The U16s returned to Camberley on Sunday, looking to reverse the result from three short weeks ago when they lost narrowly in a friendly. This time progression in the President’s Cup would be the reward to the victors as Chobham started their defence of the trophy.
With Chobham kicking off they earned an early penalty in Camberley territory. From the quick tap the chance was squandered and Camberley won a penalty of their own which they kicked long for an attacking line.
In the previous fixture the home side had been particularly well-drilled at set plays so Chob were ready for the catch and drive. This was safely dealt with, and Chob had a scrum on their own 5 yard line. The scrum held firm and the hook was good, but as with the first match the ball bobbled out of the side of the scrum. Camberley were first to react with the flanker scooping it up and diving over for the first score. The extras were added and Chobham were 7-0 down.
From the restart Chob tried to put their opponents under pressure, but whenever they had them on the ropes they were pinged for an offence at the breakdown which allowed Camberley to clear their lines.
With Camberley opting to kick deep and keep Chob away from their goal line there were plenty of opportunities for the Chob three quarters to carry in space with Jack, Fin and Rhys all looking dangerous, but the home defence was solid enough to prevent any clear cut scoring chances.
With around 25 minutes played, Camberley found themselves in prime position with an attacking 5 yard scrum. They pounded away at the visitor’s line, going through upwards of ten phases as they tried to extend their lead. Finally they were penalised for holding on the tackle as they had travelled laterally across the width of the pitch.
Chobham had one more attacking opportunity, amongst the steadily rising penalty count against them, forcing Camberley to concede an attacking 5 yard scrum with a minute to go to half-time according to the ref. However, before the scrum could be taken, the half-time whistle was blown with the referee having concluded his watch had stopped.
The second period began in much the same vein as the first had been played out. Chobham won the restart, with Jack’s tap down dropping nicely into Dan’s grasp to set up an attacking phase of play.
The visitor’s continued to be penalised at the breakdown though which prevented the build-up of any momentum. The blue set piece was functioning better now, and several Camberley lineouts were pinched by the visiting pack to break up Camberley momentum in turn.
With the game almost three quarters done and having developed into something of a stalemate Chobham found themselves the wrong side of the referee once more. They were penalised at a lineout defending the drive, which was repeated twice more as Camberley went from midfield almost to the Chobham line. From the final penalty a quick tap, taken before Chob were able to set themselves, took the lead to 12-0 and Chob having to find two scores from somewhere.
Once more from the restart, as has been the case frequently this season, Chob were able to regain possession. A Camberley drop and Fin was right there to grab the ball and win a Chob penalty at the tackle. Quick as a flash Doug took a tap and burst through the flat Camberley line. Doing a ‘Sam Underhill’ on the last defender he dived over under the posts to hit back immediately. Chris slotted the conversion and it was now only a 5 point game at 12-7.
Camberley kicked deep and Chob then had the ball on their own 25. A loose pass was intercepted and Chob were scrambling to keep their opponents at bay. The seemingly inevitable happened and Camberley had a penalty on the 25 yard line right in front of the posts. The kicker coolly slotted it over and once more Chob had to score twice with less than 10 minutes to go.
Camberley were doing what they needed and kept Chob away from the danger end. With time almost up Chob had a scrum in midfield, the result of a rare Camberley spill under a clearing kick. With scrum half and back row combining well the attack reached the Camberley 25 yard line. Camberley somehow won the ball but a loose pass was nabbed by Doug who once more was involved in a Chob try. His hack through was tracked by Gideon and Tommy who pressured the fullback into fumbling his pick-up. Tommy was able to gather cleanly and his lunge was just enough to cross the whitewash and cut the lead to 3 at 15-12.
At the kick-off the ref called last play and Camberley went for the NFL ‘onside’ grubber kick to try and force a knock on that would close the game out. There was no knock-on but Chobham couldn’t engineer a last gasp attack and the holders had fallen at the first hurdle.
A Squad: Jack, Rhys, Fin, Chris, Harry, George, Gideon, Dan, Charlie, Olly, Callum, Matt, Connor, Tommy, Doug, Ben, Aran, Andrew.