Peter Gavin previews London Irish Wild Geese v Worthing Raiders


London Irish Wild Geese v Worthing Raiders

2nd February 2019

Kick off 3pm

Raiders make the short journey to leafy Surrey to take on London Irish Wild Geese at their extensive facility ‘Hazelwood’ in Sunbury. LIWG visited Roundstone Lane last October with Raiders emerging victorious 41-14.

 History & Background stuff

London Irish RFC was founded in 1898 as a ‘home’ for sporting Irishmen in London. Their foundation coincided with the arrival in London of veterinary surgeon Louis Magee who represented Ireland 27 times at outside-half. He was a vital presence and attracted many of his countrymen to the club. The first fixture was against Hammersmith RFC, but before long fixtures were being staged against leading clubs in the Capital. Irish (‘The Exiles’) were nomadic until 1931 when around 12 acres of land was purchased in Sunbury for £1280. The first match was a draw, 8-8 against London Welsh. The Sunbury ground was requisitioned in 1939 and Irish were nomads again, although eventually sharing facilities with Blackheath. By 1959 a return to Sunbury was achieved, the opening match being a select XV chosen from London Irish/Welsh/Scottish v Harlequins Select. In 1996 the arrival of the professional game affected LI more than most. After many meetings it was decided to form an Amateur club to run alongside the professional outfit and what better name for the 1st XV than Wild Geese, a name already synonymous with the club. Amateur non-league matches were staged against other clubs with a fully Professional side (Richmond, London Scottish etc).

Official admittance to the league structure saw Wild Geese placed into Surrey 1 for season 2000-1. Fairly regular promotions were achieved and by season 2013-4 they made it into National 2 (S). Despite a reasonably successful season with 11 wins and 63 points (60 is generally regarded as the survival number), they ended up in the 3rd relegation spot, just 2 points below Chinnor.  Wild Geese were promoted again after season 2015/6.

In November 2014 the official opening of the new facility, former 9 hole golf course, ‘Hazelwood’, took place. Whilst departing ‘The Avenue’, their home for over 70 years, caused many a tear to be shed, the spacious facility, 60+ acres, pitches, gymnasium, conference and dining facilities has hopefully set fair all aspects of the club, professional and amateur.

Raiders v LIWG

2016-17:   WR 26 – LIWG 22 / LIWG 34 – WR 39

2017-18:   WR 27 – LIWG 22 / LIWG 19 – W 26

2018-19:   WR 41 – LIWG 14

13th October 2018 Raiders 41 LIWG 14

A good sized crowd (505) gathered in warm and dry conditions to watch this fixture between sides that try to play entertaining rugby and have, so far in the series, provided exciting encounters. The first half was a rather disappointing despite both sides creating opportunities play was stop start, oranges being taken with the visitors leading 5-7. Kemp Price, making his first appearance after injury, took to the field after the break and almost immediately made an impression and had 2 tries in the bag within 10 minutes (19-7). Replacement scrum half Caolan Englefield almost immediately replied for the visitors (19-14). The match looked set, but like the first half play ebbed and flowed with both sides creating opportunities but not adding to their tally. Raiders scrum half, Matt Walsh broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with a try. Matt McLean added the extras along with a penalty goal a few minutes later (26-14). In the last 5 minutes Raiders added 2 further tries and a conversion to stretch the score-line.

Raiders: Forrest H, Boyland, Sims, Forrest J, Barnes, McLean, Walsh, Birch, Grief, Sassone, Lake, Lee, Harris, Dawe, Perkins.

Bench: Luke, Gatford, Rees, Gwyther, Price.

Scorers: Tries: McLean x 2 (11 & 78 mins), Kemp x 2 (44 &49 mins), Walsh (66 mins), Forrest J (75 mins).

Cons; McLean x 4. Pen: McLean (73 mins)

LIWG: Turner, Amadi, Henry, Cunningham, Owen, Knight, U’Chong, Henshaw, Townsend, Baker, Haggett, Collingridge, Browne, Day, Moore.

Bench: Atkins, Ajuchi, Hobbins, Mackay, Englefield.

Scorers: Tries: Baker (30 mins), Englefield (52 mins). Con: Knight x 2.

Last season P30 /W9/ L21…. 57 points… 13th

More or less the same story as the previous season with their survival fate going down to the wire. In the end they finished one spot and two points above relegation. A season of fluctuating fortunes with the high point undoubtedly the defeat of high flying Chinnor (20-35). This victory not only floored practically all the pundits, but it also took away Chinnor’s unbeaten home record that had been running for almost 2 seasons!! Their other wins, on home turf were against Wimbledon (60-6), Old Redcliffians (53-22), Barnstaple (37-22), Redruth (39-32) and another fine scalp Taunton Titans (45-38). On the road they were victorious at TJs (26-37), Clifton (31-33) and importantly in the penultimate match, at Henley Hawks (19-36).

Leading try scorer was winger George Owen with 27 from his 28 appearances. Influential Captain, back row forward Scott Moore put in 27 shifts. Leading points scorer was Alex Seers (from Ealing Academy and now with Rams) with 166.

This Season so far….P20   W5……26 points 15th    (Raiders 44 points 10th)

Wild Geese are in the relegation zone, one point above ‘Bees’ and 2 below Guernsey. Barnes in 14th spot have 41 points. Whilst obviously they are in a tough position they have wins on home turf against Redruth (33-28), TJs (44-31) and a couple of weeks ago Dings (31-24). On the road their wins have been against Clifton (12-22) and Guernsey (17-20). Top try scorer, as usual, is George Owen with 9, prop Brandon Baker has 6.

The Players

A list of the players used in the last match away at Taunton Titans (27-3) and a few more used in recent fixtures is provided, along with a little more detail as to their credentials. It is evident that the strong link with London Irish Academy and the Ealing Academy prevails. Lock forward Callum Haggett has started in 19 fixtures with experienced hooker Richard Townsend starting in 15. In the three-quarters Sean Cunningham in the centre and Chico U’Chong at scrum-half are regulars. George Owen and experienced fly-half Liam Prescott both missed the Titans fixture.


Please try and make the relatively short journey up to Sudbury to support the boys in this important match.

(A good place to watch Ireland v England (KO 4.45pm) live on TV!!)



……… C’Mon Raiders

Name, Age       *played v Raiders 13th October 2018 Apps 2018/9 Total N2 App Join Points Honours Position Previous Club/s & Apps                                                      * played v Raiders
TEAM 26th Jan 2019 v Taunton Titans (away) LOST 27-3
Ollie Turner* (21) 14 19 2016 4T/7C/ 2P   Full Back: LI U18, Chobham
Joshua Amadi*(21) 15 15 2018 7T   Wing: Ealing Academy, Birmingham University
Ellis Rudder (23) 7/2R 9 2018 1T Eng C U20 Philippines 7s Hants Centre: Havant, Cardiff Met, Glamorgan Wanderers
Sean Cunningham* (28) 14/1R 70 2012 3T Surrey Centre: Oxford Brookes University
Brad Meeson (27) 7/1R 28 2016 2T Surrey Wing: Edinburgh University, CS Rugby
Reuben Knight*(19) 10 10 2018 11C/ 4P Surrey Fly Half: Havant, St Mary’s University, LI Senior Academy
Chico U’Chong*(23) 9/7R 29 2017   Scrum Half: RAMS 12, St Mary’s University
George Dean (25) 5/2 33 2016 Surrey LH Prop: Marlow
Richard Townsend* (29) 15 15 2018 1T   Hooker: Dings 5, Hartpury *21, Ealing 47, Richmond 10
Sam Gratton (21) 6/2R 8 2018 2T Quins U18 TH Prop: Chobham, Rosslyn Park, Wimbledon*3
Calum Haggett *(22) 19 48 2016 Wales U18 Lock: Cardiff Blues
Ryan Bifield (23) 5 14 2018 1T Eng South U16 Lock: LI Youth & Academy
Tom Donegan (22) 3/2R 5 2018 Surrey U20 BS Wing Forward: LI Youth
Jack Cooke (20) 8 21 2016 Ireland U20 OS Wing Forward: London Irish 9, Rosslyn Park 1, LI Senior Academy
Scott Moore* (Capt) (27) 13 93 2008 6T   No 8: Stalwart
Austin Hay (21) 2/3R 7 2018 1T   LH Prop: London Irish 2, LI Senior Academy
Brandon Baker* (19) 11/1 14 2018 6T   TH Prop: LI Senior Academy
Oghenetejiri Ajuchi* (22)) 4/7R 11 2018 1T   Prop: Ealing Academy
Archie Mackay* (22) 9/3R 30 2017 Surrey No8: LI Academy
Paul O’Dell (24) 0/3R 3 2018   Centre:
George Owen* (26) 19 94 2010 9T 19th Jan Wing: Bracknell, Counties Manukau
Liam Prescott (30) 6/1R 14 2014 2018 1T/11C/4P 19th Jan Fly Half: Bracknell, East Grinstead, Tonbridge Juddians 18
Arby Keheli (20) 4/5R 9 2018 19th Jan BS Wing Forward: Blackheath, Ealing Academy
William Day*(23) 4/3R 7 2018 19th Jan LH Prop: Ealing Academy
Joe Henry*(18) 14/1R 15 2018 1T 12th Jan Ireland U18 Centre: LI Youth
George Frampton (24) 4/5R 9 2018 12th Jan Hooker: University of Bath, LI Academy, Reeds Weybridge
Ben Kirby (23) 9/5R 14 2018 5th Jan No8:
Ben Atkins* (18) 3/6R 9 2018 22nd Dec BS Wing Forward: LI Academy
Christopher Browne* (30) 9/1R 16 2013 1T 15th Dec BS Wing Forward: Chobham
Sam Hobbins* (28) 9/5R 40 2017 15th Dec Lock: Chiswick
David Henshaw* (29) 9/2R 11 2018 1st Dec Connaught U20 LH Prop: Old Wesley, Buccaneers, UCD
Jordan Gomez (27) 6/2R 8 2018 17th Nov Barbados7’s Wing: Reading
Samuel Collingridge* (20) 4/1R 5 2018 3rd Nov Lock: LI Academy
Caolan Englefield * (19) 8/1R 9 2018 1T/2C 3rd Nov Scrum Half: LI Academy, Harlequins