1stXV v Old Elthamians, Sat Nov 04, 14:15, Match Preview
This Saturday Ampthill welcome Old Elthamians to Dillingham Park for a double header, in National 1 this will be the first ever fixture between the two 1stXVs while in Zoo Division 1 the 2ndXVs face a 4th v 2nd encounter.
OEs have had a meteoric rise up the leagues securing 3 promotions under DoR Gavin Lach while also finding and moving to their permanent home at College Meadows. An ambitious and very well organised club they represent a stiff challenge for the 1stXV.
Old Elthamians RFC was founded in 1911 by the Old Boys of Eltham College. The school moved from Blackheath to its present site in Mottingham, SE London, and provided a pitch for the old boys to use and games were played up to the outbreak of World War 1.
A permanent ground was needed and Foxbury Field, in Chislehurst, was purchased by the Old Boys Association in 1951. Although playing numbers had increased in the fifties to the point where five teams were being fielded on a Saturday, they had declined in the seventies and the club went open to admit non-school players in 1972. This resulted in OEs being able to put out six teams.
In 1974 Old Elthamians were the second club in Kent to start a mini section, and the youngsters have gone from strength to strength ever since, now numbering about 360, in every team from under 7s to under 17s.
OEs moved to their present ground, College Meadows, in 2015
Gavin Lach, Director of Rugby, has overseen three promotions, taking the club from London One to their current position in National 1. Last season Old Elthamians finished runners-up to Bishop’s Stortford in National 2 South and then won the play-off against Sale from National 2 North to gain promotion.
Players who came through the Mini & Youth to go on to representative honours include Andrew Sheridan, Ben Ransom, Sam Farmer, Max Wilkins & Nick Tompkins.
Old Elthamians have made a very successful start in National 1 winning 5 of their 9 games to lie 7th in the table. They play an open style of rugby and possess a dangerous back division with wing Dominc Lespierre, having scored 11, the leagues leading try scorer. Recent results includes a very creditable draw away at Plymouth Albion.
Last week Ampthill bounced back from the disappointment of the home loss to Cambridge with a much better performance when securing a bonus point win away at Caldy 22-39.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “Safe to say we have been good in parts this season and indifferent in others with our main problem being concentration and game control which was evident again last week by us conceding three tries.
Old Elthamians are an excellent side that play a fifteen man all court style of rugby with the best back three in the division one of whom is also the top try scorer, they they represent a real threat this Saturday.
They are an ambitious and well resourced club that have a clear plan and aspire to continue to improve the club’s standing on and off the pitch.
We look forward to the first game between the clubs first teams”
There are a number of changes to the 1stXV squad this week, up front George Thornton starts at loose head and Josh Walker at lock while in the backs, James Pritchard moves to the wing with Karim Lynch returning at full back.
The 1881 team to face Old Elthamians 2ndXV