RUGBY UNION: Local boy Awcock relishes special occasion

Alan Awcock

Alan Awcock

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

ALAN Awcock will complete a remarkable season with London Welsh tonight, but promotion to the Premiership would top it off spectacularly.

Awcock, who starts at full back against Bristol, is still officially one of Welsh’s community officers rather than a full-time player.

He was given the chance to train with the first-team last summer, made his debut in the British & Irish Cup in October and has not looked back since.

The 26-year-old former Grove junior, from Chilton, near Wantage, has now played 16 times and scored four tries.

“This will be the biggest game I have played in,” said Awcock of tonight’s clash.

“The only thing that comes close is playing at student level for my country, but it wasn’t in front of the sort of crowd we’ll get in this one.

“It is pretty special for me as a local player to be able to play in a game like this.

“If we win and get back in the Premiership, that will bring more fans to the club and hopefully promote the community side as well.”

Awcock impressed as an early replacement in the first leg against Bristol at the Kassam Stadium, but knows he and his teammates must not let up.

“We have put ourselves in a good position, but it is only half-time of a 160-minute final,” he said.

“We have done half the job, but it will mean nothing unless we finish it off.”

A 12,000 sell-out crowd awaits Welsh at Bristol’s Memorial Stadium tonight, which will be a new experience for Awcock.

He said: “I don’t know what to expect, but hopefully we can impose our game on them and then the crowd won’t come into it.”

He added: “We had a reasonable performance in the first leg, but we have got to back that up.

“We need to go up a gear and match what Bristol throw at us.”

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