The Cannons travelling to Roehampton to play Rosslyn Park, and with a cancellation of fixture for one of the host’s other teams the game was moved to become a curtain raiser on their 4G pitch.
Chobham were expecting a tough match against a skillful side if the return fixture taught them anything, but the benefits of the strong wind caught the visitors by surprise and allowed Park to have much of the possession and dominated territory in the opening 40 minutes. Fortunately the Cannons set piece alleviated pressure with turnovers in the lineout as Henry Hopkins picked off throws at the front, and the pack winning numerous balls against the head. Park kept coming however, and did eventually yet over in the corner. They soon added a second after a couple of penalties in quick succession saw Nieem Khan head off for a ten minute break.
Whilst down to 14 men the Chobham side pulled together and actually were unlucky not to open their own try-scoring account after a number of strong scrums in the opposition 22 ultimately went unpunished. As the sides turned around at half time the squad were still confident they could make inroads into the side. It did not take Khan long to make amends for his earlier indiscretion with a tight angle back against the flow from a scrum letting him go in untouched under the posts. Ciar Cox added the extra two points and Chobham were back to within a single score with less than five minutes played. Michael Lenton, back on the pitch at 9, having had a cameo on the flank at the beginning of the game upped the tempo and from one break down the touchline the Cannons had a great position on the pitch to attack again. Khan again showed his power to drive through would be tacklers and reach out to ground the ball over the line.
Another calmly slotted conversion saw the visitors take the lead for the first time in the match. Confidence was brimming by this point and another foray into Park’s 22, although turned over, saw the wind prevent the clearance from getting anywhere near the halfway line. Lol Perkins hit his target in the middle of the set piece and with the midfield defenders flummoxed by the holding lines of the different options Cox strolled in for the third five-pointer of the game for the Cannons. With 15 minutes left Park had to go down to 14 players as they could no longer safely compete at scrum time and so restarts resorted to uncontested displays. The forwards were not impressed and so took their anger out on the Park through a series of driving mauls from the lineout. The home side could not stop the inevitable and eventually Sean Bellion, making his debut for the Cannons this season, touched down for the bonus point try and put the match to bed. Cox stepped up for the hardest kick of the afternoon as if it was straight in front, to make it 100% from the tee for the afternoon.
The result sees Chobham extend their lead at the top of the Surrey Championship, with second place Law Society not playing and KCS Old Boys losing to the Cannons next league opponents Old Haileyburians.
Man of the Match and Players’ Player: Ciar Cox