International rugby comes to Fowlers Wells

Last Thursday evening Chobham hosted Belgrano Athletic Club U18s from Argentina. This is the former club of Fed so it was only fitting that Teo, his son, wore the captain’s armband for the fixture.

 

      

Belgrano looked well drilled and competent in the warm-up so the home lads would have to be at their best to keep themselves in the game. Belgrano played uphill in the first half and Chob were obviously taking things seriously, driving into the visitor’s half before conceding a scrum around the 25. Belgrano kicked for territory with a good chase and won the ball back only to concede a scrum themselves.

 

The opening spell demonstrated that Belgrano train regularly as a team and had a number of attacking options up front and in the backs. Chob however were able to resist these attacks with Fin winning a turnover in the tackle to allow Chob to kick back into the Belgrano half. The visitors were able to keep Chob out of their 25 however and worked their way back up field, eventually earning a scrum in the Chob red zone. Belgrano won the scrum, despite pressure from the Chobham pack and executed a neat miss and loop move in midfield. This first attack was held up in typical Chobham fashion but the visiting forwards had enough momentum from the attack to squirm over and with the conversion took a 7-0 lead after 20 minutes.

 

The restart was kind to Belgrano as they allowed the kick to bounce but it sat nicely as Chobham attacked. A kick back into midfield was returned but Chob were pinged for not retreating. Another penalty quickly had Chobham defending a lineout deep in their own 25 once more. This time it was the visiting pack who kept the ball through several phases as Chob defended around the breakdown. The whitewash was breached in the end almost under the posts and it was a 14-0 lead.

 

Belgrano continued to have the possession and territory advantage but the blue line held firm and forced a couple of turnovers and penalties to keep the half-time score to 14-0.

 

 

Chob now had to work up the slope, but a kick-off into space put Belgrano under pressure and a charge down from Ronan pinned them back near their own line. They couldn’t exit their exit strategy and Chob opted for an attacking scrum at a penalty on the right hand side. With a solid platform Cooper made a break from 8 and Ewen was on his shoulder for a neat offload and darted through a gap to peg the score back to 14-5.

 

 

Belgrano hit back and it was Chobham who were stuck in their 25 for a spell. The defending in the second half matched that of the first and when Belgrano finally had an opening they were brought down just short and penalised for a double movement. Chobham cleared and had a lineout 25 yards out.

 

This has been area where work is needed and Belgrano pinched this one. Unfortunately, it came to easily the biggest guy on the park who crashed down to within 5 yards of glory. His team mates are obviously used to this and were right behind him to recycle and restore the 14-point advantage.

 

Both sides continued to play some good rugby, entertaining the home crowd who had turned out on a chilly night, but the defences had the upper hand. To enable all the lads to get plenty of game time some new positions were tried and Jack popped up in the centres to good effect, making ground for the team to pour in behind. For the home side Lewis went off injured during this period with what was later confirmed as a broken arm.

 

A Belgrano attack down the right hand touchline brought a loud ‘ooh’ from the crowd as George cut his opposite man in half at the tackle and earned a penalty in the process.

 

The home side couldn’t capitalise on the penalty and a couple of free kicks taken quickly had Belgrano back in the danger zone once more. From a 5 yard scrum they had enough room to squeeze over by the corner flag to extend the lead to 24-5.

 

With time almost up Chob forced a scrum at the restart in good position. Again the pack did their job and Aran sprinted through a gap on the short side to double the home try count and make the final score 10-24 to the visitors.

 

A game played in great spirit with both squads mixing up on the whistle for the post-match photographs and mixing in the bar where the Chobham’s grasp of Spanish was soundly put to bed by Belgrano’s English.

 

 

Squad Aran, Lewis, Keaton, Fin, HarryC, Ronan, Ewen, Dan, Charlie, Billy, JackPen, Matt, HenryH, Teo, Cooper, Calum, Callum, Harvey, JackP, Finn, Max, Oliver, George, HarryB, Sam, Leonard.

Christmas cheer for Colts as Chob take spoils over Camberley

The final Colts game before the Christmas break was the much anticipated Waterfall clash with local rivals Camberley. This has always been a close fought match and Chobham were looking to reverse the results from U16 days.

 

With the formalities over Chobham were playing the first half with the sun and wind in their faces. The opening exchanges were scrappy at best as both sides seemed to be anxious and desperate to get one over the opposition. Chobham were guilty of creeping offside on several occasions but the lineout was a struggle for both sides which kept play camped in the middle third for the majority of the time.

 

With just over 10 minutes played Doug was down with a nasty looking neck injury so play was halted for him to be scooped up in an ambulance. Thankfully the reports coming through later showed no serious damage.

 

From the restart the game continued in a similar scrappy fashion. Chobham were under the pump at scrum time, but Camberley couldn’t use their possession advantage to carve out any chances of note.

 

The first opportunity of the game came around 20 minutes in. A loose ball in the Chob midfield was gathered by Camberley in Chob territory. With a whiff of accidental obstruction, the Camberley centre drove forward in search of the opening score. A last ditch tackle brought him down but Camberley battered away for a couple pf phases. It was Harrison then who turned the ball over winning a penalty and the clearance was out to the 10-yard line.

 

With the disadvantage of the conditions Chob were soon back near their own line with a couple of defensive lineouts. Camberley then had a line but the driving maul was resisted once more.

 

In the final few minutes of the first half Chob showed the first signs of intent. The decision was made to take a couple of penalties rather than kicking into the wind. This had the Camberley defence having to react for the first time and were pushed back into their own half.

 

There was still a chance for Camberley with Danny making a crucial tackle and the Camberley player guilty of hanging on. The final action of the half came from another Chob tap. Gideon and Aran weaved their way into Camberley territory. It was Akin who took up the challenge and dragged himself to the visitors 25-yard line. Quick hands left seemed as if it might open up but the defence was again able to hold on and the first half ended 0-0.

 

Chob now had the luxury of the wind at their bacs and the second half started with the hosts on the front foot at last. The pressure resulted in a penalty in front of the posts, but with most of the big crowd expecting a shot at goal it was another quick tap. Sadly, the chance came to nothing as Camberley caught a chip in the in goal area which the ref seemed to have given a 25 drop out despite the ball not being grounded. Anyone know if this was from a call of ‘mark’? Confusion reigned and with Camberley looking to race out for a quick drop out, Billy was perhaps harshly carded for misunderstanding the situation.

 

Shortly after the missed opportunity for a penalty shot seemed wasteful as Camberley made no mistake with a three pointer of their own. This however was the only score before Chobham were returned to a full strength and the game was set for a big finish.

 

As with the first half, territory was very much dictated by the wind as the game was played out in the furthest corner from the club house. Matt snaffled the ball from a Camberley line and then Tommy slightly fortunately got his foot to a spilled pass as Camberley had to punt into touch 10 yards from their own line. Penalties again were Chob’s downfall as Camberley were able to clear into midfield. A concerted drive from a lineout took Camberley to Chob’s 25-yard line before being halted and Chob getting a fortunate scrum. Pressure in the front row drew another penalty to Camberley but in their haste to finish the game off they wasted the chance with a knock-on.

 

This time the home scrum held firm and Chris broke out in the centre, and Rhys was on his shoulder to carry play to the other 25-yard line and win a penalty in return. This time the shot at goal was taken but drifted just right.

 

Chobham were lax under the restart and Camberley pounced to regain possession. Somehow Chob pinched it back though and Gideon lofted a familiar cross field kick. The lucky recipient this time was debutant Kyle taking a great over the shoulder catch and having the legs to beat his man in the corner. Chob had taken the lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

 

For a second time the restart was grabbed by Camberley as they went looking for a redeeming score. Chobham had other ideas though and the defence held firm keeping Camberley at arm’s length and the discipline at break down and offside much improved. Slowly Chob drove Camberley into their own territory, mainly without the ball but with terrier tackling. It was from a Chob scrum that the game was broken open as the pack turned over possession on the Camberley 25 and Akin was able to dot down at full stretch to make it 10-3.

 

Into injury time now and Chob were able to control the game and keep their opponents in front of them as they had to play more expansively to hit back. A scoring chance for Chob was chalked off for a forward pass to bring a Camberley scrum on the last play. For the first time all game the pack was able to best their opponents at the scrum to nick one against the head. One pass to George and he was able to jink through the visitors and add a third try for Chobham to the delight of the whole squad as most of the rest of the Colts who didn’t make the match day squad raced onto the pitch to join the celebrations.

 

It wasn’t pretty, but Chob had dogged it out and found a way to win, taking the latest fixture between two well matched sides 15-3.

 

Squad Aran, Rhys, MattW, Danny, Kyle, GeorgeO, Harry, Dan, Charlie, Harrison, MattN, Oliver, Akin, Tommy, Doug, Billy, Cooper, Theo, Gideon, Saxon, Chris.

 

Chobham Colts take Effingham Close

It was back to the bread and butter of the fifteen man game for the Colts on Sunday, with a trip to Effingham & Leatherhead who have had the sign over Chobham in recent seasons. It would be interesting to see how the impacts of switching straight to Under 18 rugby and RFU restrictions on player game time over a weekend would affect Sunday fixtures.

 

Chobham were certainly keen to get into the E&L side as they were penalised for being in front of the kicker right from the get go. An attacking line drew a second penalty and E&L were 5 yards out in the blink of an eye. With the E&L coach calling the plays like American Football from the touch line the home side tried for a front peel lineout to one of their impact runners and Chobham had a scrum. Safe ball allowed the clearing kick but the wind was very much against Chob’ in the opening half and E&L were able to maintain pressure in and around the attacking 25-yard line.

 

E&L were struggling at the lineout and Chob’ managed to pinch another but apparently via a knock-on and the boys were under the pump again on their own line. E&L looked to move play one out from the ruck over several phases but Chob discipline around the goal line was top class and E&L could find no way through over several phases. Play moved across field and to the right of the posts where E&L finally tried to use the ball in the wider channels and went over for a 7-0 lead.

 

From the restart Chob were pinged again and E&L had territory and possession far too easily. E&L were unable to take advantage and the increasingly wet conditions weren’t favouring handling as Chob’, playing mainly without the ball, were able to put pressure on home ball carriers and force them back into their own half. More pressure brought about another handling error and Chob’ turned the ball over. With the home defence having to react a couple of passes left was enough for George to scoot round his man and score around the 15-yard line. A good conversion into the wind then brought the scores level at 7-7.

 

The game continued to play out mainly in the Chob’ half with clearing kicks struggling in the breeze, but the E&L back three weren’t confident under the high ball which helped Chob keep them at bay for a while. With most of the half over Chob’ were clinging to a 7-7 which would set them up well for the second period, but another penalty was their downfall as E&L barrelled in from close range and a conversion from wide out restored their 7 point lead.

 

In the final couple of minutes Andy managed a half break on the wing and Chob’ won a couple of penalties for themselves as they started to pressure E&L at the ruck who were forced to hang on in the tackle.

 

The second half began with E&L kicking to Chob’ who gallantly allowed the home side to try and grab it straight back but luckily a knock on led to a Chobham scrum. The clearing kick missed touch and E&L managed to return it back to the Cho’ 25 where they now won a penalty. Strangely for a friendly the home side decided to kick the three points, perhaps the Chob’ defence was starting to wear them down, but it did give them a 10-point advantage at 17-7.

 

Chob’, with the breeze now behind them, had the better of the territory now, but E&L still looked dangerous if Chob’ gave them an inch with one drive and skilful offloading took them into the Chob red zone.

 

The boys in blue were no mugs at working the ball in the tight spaces as the forwards made good ground driving close to the breakdown. Teo also reacted quickly to a loose ball from a scrum that MattW latched onto and blazed a trail into the green and yellow back line. E&L were camped on their line by now and were penalised seven yards out after Chob’ were stopped a yard short.

 

A tap penalty kept the momentum flowing and after working right over several phases had dragged the defence in the backs darted left and a neat pass out of the tackle from MaxA was the key that unlocked space for Fin to cross and bring the scores close once more. Another conversion kept up the 100% success rate for both kickers and Chob’ were within 3 points and with time to put real pressure on the opposition.

 

Chob were soon on the front foot again and driving for the line from an attacking lineout that bobbled around before being tidied. Chob’ still had the ball and tried to use the space out wide but one of the E&L backs read the move and stole an interception to streak home untouched under the posts and restore the 10 point lead for the home side.

 

Chob’ now had to put that score to one side and go again. To their credit they kept E&L pinned back and created a good chance for Fin once more before Aran was held two yards shy of the line. Then from a penalty 5 yards out the ref was in the 9-10 channel and copped the ball in the face which unfortunately snuffed out the attack. With Chob’ having to chase points E&L managed to turn over possession and were able to clear their lines and have an attacking spell of their own with time almost done. A kick to the 25 yard line and a driving maul was driven into touch and that was the final action of the game.

 

That the day ended in a 24-14 defeat can be tempered by all the boys getting plenty of match time and the combination of the two squads from last year into a single unit showed definite promise against strong opposition. Just a week to recover from any knocks and sprains as next Sunday is a trip to Farnham against another familiar foe.

 

Squad: Rhys, Lewis, George, MaxA, Andy, Aran, Harry, Dan, Charlie, Harrison, Callum, MattN, Fin, Tommy, Doug, Jack, Ben, Billy, MaxM, Teo, Sam, Keaton, Saxon, MattW.

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Quins Cup drama for U16s

Surrey RFU schedules a post-Christmas cup competition with four groups leading to a Finals Day at Esher for the best ranked teams. After much shenanigans, the Finals Day format was settled as two 20 minute each way Semis, followed by Final and Bronze matches. Chob found themselves as top seeds by dint of 3 bonus point group fixtures giving them a Semi-Final against Old Wimbledonians, the other match being Effingham v Reeds. OW and Effingham had played out a 12-12 draw in the main Waterfall Cup final the previous week so it was clear it would be a tough day at the office for the boys.

 

Rarely, there was no previous fixture against OW so this was breaking new ground. The scale of thee challenge came clear very quickly as OW scored from the first kick-off. They worked their big hitters in midfield to drive back the defence before creating a gap out wide. The first tackle was made but good support allowed a score under the posts and an immediate 7-0 lead.

 

Things didn’t immediately improve with the restart going straight out and OW getting a scrum on halfway. OW continued to work the fringes and Chob conceded a penalty which OW duly kicked into the Chob 25. Chob’ pressure breaking quickly led to Gideon poaching another interception and haring off up field. He was finally into touch 10 yards short. OW made a mess of the line and Dan dived to pouch the loose ball. Chob then showed composure at the ruck to recycle before Al drilled over and Gideon levelled at 7-7.

 

OW were unphased and kept the pressure on. From a Chob line they managed to hack down field to the Chob 25. They attacked hard in midfield from a scrum and managed to cross near the posts to open up a 7 point lead again.

 

In the run up to half-time Chob had steadied and driven into the OW 25. A throw to the second pod and forward drive got close before the backs opened up with Jack getting to within a couple of yards. OW had conceded a penalty and quick thinking put Chris through a half gap to level things at 14-14 at half-time.

 

 

The second half became very much an arm wrestle. OW certainly shaded the possession, but the Chob defence was immaculate to keep them at bay. OW had one phase near the Chob line after Chob had initially stolen a lineout, the blue line stretched but didn’t break and they forced OW back to the s25 yard line. It seemed that the game would go the way of OW, as they had scored first.

 

Chob managed to win two penalties in quick succession to reach midfield. OW were clearly nervous too as they knocked on to give Chob a scrum with a couple of minutes left. Gideon once again darted through a gap and Adam was right with him. The pack piled in behind and got to within 5 yards. The move broke down but Chob had a pen advantage from a ruck. All on the touchline were yelling for a kick at goal but the boys were obviously in control and didn’t need any help. Gideon slotted the kick and Chob were ahead for the first time with no more than a minute to play.

 

A good high restart was in blue hands and it became like a match on TV. A couple of hit ups from the forwards kept hold and with the ref verbally counting the seconds down the final phase was safely negotiated and a punt into the next field confirmed Chobham as finalists by an extremely narrow margin. News from the adjacent pitch came through that Reeds had also squeaked through scoring the only points with a try in the last minute so it would be Reeds against Chobham in the final on the main pitch.

 

To the final then, and an opportunity to avenge the single point defeat at Whiteley Village earlier this season. To say that put in their most mature performance would be an understatement. Reeds kicked off and ended with a lineout on the Chobham 10 yard line. Chobham were in their faces from the get go, with Fin closing down everything from the back of the line. This was Reeds only trip into Chobham territory for 20 minutes as they were smothered every time they managed to win some possession. First up tackling in the backline snuffed out any chance of a break whilst the forwards knocked back everything around the fringes with Al’s red scrum hat at the forefront of the defensive effort.

 

Gideon went down to a nasty ankle injury at the midway point of the first half. After trying valiantly to continue he had to concede defeat and Harry stepped in at scrum-half from the wing.

 

Chobham finished the first period camped in the Reeds 25. The pack ground down to the 5 yard line drawing a penalty. A quick tap almost made it but play was halted for a head injury. From the resulting scrum the pack once more went to work. They were a couple of feet short when Al gave it the ‘eagle eyes Action Man’ look and spotted the smallest of gaps to reach the line for his second of the day and establish a 5 point lead on the whistle.

 

 

The second half continued in similar style to the first. Reeds were restricted to their own half as the defensive shift across the park showed no sign of easing. Reeds tried to work their big 13 into gaps but he was gang tackled every time and had no option to offload.

 

The Reeds scrum was under pressure and rushed hands ended with a Reeds head nodding the ball into George’s hands. As the defence had to turn and scramble Chobham were awarded a penalty. It was George who stepped up this time to extend the lead to 8 points meaning Reeds needed two scores to win. The fans were now checking their watches every few seconds as Reeds tried to get back in the game. Chob were content to keep things tight as the forwards discipline at the ruck burned down the clock.

 

With a couple of minutes injury time played Reeds had a line on halfway. They won another penalty and Chob were taken 10 yards back for clinging on after the whistle. The Reeds line was messy and a Chobham foot punted the ball into touch, the referee blowing for the end of the match.

 

A superb effort by the whole squad who had probably gone into the semi-finals as outsiders but had dug deep and scrapped to a fine victory, to the delight of the coaches and head of Surrey Youth Rugby.

 

 

Squad: Adam, MaxM, Dan, Andy, Doug, Callum, MaxA, Matty, Adam, Saxon, Harrison, Ben, Gideon Aran, Fin, Chris, Charlie, Jack, Harry, George Rhys, Billy, Connor.

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Backs to the front for U16 As while Bs share spoils with Farnham

With the onset of April it was time for the annual jamboree that is the Surrey Waterfall Cup Finals Day, played this year at Dorking. The B squad had a Treasurer’s Shield Final against London Irish, with the As having to contend with a Bronze play-off in the President’s Plate.

 

The Bs opened the day in confident mood, having beaten Irish already this season. The intensity was high and they looked dangerous with the ball and able to snuff out Irish advances without it. The first attack into the Irish 25 came from Harrison, with Keaton on his shoulder, which ended with a Chob’ penalty 5 out. The initial tap and drive was held but the ball came to Andy out wide who cut an acute angle over the line, adding the conversion himself for a 7-0 advantage.

 

Tom bravely gathered a high restart under pressure from two Irish players and laid it back perfectly for Saxon to carry into the green half. Forwards and backs worked together as Ben burst through in midfield ably supported by Teo and Sam and play was right back on the Irish line. The ball came back cleanly and Samuel was over in the corner to increase the lead to 12 points.

 

Irish now had their first trip to the red zone only to lose the ball in a tackle and Daniel made the clearing kick. After a couple of exchanges in midfield Chob’ won a turnover and Andy appeared from nowhere moving at a pace that nobody remembers Pete having. None in the defence could lay a hand on him and Chob’ were 3 tries to the good at 17-0.

 

The opposition had seen enough now and for the remainder of the first half they were in the ascendancy. They managed to set a pattern of play to carry around the fringes and draw in the blue defenders. This pattern led directly to their first try with a rumble over and then right on the whistle a quickly taken penalty inside the Chob’ 25 gave them their second score. After playing so well for the opening 20 minutes Chob’ only had a 7 point lead at the break.

 

The second half began as a much tighter affair, neither side being able to land any serious blows. After 15 minutes though Chob’ were undone by another quickly taken tap penalty with someone in a green shirt wriggling over to cut the lead to just a couple of points.

 

Chobham now had to regroup or face the prospect of letting a comfortable lead slip completely. To their credit this is exactly what happened. The forwards moved into the 25 before Danny ghosted through and only a high tackle stopped him going over. Opting for the scrum it was Olly popping up at number 8 who had the strength to wrestle over the line to extend the lead to 7 points once more as Samuel hit the crossbar from wide out.

 

Irish now had to hit back and managed to do so very quickly. Putting pressure on the restart they were halted on the 25 yard line initially but they persevered and found a gap right in the corner to close to 2 points once more.

 

With 10 minutes to go it was anyone’s guess who would come out on top. Chob’ were pretty sure it was going to be them as a strong effort from the pack again took them into Irish territory. Irish tried to counter but Lewis held on to a loose ball and carried back into the Irish 25, winning a penalty at the breakdown. Ewen took the quick tap and Callum was on his shoulder to barrel over. Samuel was on target and the boys had a two score lead again.

 

In the closing minutes Irish huffed and puffed but the blue defence was solid, ultimately seeing the ball off on the final whistle to take the Shield with a well-earned 29-20 victory.

 

The As fixture against Vandals was no match for the tension of the earlier game as Chob leapt out to an early 10-0 lead as pace and precision gave Jack two early scores. A third try came soon after with the Vandals losing possession from a scrum on their line. Jack had the assist this time as the back-line made simple passing create an overlap on the left for Adam to stroll round under the posts.

 

Pressure on the full-back led to a fourth try as a deep kick had the Vandals 15 scrambling. An attempted clearing kick as he was scragged didn’t go far. Max was right there following up to calmly gather the ball and cross over for his first try for the A squad, the cue for great celebration amongst his team-mates.

 

 

It wasn’t all one way traffic as Vandals stemmed the flow of points and got on the board themselves just before the interval. Good support play committed enough of the Chob’ defence for one of the centres to score near the posts making it 24-7 on the whistle.

 

Chob’ didn’t waste much time in scoring at the start of the second period. A safe catch from Matt and a forwards drive drew the defence in a little narrow. Sharp passing out the Rhys on the far wing and what looked like a narrow overlap doing the business.

 

Vandals centre then got his second from a rare attack. The fly-half made a break and offloaded as he was brought down to cut the lead to 29-14. Any thoughts of a comeback were short-lived as Chobham forced a spill from the restart. Fin at 12 cut a great line to close on the line. It was the forwards this time who crossed the whitewash with Olly driving over, pushing the lead to 20 points.

 

As with the first half Vandals managed to stop the bleeding and Chob’ rang the changes to give the full squad plenty of game time. It was from one of these changes that the next points eventually came with Ewen on at 10, George made a break at inside centre being hauled down a couple of yards short. A couple of quick phases later Connor was over to make absolutely sure of the win.

 

The game seemed to be winding to a conclusion but a trademark Gideon interception around halfway kicked the scoreboard into action again, and there was still time for Rhys to cross for his second, on the left this time dancing round his opposite number and scooting round under the posts. With the conversion successful the ref blew for time and Chobham had run out 53-14 victors.

 

B Squad: Daniel, Samuel, Lewis, Keaton, Andy, Ewen, Sam, Billy, Harrison, Ben, Max, Harvey, Tom, Teo, Saxon, Jack, GeorgeC, Danny, Rhys, Callum, Olly.

 

A Squad: Jack, Adam, Aran, Fin, Rhys, GeorgeO, Gideon, Billy, Charlie, Olly, Callum, Matt, Al, Harrison, Doug, Connor, Max, Ewen, Andy.

 

 

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Backs to the front for U16 As while Bs share spoils with Farnham

With BST kicking in only hours before it was typical summer weather at Fowlers Wells on Sunday…cold and windy. It was the final Cup group fixtures for the U16s with the As facing Chipstead and the Bs hosting Farnham. Farnham were a very well-known opposition but for Chipstead there was just a single U12s game to look back on, in fact the first 15-a-side full pitch for Chob’ which ended in a 25-0 victory.

 

 

Chipstead had some big units, and tried to use them early from a number 8 pick but the home defence was ready. From the next phase a loose Chipstead pass was scooped by Chris who was able to go half the pitch unchallenged and open the scoring. Within minutes it was 14-0 as Chobham’s tight play ensured steady possession for the backs. It was Chris again who went over following a deft chip from Aran at fly-half.

 

Chobham almost capitalised on another loose pass as Harry was away clear down the wing before being cruelly brought down by a shot from the grassy knoll, or the portacabin anyway, giving the defence time to recover.

 

 

It wasn’t long before the lead was extended however as Rhys broke left from a missed clearance and Adam was on the end of the move to score on the left.

 

Chipstead kept trying to get into the game with a couple of big carries in midfield, and the scrum half being very busy. Chobham were in the mood by now though and the backs were running great supporting lines. It was Fin next to cross finishing off just such a move. Chipstead were struggling now and when Matt caught the restart and put Olly on the attack the fifth try came immediately, Chris finishing off a first half hat trick.

 

It was now that Chipstead had their best spell of the game. Chob were pinned back near their line after conceding a penalty. The visitors looked to work from lineout and scrum but the defensive line was up to the task even if it took a couple of tacklers to drive back on occasion, the pressure finally relieved when Chips were isolated at a ruck.

 

The forwards had been watching the backs have all the glory to now, but before half-time they decided it was their turn. Chob had a lineout deep in the 25 and Al’s throw was on the money, as it was all game, hitting Doug as second jumper. Dan peeled from the front and as he hit the pod the blue and yellow line had a gap big enough to plough through and extend the lead. There was still time in the first half to go again and Fin crossed wide out for his second.

 

The second half continued in much the same vein as Chipstead struggled manfully against a team that had really hit their straps this week. The handling between forwards and backs was as good as at any point this season which in turn led to several more scores as Adam, Rhys with a brace, Gideon and finally Aran kept the scoreboard ticking. The result means that Chobham look to be in the Harlequins Cup final in a couple of weeks with hopefully the form carrying through the next fortnight.

 

The squads swapped places and it was Farnham who stepped out to face the boys from Chobham. The opening minutes made it clear this would be a much closer affair as neither side managed to get the upper hand and the penalty count was high on both sides. The opening score came from a series of penalties at the breakdown against Chob. The visitors’ lineout in the Chob half was solid and gave the opportunity to drive into midfield. The home defence was scrambling and conceded another penalty close in. Farnham took full opportunity and scored under the posts to take a 7-0 lead.

 

The lead was short-lived however as Teo did what a good 7 should and popped up to intercept a pass from the scrum half to reply with Samuel levelling up at 7-7.

 

It was Farnham who struck back just before the break, opting for a penalty kick just inside the 25 to make the score 7-10 on the whistle.

 

The second period opened with Chobham keeping Farnham out along the home 25. Chob pinched a scrum against the head and the ball quickly reached MattW on the right wing. Using all of his pace Matt carried into Farnham territory before being brought down. Cruelly the ball popped sideways out of the ruck and the Farnham scrum half was first to react. Spotting a narrow blindside channel he set off and had enough pace of his own to make it all the way and under the posts, giving Farnham a ten point cushion.

 

Farnham let the kick-off bounce and had a lineout on their 25 yard line. Teo was up to his usual tricks again and poached another interception. Harvey was on hand to carry close to the line, but it was George, or G-Man to his team mates, who crossed the whitewash and open his Chobham account and half the deficit.

 

In a high intensity game against local rivals a squabble briefly broke out, but it was settled quickly with Chobham having a scrum. Now normally the rules are that if the ball bounces it should be a ‘home’ bounce but not in these crucial minutes as Farnham extended the lead back to 10 points.

 

Chobham now pinned Farnham back and took play to 5 yards out. It seemed as if they then managed to get over but the ref came back for a 5 yard scrum to Chob. A couple of minutes later the boys did hit back as the forwards pressed once more. Billy was held just short and Harrison finished things off. The wind was now making kicking difficult and the conversion went wide meaning Chob still needed a try to get something from the fixture.

 

Farnham tightened their game up and kept working around the fringes running down the clock. It was Andy who won the ball back and Chob found themselves on halfway with a penalty. A quick tap and a couple of passes later Daniel was in space and behind the black and white line. He beat the covering full-back and tied things up in the corner at 22-22, with maybe a minute to play.

 

Chob tried to chase a winning score but in desperation were penalised one final time, after much better second half discipline. Farnham again took the kick option but the wind won and the final result was the 22-22 draw, which leaves the B squad agonisingly shy of the Waterfall Cup main final on 7th April.

 

A Squad: Rhys, Adam, Fin, Chris, Harry, Aran, Gideon, Dan, Harrison, Olly, Callum, Max, MattN, Al, Doug, Teo.

 

B Squad: Daniel, MattW, Keaton, Saxon, Andy, Danny, Sam, Billy, Lewis, Finn, GeorgeC, Jules, Tom, Teo, Harvey, Harrison, Max.

U16 As just miss out in 80 point thriller at Amersham

Chobham U16 As ventured up country on Sunday to Amersham & Chiltern RFC looking to mix up the opposition from the usual more local sides we all know and love. A quick glance through the records showed three previous meetings at Marlow festival with a 2-1 winning record back to U7s but with A&C topping the Berks, Bucks and Oxon league it would clearly be a stern test for the squad.

 

How right this proved to be in the opening minutes. Chob’ tried to take play to A&C from the kick-off but were kept out comfortably and the hosts as A&C used their considerable size advantage and well-drilled handling to put Chob’ under pressure. A lineout followed by a challenging run from the big second row was enough to create just enough room in the corner for the opening score.

 

From the restart Chob’ turned the ball over and Adam was close but A&C very quickly turned defence into attack where this time the 5 was able to go over himself to push the lead to 10-0. At this point Harry succumbed to a back injury and Chob had used their only replacement with Connor coming on despite being unwell.

 

Again Chob’ tried to put the pressure on from the kick with some monster tackles going in and Chris making a half break. A&C were able to turn a handling error to their benefit to stretch the lead to 15-0 with barely 10 minutes played.

 

At this stage it was looking bleak as A&C pounded away at the Chob’ line but the defence held strong and the green shoots of recovery just began to appear. It was A&C who coughed up the ball at the breakdown next and a clearing cross-kick from Doug turned the hosts’ backline with Chob having a lineout in A&C territory. Al tidied well at the back and the three quarters moved right into the home 25. A couple of hit ups got close before a one out pass to Aran who managed to dance through by the posts to hit back to 15-7.

 

A brief lull in the scoring then followed as both teams huffed and puffed, A&C using their big ball carriers and Chob’ trying to play wider in the channels.

 

With just over 30 minutes played Harrison was out with an ankle injury and A&C were asked to help keep the sides even. Chob’ lost the ball from a lineout and with A&C making few mistakes they stretched the lead once more to 22-7 through the backs. It was 29-7 before the break as another A&C attack was finished off by a bullocking run under the posts. There was much to discuss in the huddle as the boys were once more staring at a heavy defeat.

 

Early in the second half Chob’ were forced to ask for more assistance with Connor having to pull out. Thankfully whatever went on at half-time had been absorbed as Chob’ scored first in the second half. Chris burst onto a ball from the scrum, which was rock solid all game once more leading to a 5 yard scrum. This time Fin cut the attacking line in midfield, drawing the defence. With a quick ruck catching the defence committed in the middle Rhys was able to make it to the line in the corner to close the lead to 17.

 

A&C weren’t going to take this lightly and forced themselves into the red zone very quickly. A penalty against Chob’ taken quickly was the half chance they needed to extend the lead again to 34-12.

 

A missed kick for touch from A&C was taken on the move by Aran. He was held up in the A&C half but smuggled the ball away to Chris who had too much gas for the defence to streak up the touchline and round behind the posts. 19-34.

 

The game was getting increasingly frenetic now as both sides gave everything they had. Chob’ conceded a penalty but the A&C kick was too long and into the in-goal area. With what can best be described as ‘naïve’ play instead of dotting down for a drop out the ball was kicked back to A&C who had 15 yards of space to run into and take the score to 19-39. With the Chob’ lads giving a bit of a send-off to the naïve player there was a reshuffle as another sub was sought. The lads were clearly riled now as their intensity seemed to climb another couple of notches.

 

Aran pinched the restart and the forwards piled in behind to drive well into the 25. From the ruck a short pass to Chris put him in again to cut the lead to 26-39.

 

The kick-off bounced from Dan to Matt which seemed to pull the A&C chase quite narrow. Two simple passes were all that was needed to put Gideon into space. Once more Chob’ pace prevailed and it was only a six point game at 33-39.

 

A&C kept on running hard but the defence was now much more active and stepping up to make the tackles, subs from the hosts included. A home bounce almost gets them in the corner but Adam stood firm. A&C tried again down the hill but were kept out in front of the posts. As the home back line moved right Adam intercepted a slow pass in the Chob’ 25 and streaked virtually the length of the field to dot down under the posts. Chob’ got lucky as A&C charged and the first kick went wide, but some of their players were on the halfway line. The second attempt sailed through and dramatically Chob’ now had a 40-39 lead from nowhere less than 15 minutes earlier.

 

The home side were rattled now as they conceded a penalty from a good position near the Chob’ line to be marched back 10 more yards for lip. Chob’ now had the ball in midfield but couldn’t engineer what would surely have been a winning score. A&C recovered their composure and showed why they looked to be unbeaten all season as they forced Chob’ steadily back to their goal line. It was the scrum-half who managed to get over as the defensive guards had finally been drawn in and A&C were back in the lad at 46-40.

 

With a couple of minutes to go Chob’ had to pull one final effort together. Pressure on scrum and half backs gave them a glimmer of a chance that led to a lineout on the 25. Sadly a knock-on midfield gave A&C a scrum on the final play. Taking the option to kick the ball dead showed how relieved they were to drag themselves off the pitch with a narrow victory. Both sides had contributed to an incredibly entertaining contest played with the supporters exhausted never mind how tired the players must have felt.

 

Squad: Rhys, Adam, Fin, Chris, Harry Aran, Gideon, Dan, Charlie, Olly, Matt, Max, Al, Harrison, Doug, Connor.

6

U16s ‘Royal tour’ a success on and off the pitch

It was tour time for the Under 16s last weekend. Being GCSE year it was a trimmed down one night tour visiting Royal Leamington Spa. There was however as much if not more rugby on offer with matches on Saturday and Sunday.

 

First stop was Leamington RFC where a B squad took on the hosts, while an A squad came up against Old Leamingtonians from very nearby.

 

Both fixtures were extremely competitive as the boys tried to figure out how to play in the strong wind blowing across the pitches.

 

Leamington scored first with a cross-kick taking an extremely favourable bounce for the wing to go over, opening a 7-0 lead. The hosts and visitors were trading blows as Chob’ held their own against the Leamington’s first choice squad. It was Leamington however who crossed again out wide with a very good conversion making it 14-0 at the first of two breaks.

 

Chob’ struck back in the second period after an extended spell near the home line. A 5 yard scrum gave the backline the space to develop an opening and following a couple of phases it was Saxon who made the pass to Daniel to score the third try in the same corner. This time it was Samuel chasing the extra points. A drop goal effort swayed like a drunk up a hotel corridor before going over and the lead was back to just 7.

 

 

Chob were now in the ascendancy and kept plugging away to find an equalising score. The hosts weren’t in generous mood on the field and soaked up everything Chob could throw at them.

 

Leamington were able to turn their chances into points, benefitting from the odd mistake as Chob’ battled to get on terms. The final whistle came with Leamington as 33-7 winners which was scant reward for the effort and possession that the Chobham lads had carved out.

 

On the next door pitch Chob were taking on Old Leamingtonians, fierce local rivals to our hosts. OL were clearly a well-drilled side who had a defined game plan that relied on close runners sucking in the defence before releasing the ball into a scrambling cover. This was well suited to the windy conditions, while Chob were attempting to play a more expansive game to stretch OL early. The opening score was a real throwback move, with OL getting a penalty near the Chob line. A 3 man pivot close to the scrum-half was looking to confuse the defence. The initial crash ball was resisted, but the follow up was able to squeeze over to take a 5-0 lead.

 

Chob’ found themselves struggling at the breakdown with the ref very quick to blow the ball carrier for holding on, and as a result couldn’t get any lengthy spells of territory or possession to strike back.

 

The second period was dotted with some very good OL kicking using the wind to pin Chob back in their half. A second try for OL came from a loose ball in midfield with OL beating some rare soft tackles to score between the sticks.

 

So 12-0 down, but Chob’ were starting to dictate the play a little, the set piece scrum being rock solid and the lineout picking off a few OL throws. Chob’s opening score came from a missed clearing kick from OL. Harry set off back into OL territory, ably supported by the backline. The forwards worked through a handful of phases which had the defence in disarray. It then needed Dan, Chris and Doug to draw their man and pass to give Aran plenty of room to go over and bring the score to 12-5 at the second break.

 

 

The final period was as tight as the first two. OL got close with an 8 pick but were held up. Then with the first blemish at the scrum going against the head the OLL wing took the pass and barrelled over to stretch the lead to 17-5. Time was now running out but Chob’ scored next from a quick penalty. Akin going over after Rhys was stopped inches short. Gideon added the conversion and it was a 5 point game.

 

OL must have been feeling the pressure as they spilled the restart, a very rare handling error. Chob’ got close to the line but were denied despite their best efforts and OL ran out narrow winners 17-12.

 

If you thought that was the end of Saturday’s entertainment you could not have been more wrong. Many of the Dad’s now took the field, courtesy of a variety of brand new boots and borrowed kit that the boys had grown out of! Mixing in with Leamington a curtain raiser was played ahead of the Wales v Ireland match. Well it was probably a better watch than Italy v France. Plenty of tries were scored with Dave and Andre cropping up regularly on the score sheet. Not sure the final result, but it’s safe to say that Deep Heat and port were the winners.

 

 

Well rested after a good night’s rest, the boys made a short trip to Barkers Butts near Coventry to play the home side and Telford who had travelled for a friendly fixture. After some confusion early on for the supporters, with both opposition sides playing in black and gold hoops the opening match was played against Telford. The Sunday fixtures were played as a combined mixed squad with plenty of rolling subs.

 

Chobham were out of the blocks extremely quickly with Akin, Fin and Harry all going over and Gideon adding the conversions so it was 21-0 at the end of the half. Turning round Telford made a better fist of things, Harrison, Teo, Charlie and Lewis all making nuisances of themselves in black and gold. Andy showed what pace his old man used to have to extend the lead to 26-0 before Telford got on the score sheet on the whistle with a blindside break following a charge from the obligatory big kid giving a final score of 26-5.

 

To the final action of the trip against Barker’s Butts who have a Warwickshire Cup final in a couple of weeks, so it would clearly be a tricky contest.

 

Under darkening skies the opening exchanges were even. After 10 minutes a torrential hailstorm brought a temporary halt to proceedings, with both sets of backs cowering behind the posts.

 

 

At the recommencement Chob’ were right on the BB line and Charlie was over in the corner to open up a narrow 5 point lead.

 

Into the second period and BB with the wind play tight and make good ground around the fringes before kicking deep. The clearance was charged down and then hit a BB head before nestling into a BB players arms to level things at 5-5.

 

With the kick hanging nicely MattN pouched the restart and Harrison burst through to the 25. Quick rucking gave BB no time to react and Fin powered through a gap to reach the line and hit back immediately with a 12-5 advantage.

 

BB now had to hit back once more. From a high swirling kick BB got a foot to a bouncing ball and hacked deep into the Chob’ half. Chob conceded a scrum and BB moved wide immediately, creating an overlap against a narrow blue defensive line to cut the deficit to 12-10.

 

With very little time left Chob were able to pin BB back from the kick-off and win a scrum. Again this had been rock solid all day whoever was involved. Chris committed both centres and Fin took a pop ball to crash into the BB 25. Olly then got his hands on the ball and took the game to a couple of yards of the try line. Harrison was first to react and had the strength to carry a couple of tacklers over the line and extend the lead to 17-10. The ref called full-time after the missed conversion and Chob had won 17-10.

 

 

So ended another great tour with the boys all gelling across both squads and relative newcomers Jack and George picking up the ways of Chobham touring at the first attempt.

 

Boys Squad: Akin, Andy, Aran, Ben, Billy, Callum, Charlie, Chris, Dan, Daniel, Doug, Fin, Finn, GeorgeC, Gideon, Harrison, Harry, Harvey, JackP, Lewis, MattN, Max, Olly, Rhys, Samuel, Saxon, Teo, Tommy.

 

Dads Squad: Andre, Andy, David, Doug, Ed, Jamie, Matt, Pete, Simon, Steve, Will                .

u16

U16s take European scalp in International fixture

 

 

A mixed squad of Chobham U16s hosted Tatra Smichov on Saturday, a team from Prague in the Czech Republic. Our old friend Diego is now based in Prague and this fixture was arranged as part of a pre-season tour for TS with their season being the Spring and Autumn months. The visitors were fresh from a weekend training session at home and a session with Quins the previous day so were looking to put what they had learned into a live game.

 

TS kicked off and the opening minutes were back and forth as neither side could maintain any extended possession. Chob’ had the territorial advantage for the most, and a crosskick led to a TS lineout deep in their own 25. TS won their own ball but it was allowed to bounce around on their own line. Teo was the first to react and pounced on it to open the scoring with the hosts taking a 5-0 lead.

 

At the restart a grubber kick down the touchline looked to pin TS in their own half once more, but a knock on led to a scrum to the visitors. It became clear that part of the messages of pre-season was close support play and keeping the ball in hand. TS made good ground with short passes committing defenders, a tactic used to good effect all match. A TS lineout again worked to Chob’s advantage as a loose throw was hacked downfield and Chob’s chase put the defence under pressure in their own 25. Chob’ won a turnover and a chip over from Gideon took a very friendly bounce and Aran leaped above the TS full-back to double the try count. Gideon added the conversion and the lead was 12-0.

 

The visitors continued to play their game and by forcing a couple of penalties were in the Chob 25 for the first time. A loose pass from Chob in the middle of the park was neatly picked up by the TS centre and he ran in under the posts to peg the score back to 12-7.

 

Chob’ were stung by this score and immediately struck back. A kick away from the forwards ended in a TS scrum in defence. Pressure on the scrum-half led to a turnover and Charlie popped up to make the scoring pass to MattW wide out in the far corner, restoring the 10 point advantage.

 

There was still time for another score before half-time as TS pressed again. A break in centre field looked enough to hit back, but Saxon recovered to make a tackle. The support was quickly on hand and TS scored in the corner themselves to bring the score at the turnaround to 17-12.

 

Opening up the second half TS started to get their big ball carriers into play as much as possible. The hosts had to make a trademark backs to the wall defensive stand to keep them out as TS battled to draw level. The defence finally won a vital turnover and the lines were cleared and Chob’ set about working up field for the first time in the second period. A Chobham break was intercepted 5 yards from the line and Tatra recovered to the 25 yard line before Chob’ again won the ball at the breakdown. A second kick through for Aran to chase was safely bagged and Chob had a 10 point advantage once more.

 

Chob’ then put together their best spell of play immediately from the kick-off. Lewis pouched the kick and set up play nicely for the back line to attack. Good forward support ensured the ball was recycled and a stretched defensive line was breached by clever passing between forwards and backs before Olly finished off the break. Chob’ were now 27-12 in front and Chob’ were able to try some new combinations as Harry stepped up from full-back to scrum half.

 

To their credit both sides showed real attacking intent as the game ebbed and flowed, the keeping kept to an absolute minimum. It was Gideon who broke the game with an interception in the middle of the park, and too much pace for Tatra to bring him down.

 

 

Tatra stuck at their task using big runners to break the line and using close support to capitalise on any gaps. From a penalty the crucial escape was almost made but GeorgeC managed to get a timely hand on a pass while scrambling back to limit the damage. Chob’ had a couple of attacks of their own but the visitors tackling was up to the task, the full-back in particular bringing Olly down as he burst through.

 

Chob’ did get on the scoresheet once more, from a scrum on the TS 25. Anyone of a certain age might remember the old Chobham ‘Lynagh’ move pinched from the ’89 Wallabies against the Lions. Gideon ran the full-back line in very similar style to score under the posts, adding the conversion to extend the lead to 41-12.

 

Tatra’s tactics bore fruit soon after however as the number one ball carrier broke through and passed to a team mate with real pace outside him to add a third visiting try.

 

 

With the clock running down Chob had one possible score ruled out for a knock on right on the line before a win against the head at a scrum in the Tatra half was moved out to MattW on an overlap and with plenty of space to add the final points of the match at 46-17.

 

The final couple of minutes saw Tatra trying to play out from deep, but the Chob’ defence kept them out of the danger area.

 

The final whistle blew on a thoroughly entertaining fixture as everyone settled in to watch the Six Nations on the big screen. Our guests finished their tour with a trip to Harlequins v Gloucester on Sunday before heading home for their first fixture at the end of March, “Nejlepší přání pro novou sezónu” from all at Chobham, I hope! If this is something inappropriate then blame Google!

 

Squad: Harry, Lewis, Saxon, Fin, MattW, Aran, Gideon, Dan, Charlie, Billy, Callum, Max, Tom, Teo, MattN, Olly, GeorgeC.