The points against column for the season for London Welsh have soared past the 1,000 mark – and the previous record, held by West Hartlepool. The Exiles finished the season with 1,021 points conceded over 22 matches, surpassing the 1,007 shipped by the north-east side in the 1998/99 season. Small consolation, but in those days there were 14 teams in the Premiership, so that the tally was racked over four more matches.
It closes the coffin on Welsh’s second stint in the Premiership. And so bad has it been that the Premiership suits could moot an end to promotion and relegation while pointing at the hapless Welsh as a reason why.
Off the field, where the real problems have always lain, London Welsh were never ready for Premiership rugby, this time or last. The Kassam Stadium, in theory a perfectly pleasant ground, has echoed to the sound of a few thousand fans. So if there’s one thing we have learned from the London Welsh experience, it is that those much maligned minimum standards criteria were not quite such a ridiculous concept after all.
Clubs such as Exeter and Worcester have spent years putting together credible packages for the Premiership; Welsh’s application to the inspectorate three years ago was last minute and on the hoof.
The good news, though, is that there may yet be life at the Kassam. Wasps have now left the area and if London Welsh can attract any floating fans in the Thames Valley they could grow into an attractive proposition. It will take a few years. And those years should be spent in the Championship.