Chobham travelled to Hampton Court knowing that they had a tough day ahead of them, the visitors’ preparations had been marred in that morning with the loss of two players through flu and at Thursday training two of the expected starters had failed fitness tests. The Fowlers Wells team saw a debut for ex Mini & Junior Nieem Khan as a hard running back replacement, the other changes from last week saw Alex Gibson come into the second row, front row cover Pete McCain, Adam Peever returned at fly half and Justin Rowland in the back row.
It was a second week of high-quality rugby for the Chobham faithful, but not with the outcome they hoped for. In a game that was within their grasp, their own poor game management and inability to find the target at the lineout lost them the game. Old Tiffinians ran out deserved winners in the end.
From the first minute Old Tiffinians edged ahead with a penalty from the boot of Sharp, but a few minutes later Blackmur received a ball just inside the Tiffs half and after breaking three tackles scored a converted try under the posts. Keeping the pressure on from the kick off Tiffs, following multiple phases, scored a converted try in the right corner through fullback Fawcett. The game then became a much tighter game and it wasn’t until 10 minutes later the barrelling No.8 scored another converted try from a loose ball at a ruck 5m out. Shortly after this the Scarlett & Golds lost hooker Ollie Campbell with an injury; he’d picked up during the warm up, being replaced by Pete McCain.
On the half hour Man of the Match Tommy Reed picked a spilt ball up and a jinxing run followed by a chip and chase saw him brought down under the posts, following another well defended ruck the visitors scrum half Guy Mawhood sent a long looping left hand pass to release Rowland for another converted try. Following two tit for tat penalties it was 20-17 to the hosts at half time.
From the kick off for the second half the two well matched teams battle of attrition carried on, it wasn’t until 10 minutes in that Tiffs scrum half Jones pounced on a loose ball from a Chobham 5m defensive scrum, from the ensuing ruck a dominant pick and go by prop Hobbs. The Scarlett & Golds tactically Robbie Kennard brought Nieem Khan on in the centre for Joe Mousley. After this Chob were penalised for not releasing the ball, Sharps boot extended the lead with a penalty and 60 minutes gone. Soon after a Chob sub saw French replace Gibson as Josh Sheppard went into the back row.
The final play of the game saw captain Mawhood take a quick tap inside the Chobham 22 and run he length of the pitch avoiding two tackles to score under the posts – earning a losing bonus point for the visitors.
The team that travelled to Hampton Court for the Scarlett & Golds must have walked off that pitch disappointed, despite losing to a well organised physical team it was theirs for the taking. Tiffs will be relishing the result and know this will go well towards their title hopes, they were a more organised side on the day despite never looking that dangerous. Chobham negated their powerful runners in Hobbs and Fawcett most of the game.
Billy Davison said after the game “An early season away trip to one of the league’s heavy hitters was relished by the Chobham team. A disjointed build up was quickly forgotten in even exchanges, and fine tries from both teams. With each team bringing a different approach, the match was keenly balanced throughout.
A first half with the weather advantage was squandered somewhat by the Chobham with a high error count. Better was to come and the away side deserved the losing bonus point, snatched at the death by captain Guy Mawhood.”
Assistant coach Robbie Kennard said “Another frustrating afternoon. We were not clinical enough in the first half in terms of executing good field positions into points. We played some good rugby at points but need to be more ruthless with our decision making and finishing. Well played to Tiffs and we will relish the return leg later on in the season.
Lots to work on this week with a big away trip to unbeaten Hove. We are hoping we will have a number of players back available to us and we are very excited about what we can do!”
Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “that was a tough game for the second week, Tiffs deserved the win and we must review where we were poor. Lessons learnt will be carried into the second game on the road away to top of the table Hove next week.
Great performances from the returning McCain and Rowland were encouraging, but a special mention on how exciting Reed was at fullback.”
Elsewhere at Fowlers Wells the Cannons lost 22 – 35 Reeds 2s and The Crusaders 14 – 60 lost to Old Whitgiftian 2s.Chobham RFC: Leon Nell; Ollie Campbell; Angus Hargan; Sean Bellion; Alex Gibson; George McPherson; Justin Rowland; Sam Goddard; Guy Mawhood; Adam Peever; Joe Mousley; Sam Davies; Josh Sheppard; Ollie Blackmur; Tommy Reed. Game Changers: Pete McCain; Nieem Khan; Sam French.