March 18th 2014


Northampton Saints is throwing open the gates of Franklin Gardens tomorrow night (Wednesday 19th March) for the Mobbs Memorial Rugby Match.

There will be no entry charge and people are invited to come along and see the Saints take on the British Army with a 7.45pm kick off.

A Northampton rugby legend, Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs was refused a commission at the outbreak of World War 1 on grounds of age so he formed his own special Corps known as the ‘Sportsmen’ or ‘Mobbs Own’. Around 400 men volunteered to join him, of whom 264 were passed fit. They became known as the Sportsman’s Battalion and formed a large part of the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

He was the captain for Northampton saints before going on to captain the Barbarians and then England against France in 1910. He was killed in action during the battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

The Mobbs Memorial Match is one of Rugby’s most historical matches having first been played in 1921 between East Midlands and the Barbarians at the Gardens. The event has continued annually since and this year will see the Saints play the Army team on Wednesday evening.

People will be invited to make a charitable donation and all proceeds will go to the Mobbs Memorial Trust to be used to fund children’s rugby in Northamptonshire, the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal British Legion.

As well as the Saints’ match against the British Army, the night will also see the Army ‘A’ team play against the East Midlands County XV team. Kick off will be at 1700hrs.

Around the grounds there will be a number of military stands and pre match music will be provided by the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

Major Max Johnstone of 158 (Royal Anglian) Transport Regiment RLC said: “We are very much looking forward to the Mobbs Memorial event. It will no doubt be a great match and we will also have musical entertainment provided by the Band of the Parachute Regiment and military equipment on display. I am sure that all who attend will have a great time and in so doing will help raise money for three very worthy causes.

“Fitness and skill are qualities you gain as a soldier, you have to be able to react swiftly to the unexpected, and the same applies when you are on the rugby pitch; there is no doubt this will be a hard fought match.”


Mr Chris Wearmouth, Communications Manager at Franklin’s Gardens said: “The match demonstrates the club’s association with the Army dating back to World War One.  Rugby is a game that is proud of his history and particular when you have something like the Mobbs Memorial Match, which commemorates someone who was a genuine war hero and a Saints and England rugby legend. We are proud to carry on that association with the Army.”