After over a month of no league rugby for the Cannons at Fowler’s Wells, table topping Rosslyn Park ventured out of London to take on the only other undefeated side in the league.
Rosslyn Park won the kick off and decided to start the match in conditions that had significantly worsened throughout the warm up period. The first quarter of an hour saw both sides try to enforce their own game plan on the match, with only Sam Davies’ two penalties troubling the scoreboard. Park were trying to play an offloading game and in the conditions were finding this difficult however with some clever running lines they took advantage of a lapse in concentration from the home side’s defence to score the first try of the match.
The Cannons continued to play with a more structured approach and when another strong forward carry saw the visitors come off their feet at a ruck Davies knocked over another 3 points.
After a slow start the forwards had now fully adapted to the conditions and the setpiece was becoming extremely dominant. One turned over scrum, just inside their own half, resulted in a break down the blindside by Davies who released Alex Hudson on the wing to get past his opposite number before cutting in past a stranded full-back to dot down under the posts.
Annoyingly for the second match running the home side gifted a five pointer to the opposition after the clock had passed 40 which took a little of the shine off an otherwise impressive first half but Chobham reached half time with a 16-10 lead.
Soon after the second half began Park lost one of their props to injury and with no replacement available the match resorted to uncontested scrums. Chobham had to reassess their approach with the enforced loss of the setpiece weapon. After some kick interchanges, space opened up down the left hand side of the pitch for the home side to exploit which they did with precision as Jonny Lewis finished off a neat passing exchange involving four different players.
The game was becoming more loose as Park chased the game and Danny Sherlock, on home debut, made three line breaks in quick succession. Although the cover defence was able to eventually stop the strong running winger, the visitors were beginning to tire, and with their bench exhausted already Sam Davies scored a superb individual try returning another wayward kick to evade multiple would-be tacklers to add to his personal points’ tally and extend the scoreline to 28-10. Park dug deep however and found enough energy to rally back with two further unconverted tries of their own.
The Cannons knew that this gave the visitors a four-try bonus point and set about getting their own. Fittingly the Cannons forward pack obliged – another breakdown penalty gave Chobham a lineout between the opponent’s 10 metre line and 22; Park had no response to the driving maul and Lol Perkins dotted down after a 30 metre surge could not be stopped.
Another excellent performance from the whole squad saw the final whistle blow with the score at 33-20 and the Cannons now find themselves joint top of the table with a game in hand.
Man of the Match Nieem Khan.
Next time out sees the Cannons travel to Old Haileyburians.