LONDON WELSH v MOSELEY: MATCH CALLED OFF

ROGER CLARKE

at Old Deer Park

Moseley were unhappy that their match at a clearly long waterlogged Old Deer Park was not called off until they arrived.

Director of rugby John Beale had contacted London Welsh at 9am before the team left Billesley Common and was told there was no problem and that there was not even going to be a pitch inspection.

Half an hour out, Welsh were contacted again and Moseley were told there was some standing water. When they arrived, the pitch was approached over half-submerged duckboards and was unplayable.

Skipper Gareth Taylor said: “Someone should have let us know a bit earlier. When we went out on the pitch, it had been like that for at least two or three hours, there was standing water and you can’t play in those conditions.

“The lads gear up for Saturday each week and when you get down here and it is obvious it is not on as soon as you pull up – that is disappointing.

“But we have a few injuries and we have a home game against Newbury next week, which is really important.

“It would have been nice to have played, though, because they are coming on the back of three losses at home and this is their fourth home game on the trot, but we will wait for February or March time, it does not really matter.

“We are a bit sore now having travelled all the way down here because it is a waste of a weekend and when you are part-time, it takes up a lot of time, especially two weeks before Christmas.”

Beale said: “It is very frustrating. Billesley Common would have been off at 9am and I find it very hard to believe that Old Deer Park wasn’t as wet as early as that. It has cost us a lot of time and effort and money, which is all wasted, to make the trip, so it is pretty disappointing.”

Head coach Ian Smith said: “I understand other games in the area had already been called off. We did make a call before we left to see what the situation was and were told that they did not intend to have a pitch inspection, so we made our way down.

“Half an hour away, we called again and were told there was water on the pitch and we had better have a look at it.

“At the end of the day, though, the boys will be able to spend a bit of time together in one of the local hostelries and discuss what could have been and it will give them a chance to get over knocks and bruises before next week’s home game against Newbury.

“It would have been nice to have been told a little bit earlier, though.”

London Welsh Chief Executive Peter Thomas said: “We did not really know the match was off until Moseley arrived because once it has gone past 11am (three hours before kick off) the decision has to be made by both teams and at 10am, there was no standing water but it has just kept on raining.

“Early this morning when the guys were setting off, it was playable.”

One Moseley stalwart pointed out that in the past seven years, the Red and Blacks have only twice arrived for away fixtures to find the game off, once for a frozen pitch and once, on Saturday, for waterlogging and, each time, it had been at London Welsh.