Rugby match to be played to commemorate 100 years since Edgar Mobbs’s England v Scotland game in Northampton

A programme from the England v Scotland match Edgar Mobbs arranged in Northampton in 1915 NNL-140812-163436001
A programme from the England v Scotland match Edgar Mobbs arranged in Northampton in 1915 NNL-140812-163436001

A rugby match will be played next month to commemorate a game organised 100 years ago by a war hero from Northampton who famously recruited hundreds of sportsmen to his own battalion in the First World War.

Former Saints captain and England international Edgar Mobbs arranged a charity international rugby match at the County Ground in Northampton between Scotland and England on January 30, 1915, as a way of recruiting men for his own “sportsman’s” company.

A army recruitment poster from 1915 NNL-140812-163425001

A army recruitment poster from 1915 NNL-140812-163425001

To commemorate the centenary of the game and honour the 16 Olney players who were killed in the war, Olney RFC is hosting a special event and two memorial rugby matches, with Edgar Mobbs’ family in attendance, on Saturday, January 24.

The two matches will be between an East Midlands XV region and The 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and Olney Ladies will face the Army Womens XV.

The event will include a display of rugby memorabilia and wartime photos of Olney sportspeople, and is supported by the Cowper and Newton Museum, the Royal British Legion, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chairman of Olney Rugby Club, Jarlath McElroy, said: “Edgar Mobbs was both a sporting and war hero and we are proud to be hosting these matches with the support of his family and the Army. A century on from that famous game, we are set for an enthralling encounter.

“The day will be a fitting tribute to an exceptional man, a special piece of history, and to the many sportsmen from Olney and across the region who lost their lives in World War One.”

Edgar Mobbs’ great-nephew, also named Edgar Mobbs, said: “Edgar was brought up in Olney and played sport in the town for many years. He was a great leader both on the rugby pitch and on the battle field. The MP Ryland Adkins said at the time ‘Northamptonshire in time of peace produced no finer sportsman and in time of war no finer soldier’.

“This centenary commemoration at Olney RFC brings together sportsmen and women from across the East Midlands region, with the British Army - just as Edgar’s famous game did, 100 years ago.”