Battle of Banstead – Old Walcountians 26 – 43 Chobham
Chobham travelled to Old Walcountians on Saturday, sitting third they were very confident against their 8th placed opposition – how wrong for the forecasters!!! The visitors came up against their strongest opposition by far this season, how Walcountians have only won one game is hard to fathom? A very big physical team that peppered Chobham with direct attacks down the channel, constantly challenging the visitors for an 80-minute arm wrestle. The disappointment of the day was the partisan home crowd who not only turned on their own team, but also the referee and the travelling supporters from Chobham, traditionally some of the greatest thing about rugby is the supporters being able to mix and players and those on the touchline alike accepting the referees’ decisions as gospel.
With ex top referee David Sainsbury in the middle, it could have been easily a different type of game without his maturity and calmness. He managed the game really well and his control of the breakdown was fantastic. Chobham adapted very early to his type of game, unfortunately the home team did not adapt their game and were getting frustrated at the decisions – they need to learn a referee is always right.
Going away with a win was a reward for Chobhams dogged performance and for the first time this season they kept going for 80-minutes. Definitely the best performance of the season for the Scarlett & Golds. With 4 changes from last week – Oli Guy returned in the centres, with Sean Bellion, Chris Kent and Justin Rowland coming back on the bench.
The opening interactions of the game saw Chobham dominating and after 9 minutes a great break by Ollie Blackmur saw him set up Oli Guy who only had to fall over the line to open the scoring for a converted try. 10 minutes a great attack from a halfway lineout by the home team saw winger Moorhead attack on the blindside to score a converted try under the posts. The huge Walcountian front row were equalled out by great scrummaging from Leon Nell and Angus Hargan.
Following an injury to Matt Bosworth came on in the back row, to see class like that back on the field shured up Chobhams decision making. With 5 minutes to go in the half Chobham from a lineout set up multiple phases to b estopped just short of the line, but Walcountians commitment in defence left the Scarlet & Golds with a 4 man overlap and Rumsey scored over the line. Sam Thirlwell and Sam Goddard work at the break down was paramount in abating the constant waves of marauding Walcountian attacks.
Minutes later Chmielinski must have believed his great individual try from a Claustres barrelling run would be the last score of the half. But Chobham captain Guy Mawhood just stepped over the line from a ruck for a converted try to end the half. On the right-wing Jay Miller was enjoying dominating his opposite number. Chobham went in 19-12 up at halftime.
A couple of minutes after the restart, quick thinking by Mawhood from a penalty at the ruck for playing the dummy half by the home team following a great Joe Mousley run down the wing, the captain crossed the line for his second try and Chobhams bonus point for the afternoon. McCains discipline in this game was spectacular and his maturity si improving game on game. A great second half was had by Centurion Chris Kent, who this season is playing like a teenager let loose for the first time. Who will forget Sean Bellion’s Fijian style pass soon after he came on.
Walcountian responded themselves from their lineout with a move through the centres by Barnaby break 4 tackles to score a converted try. Next saw a real “What Happened Next” moment when from a Chobham lineout 10 metres out a wayward pass went to the foot of Blackmur who chipped and chased it over the line for it to pitch up into his hands for a converted try. with 20 minutes gone the Scarlett & Golds persistent pressure was rewarded at a breakdown when the ball scooted free and fullback Rumsey got his brace. With 10 minutes to go Walcountians Chmielinski, now at fly half, saw a gap and took a great angle for another converted try for the hosts.
The hosts had had to work hard to keep Dan Benton penetrating runs under control, as with his dominating tackling only matched by the work rate of Max Sambrook. in the game As ever, the final say would come from Mawhood for his hattrick, he was in the perfect position supporting Peever from a jinking run after breaking a tackle on the 22. Hargan received Man of the Match for his 80-minute running and defending against players with a couple of stone on him.
Assistant Coach Robbie Kennard said afterwards “a very pleasing afternoon against what was a good Walcountian outfit that did offer threats when in possession. They were a physical team with big ball carriers and we stood up well defensively. Our shape in attack was excellent, although we were still guilty of not executing in the wide channels but it’s very pleasing to see where we can get too! Scrum time we were dominant against a big pack and it bodes well for the next block of fixtures.
A special mention to the Referee on the day; the best I’ve seen at this level of rugby for many years!
We will be working hard in training to fix the small works ons but we continue to be in a very good place and are excited about the way we are playing the game.”
Harry Norman-Walker, Chobhams Director of Rugby, said after the game “that was by far our toughest opposition, they never relented in attack or defence and considering they were to a man bigger the Chobham squad were fantastic. It was so exciting that we finally came together as a squad and together with our discipline they were some of the best features of the game.
We are growing as a squad week in week and out and it’s exciting to see where this season’s journey takes us.”
Elsewhere the Cannons lost at home to Cobham 2s and the Crusaders lost a quickly reorganised fixture against Haslemere 1s, while on Sunday the Women came back from 22-0 down at half time against Oxford Harlequins to win 24-22!!
Starters: Pete McCain; Leon Nell; Angus Hargan; Matt Bosworth; Sam Thirlwell; Dan Benton; Max Sambrook; Sam Goddard; Guy Mawhood; Adam Peever; Joe Mousley; Ollie Blackmur; Oli Guy; Jay Miller; John Rumsey.
Replacements: Sean Bellion; Chris Kent; Justin Rowland.
Director of Rugby