BLUES TO HOST MOBBS MEMORIAL MATCH
Goldington Road will be opening its gates on Tuesday 28th March for the annual Mobbs Memorial Match as Bedford Blues prepare to go into battle against The British Army (Kick Off 7:45pm).
This year's match also takes on extra special meaning as it marks the one-hundred-year anniversary since Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs DSO - a true England rugby legend and a genuine hero of World War I - died during the Third Battle of Ypres while attacking a machine gun post.
Some of the most illustrious names in the history of English rugby have played in the Mobbs Memorial Match in either the colours of the East Midlands or the Barbarians, who played each other each year up until 2011. Although the Barbarians announced that the 2011 fixture would be their last, the Mobbs Memorial Match lives on with the British Army facing Bedford Blues and Northampton Saints on alternate years.
This year it is the Blues' turn, and getting the event underway will be the East Midlands Under 23s who will take on the Army Under 23s in a curtain-raiser (Kick Off 5.30pm). The show piece follows as Mike Rayer’s troops face the Army, the visitors having previously called up the likes of England international Semesa Rokoduguni, in one of their final games before they take on the Navy at Twickenham.
Tickets for the whole event, including the warm-up fixture, community matches, The Band of the Parachute Regiment, a feast of military attractions, Bedford Modern celebration and the main match are available online at the cost of just £10 for adults and £2 for children Under 18. Entrance to the stand is available on a first come first served basis with only ground entry tickets available to purchase. Click here to buy tickets.
Army personnel are discounted to £5 on production of a current ID card and student entry is £3; both ticket groups are only available for purchase on match day.
Looking ahead to the fixture, Blues Chairman Geoff Irvine said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Mobbs Memorial Match, particularly on such a poignant anniversary. The game is one of rugby's most historic fixtures and we are all excited about welcoming the British Army to Goldington Road once again as we honour the memory of Edgar Mobbs.”
Former Bedford Modern Schoolboy Edgar Mobbs led the East Midlands, the Midlands, the South of England and the Barbarians, as well as his club for five seasons, something which was not matched until the mid-1990s. His illustrious career included seven England caps, but he is as much remembered for what he did on the field of battle as for his rugby exploits.
Having been refused a commission upon the outbreak of World War I on grounds of age, Mobbs formed his own special corps and just over a month after war had been declared 400 men had volunteered to join him. The 264 who were passed fit became known as the Sportsman's Battalion and formed a large part of the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.
Mobbs himself was wounded three times in battle, and in the recuperation from the one injury played his final game of rugby in 1915. His return to his Battalion - by now as Colonel - after his third injury coincided with the Battle of Passchendale, during which Mobbs became one of the 420,000 men to lose their lives.
He went down in folklore with the story that as he lay dying while trying to storm a German machine gun nest, Mobbs passed the map reference of the enemy to his runner to give to the Battalion Brigadier.
Mobbs' body was never found and there was no wife or child to mourn him. That did not stop a Mobbs Fund committee being formed, and the money they raised paid for a statue to honour him. Unveiled in front of thousands of Northamptonians in 1921, the statue now stands in the town's garden of rest.
To purchase tickets for the match please click here or call 0871 871 1886 for more details.
All profits from the evening will be donated to Mobbs Memorial Fund with bucket collections on behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund.
Match Sponsors: Bedford Modern School