Match Report from Doug Mayger:
On a bright afternoon Chobham Under 14 As travelled to local rivals Reeds for the second in a series of round robin fixtures. With a couple of late injury withdrawals the squad was a bare fifteen players, bolstered just after kick-off with Max making a welcome appearance on a rare free weekend. With the boys fairly low-key during the warm-up it was going to be interesting to see which side would start the better.
Chobham kicked off and clearly Reeds were nervy as the catch was immediately spilled forward and Chobham had the advantage at the first scrum on the 25. A rare win against the head gave Reeds the opportunity to push back up field but the advance was halted just into the Chobham half.
From another scrum the Chobham defensive line speed showed Reeds they would have little time all afternoon as the pressure forced a spill and turnover, but possession was kicked away for a Reeds lineout. Both sides were defensively very organised and little headway was made towards either try line but Chobham winning the territory battle being camped in the Reeds half.
Doug managed to make a neat line break with a dummy and delayed pass but the ball didn’t go to hand and Reeds were able to regroup temporarily. The home 8 picked at the base but more good tackling forced another Chobham penalty that was licked for a lineout on the 5 yard line. A throw to the front set up a driving maul but Reeds held this up and forced a turnover that was kicked into space on the left for Reeds pace men to chase. Jack was on hand to safely punt the ball into touch when outnumbered and under pressure.
Chobham’s terrier like pressure kept the Reeds backs on the back foot and near their own line, and eventually the ball was won and Harry released by a long pass down the left. Only a borderline tackle into touch was able to keep him out as he closed on the line. Chobham kept the hammer down and Reeds were penned deep in their 25 as Max and Chris both looked to set up an attack following turnovers.
With half-time looming Reeds had a scrum near their line. The pack put the squeeze on and forced them to pass back into goal where the backs pounced before a clearing kick could be made to win an attacking 5 yard scrum. The ball came back down channel one for Gideon to gather and put the gas on to just squeeze between two defenders and get the ball down for the opening try, making the half-time score 5-0.
The second half promised to be more difficult as Reeds now had the slope and sun at their backs, and so it proved as they had the territorial advantage for much of the half. As Reeds pushed forwards their infringements at the ruck meant that the visitors’ line wasn’t truly being threatened. Reeds were going to the big ball carriers to get them on the front foot but there was always a tackler on hand to bring a halt to the attack and the home frustrations started to simmer.
With Reeds eventually getting close to the line and setting up a drive the whole side stood tall and kept them out, winning a penalty as their opponents were held up after several phases of play. The clearing kick didn’t find touch and Reeds centre made an arcing run for the left corner flag as tiring bodies couldn’t get to him. As he dived for the corner though there were two tacklers who had raced across and forced him into the corner flag and to dot the ball down outside the line, though the linesman had already flagged for a lineout as the Reeds 12 had put a foot in touch. Two neatly executed lineouts with Charlie find first Oli and then Fin worked Chobham back into midfield as Reeds transgressed yet again.
The boys had found their second or even third wind now and were able to make a slow march into Reeds territory. As they worked up field the backs were on the move again and worked the ball right across the park where a dinked kick through forced Reeds to carry over and set up another 5 yard scrum.
The pack was able to work it back and again the backs looked for a gap to the right. Nothing was coming but possession was retained and quickly worked left with a long pass putting Fin into space and on the charge. The defence brought him down a couple of yards short, but Dan popped up out on the left to pick up and barge over just far enough to break the whitewash and double the lead.
Reeds were now desperate to at least get a score and pushed Chobham back after Tommy had carried the restart. Chobham’s scramble defence held firm though and Reeds were forced to try and chip through, for the ball to go dead. Time still wasn’t up and with the last play called Reeds kept pounding away at the Chobham line, winning a couple of penalties. The thin blue line refused to be breached and the second clean sheet was confirmed as a knock-on in the tackle brought the final whistle and a 10-0 victory to avenge last year’s league defeat.
Squad: Jack, Harry, Chris, Doug, Harrison, George, Gideon, Dan, Charlie, Oli, MattN, MattW, Al, Fin, Tommy, Max.
Match Report : Doug Mayger
Photographs: David Newton