Saints and Bedford set for annual meeting as new format for Mobbs Memorial Match is agreed

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The Mobbs Memorial Match will take on a new format ahead of the 2024/25 season, with the fixture set to be contested annually during pre-season between Saints and Bedford Blues.

The move has been agreed by representatives from Saints, Bedford, East Midlands Rugby Union, Army Rugby Union and the Mobbs Memorial Trustees – all stakeholders in the match since 2012.

One of rugby’s oldest annual fixtures, the Mobbs Memorial Match was created in 1921 and honours Saints legend, World Rugby Hall-of-Fame inductee, and World War One hero, Edgar Mobbs.

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Contested between the East Midlands and the Barbarians until 2011, Saints and Bedford have played host for the match every year since 2012 when it was re-launched, with the two clubs going toe-to-toe with the British Army on a biennial basis at their respective home grounds.

A new format has been agreed for the Mobbs Memorial MatchA new format has been agreed for the Mobbs Memorial Match
A new format has been agreed for the Mobbs Memorial Match

The final game in the current arrangement will see Bedford Blues play Army Rugby Union at Goldington Road on Thursday, April 6, 2023 (kick-off: 7.45pm), before the new era launches at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens in the summer of 2024.

“It’s very exciting to see the Mobbs Memorial Match continue to evolve and hopefully grow in the years ahead,” said Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“The match, while remembering Saints legend Edgar Mobbs, has the interests of youth rugby within the East Midlands at its core.

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“Based on the very strong attendances for pre-season fixtures between Saints and Bedford since our partnership began in 2020, we are confident this new format will raise more money each season for the Mobbs Memorial Fund, and continue to grow the legacy of such an historic fixture.”

Gareth Alred, chief operating officer at Bedford Blues, added: “We’re delighted to see this match safeguarded for the future in its new format.

"Hopefully the latest change will help the fixture grow in the years ahead and continue to celebrate Mobbs’ rich history and heritage.

“While a new era of pre-season clashes against Northampton Saints lies ahead of us, we’re also honoured to be hosting the British Army at Goldington Road in April this year – and I’ve no doubt we will round off this chapter in fitting style.”

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Proceeds from the match have always supported the charitable aims of the Mobbs Memorial Fund, which promotes the development of age-group rugby throughout the East Midlands by way of grants to clubs within the East Midlands Rugby Union – and this will continue within the fixture’s new format.

“The Mobbs Memorial Match has been an iconic feature of the rugby season in the East Midlands since the end of the First World War,” said Bob Taylor, Mobbs Memorial Trustee.

“It is clear that Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues – and the supporters of both clubs – still hold the contest in incredibly high regard, and we are thrilled with this outcome to secure the future of the fixture and ensure further fundraising for the Mobbs Memorial Trust.”