Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our 6th home game of the season and thirteenth game in total. It’s also our last home game before Christmas and also in 2014, so we know that with a sold out Christmas lunch there will plenty of support for us today. Indeed it was terrific that so many of you made the tricky trip to south east London to watch us win on the road at Charlton Park. I can’t over estimate how much your encouragement means to Ryan and the boys and really is appreciated.
Since I last put pen to paper what’s happened? Our last home game saw us take on high flying Sidcup who we knew from our encounters last year were a very decent outfit. In front of the Chobham ladies, both sides put on a very high quality game of rugby. On the day we were deserved winners, defending very well when Sidcup had the ball and looking very threatening ourselves when we were in possession. Josh Devitt’s predatory hat trick showed both high level individual skill plus some extremely precise attacking play as his team mates delivered perfect passes onto his excellent running lines. So with one home win against a south London club, we braved the Saturday shoppers’ traffic and headed across to Charlton Park in Lewisham, we think for the first time ever. We found a very welcoming, traditional rugby club tucked away in a corner of London suburbia. With an excellent playing surface and the cold winter sun on our backs, we cautiously hoped for another high class game. What we did get was a win on the road against opponents who have made life difficult for a number of teams. Despite us completely dominating the set piece such that the ref resorted to yellow carding their tight head prop for continually collapsing the scrum, we never really looked fluent enough to put together a score which reflected our superiority.
As usual we tried to play our exciting brand of attacking rugby, but whereas everything clicked against Sidcup, it didn’t quite last Saturday as a series of both individual and collective errors denied us a more convincing looking scoreboard and perhaps a try bonus point. One positive feature was the 1st XV debut of 20 year old Sam Forbes. Another product of the Chobham junior conveyor belt, Sam has shown great progress in the Cannons since returning from the high seas and looked the part when he entered the fray last Saturday. Speaking of which, it was great to see the Cannons winning well last week and with 4 wins out of 5 senior matches played it was another weekend when we were proud of the mighty Chob. The role of the Cannons will be crucial in our promotion push and strong, consistent performances are just what Ryan and Tony need from Liam’s squad. To each of them the message is that your opportunity will come in the fourteen games remaining, but be absolutely ready to grab it with both hands when it does. Today they host league leaders Hertford in what should be a great contest.
So where does that all leave things? Well it’s tight at the top with 5 teams including Chob having pulled away from the pack. We sit in 5th place but only 3 points off second spot. Wimbledon have nudged 7 points clear of us, but in this league, anyone can beat anyone and that’s what makes it fascinating. The key thing for us is not to worry about the others but to keep our winning run going- that’s something we can control.
Today we welcome visitors Hove who are having a tricky time of it. However with wins over Basingstoke and G&F, three draws including Brighton and a couple of narrow losses they demonstrate that they will not lie down easily and we must be at our best. Today provides a platform for us to get back to the level of rugby we played against Sidcup and go into the Christmas fixture at Twickenham next Saturday on a winning run, and your support today to help us do that is much appreciated.
Happy Christmas from all the senior squad at Chob!
Nigel Guy, Chobham RFC Director of Rugby