to be delightful.


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London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: The Dragons\\\' Den (IP Logged)
Date: 01/12/2011 21:04

What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: nld (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 12:10

London Welsh:

15. Alex Davies, 14. Will Hurrell, 13. Hudson Tonga’uiha*, 12. Simon Whatling, 11. Joe Ajuwa, 10. Gordon Ross*, 9. Rob Lewis, 1. Guillermo Roan, 2. Saul Nelson, 3. Shawn Pittman*, 4. Adam Brown, 5. Martin Purdy, 6. Jon Mills ©, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Lee Beach.

Replacements: 16. Nathan Morris, 17. Billy Moss, 18. Gary Johnson, 19. Ed Jackson, 20. Jack Moates, 21. Seb Jewell, 22. Liam Gibson.

* Denotes full international

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: nld (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 13:15

Bedford team

Starting line-up:  
15. James Pritchard (c)
14. Handre Schmidt
13. Brendan Burke
12. Tom Bedford
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jake Sharp
9. Darryl Veenendaal  
1. Sam Walsh
2. Chris Locke
3. Phil Boulton
4. Mike Howard
5. Sean Tomes
6. Alex Rae
7. Sacha Harding
8. Paul Tupai
 
Replacements: 16. Nico Steenkamp, 17. Dan Seal, 18. Billy Johnson, 19. Sam Pailor, 20. Stefan Liebenberg, 21. Jamie Lennard, 22. Henry Staff.
 

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: paddytaf (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 15:10

Mark W-J Am i wrong in saying that last weeks try scorers were Joe Ajuwa 2, Will Hurrell 1 and Vili Ma'asi 1. According to the information that i have Ed Jackson was not on the score sheet. PADDYTAF (Sm60)(Sm128)

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: Mark W-J (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 15:42

You're right! Statbunker shows that Ed scored the first try, but it also shows that he came off the bench in the 80th minute to replace Jon Mills. So I think it's safe to say that this whole preview should be written-off - except the first paragraph, which is my finest hour yet...

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: paddytaf (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 18:37

No way should this preview be written-off. You are without doubt a legend in this regard, and i have no doubt in my mind that everyone from all rugby clubs who read your previews look forward every week to see what you have said in your preview. PADDYTAF. (Sm60)(Sm128)

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: nld (IP Logged)
Date: 02/12/2011 20:28

And a prediction of rain tomorrow afternoon? Latest forecast is showing dry but windy.

Standards are definitely slipping! winking smiley

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: dottigirl (IP Logged)
Date: 03/12/2011 00:34

Has he been moonlighting too? I read a Llanelli v LS preview the other day which sounded like Mark's work.

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: Haydn2 (IP Logged)
Date: 04/12/2011 11:57

And following the game, not only are we top of the table, but West London rules all the major leagues, with Quins topping the Premiership, us the Championship, Ealing National 1, and Richmond Division 2 South!

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: DanFW3 (IP Logged)
Date: 05/12/2011 03:11

.. the moment savoured, but Bris are back on top again. There's always another weekend or the one after to top the Championship again.

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: Mark W-J (IP Logged)
Date: 05/12/2011 08:07

Quote:
dottigirl
Has he been moonlighting too? I read a Llanelli v LS preview the other day which sounded like Mark's work.

Not guilty! Do you have a link to the preview? I'm intrigued by the suggestion that I have a recogonisable style!

 
Re: London Welsh v Bedford Preview
Posted by: dottigirl (IP Logged)
Date: 05/12/2011 12:08

Quote:
Mark W-J
Quote:
dottigirl
Has he been moonlighting too? I read a Llanelli v LS preview the other day which sounded like Mark's work.

Not guilty! Do you have a link to the preview? I'm intrigued by the suggestion that I have a recogonisable style!

[www.londonscottish.com]

In your style, at least. Although on re-reading it, there's not enough stats. winking smiley

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