A game of two halves

Chobham 29-21 Old Haberdashers

Chobham welcomed the Borehamwood team to Fowlers Wells for the first ever game between the clubs, Old Haberdashers had finished 10th last season in Region 2 Thames, in temperatures of over 30 degrees that was going to make it a hard afternoon. Robbie Kennards squad saw a number of changes from the team who had only just lost to HAC, captain Guy Mawhood returned to scrum half and Reece Finnerty started in the front row. There were two 1st XV debuts this week – 18 year old Elliot Bonner who, like ten of the squad, has come through our Minis and Juniors, and Greg Holt who has joined us this season from Guildford.

From the kick off the pack dominated the set play and 5 minutes in Hab gave a penalty away under the posts, allowing Sam Davies to open his account for the home team. The visitors scored the first try of the day came from a lineout and following a number of phases Demi Obembe crashed over for a converted try. Just before the half hour Habs were again penalised in front of the posts, allowing Davies his second of the afternoon. Habs were not to be defeated and from the kick off went up the field, from their scrum a pick and go saw the pop to scrum half Conor Michaels who sliced the hosts defence apart to score the visitors second converted try of the half.

The visitors third try came from a drive at the lineout and Patrick Hagerty scored their third try. But Chob ground their way back up the field and from yet another Habs infringement under the posts. A quick tap by Davies and then through the hands of Sambrook to Mawhood whose jinxing run was stopped just short of the line, as supporting Harrison Jones picked the ball up at the ruck and crossed line for the home teams first try of the afternoon. Chob went in at half time 21-11 down, Robbie Kennards halftime chat obviously worked as they cam out like a new team.

Chobs resolute attack put the visitors under more pressure and eventually they gave another penalty away centrally inside the 22, this time the hosts elected for a scrum. The play initially went to the right touch and then following a number of infield phases Jones got his second try of the day, this time converted. The half continued with the Scarlet & Golds going up through the gears, from  high tackle penalty Davies got his third penalty of the day. Chobs third try came from Pete McCain grounding the ball under the posts. Davies fourth came from a Habs player not rolling away on the half way line. Chobham finished the game off in total control and their first win in Regional 2 Thames.

After the game Head Coach Robbie Kennard said “a pleasing result in what was blistering heat. After a slow 1st half where we really didn’t get going and coughed up possession. I was really pleased with how the team reacted and fronted up. We worked incredibly hard and played in the right areas getting the points we deserved. We also had another young debutant in 18 year old Elliot Bonner, coming on at prop. We are looking forward to the week ahead and the return of some experienced players.”

Forwards Coach Chris Kent said “firstly, great to get our first win of the season. The first half was disappointing, poor decision making in the open and poor execution at set piece let us down, but the ambition and desire to dig deep in the second half and take a 6-21 deficit to a 29-21 victory is hugely promising and shows the potential of this group.”

Captain Guy Mawhood said “I think the heat got to the boys in the first half where we started off slow. Slow to the breakdown and too many unforced errors and poor discipline cost us 21 points in the first half.

We woke up in the second half and stuck to what we know best, stuck to our game plan and managed to adapt to the temperatures. We played for 80 minutes and the boys dug deep to score 18 points unanswered in the second half.

I think we deserved to win though. We played some really nice rugby in parts but needed to be more consistent throughout. But happy to start the season off at home with a win. Proud of the boys hard work.”

Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “I’m so pleased for Robbie to get the first win for him in his career as a Head Coach, this is the start of many victories for the club. We made hard work of it today, but proved our metal and ran out deserved winners. Great to see 18 year old Elliott Bonner make his debut and not look at all out of place, he was joined by lock Greg Holt from Guildford.

The whole squad deserved todays win and it will make competition for places on next weeks trip to Marlow even more keen. I’m so excited by the prospect ahead of us for the rest of the season.”

Starters: Pete McCain; Sean Bellion; Reece Finnerty; Greg Holt; Chris Kent; Max Sambrook; Harrison Jones; Dan Benton; Guy Mawhood; Adam Peever; John Rumsey; Sam Davies; Josh Sheppard; Joe Mousley; Tommy Reed.


Replacements: Harvey Bowen; Elliot Bonner; Joe Head.

Next Saturday Chobham travel to Marlow on Saturday and the Womens team host London Welsh on Sunday.

Harry Norman-Walker
Director of Rugby – Chobham RFC

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