Chobham 24-14 Old Emanuel
Chobham Rugby Club, sponsored by Bray Wealth Management, followed up England’s fantastic victory in Yokohama with a great performance at Fowlers Wells – underwritten by the Cannons and Crusaders victories giving Chobham a triple win. Chobham hosted Old Emanuel’s from South West London in the RFU Leagues for the first time since last century, added to the excitement was the return of Chobham’s last season’s Director of Rugby Chris Dodd as Head Coach at Emanuel’s. Last week in training and during the warm up, in the driving rain, Billy Davison’s boys had worked on their defence in preparation for what was expected to be a tight game considering the conditions.
Connor Stuart, sponsored by Colours 123, and Ben Livingstone made their 1st XV debuts, as well as the return of prop Joe Reid and Matt Bosworth on the bench. Chobham’s slow start to the season went up a gear and from the get-go Chobham pack were in control, they dominated the earlier scrums and this week the line outs came together.
The wet conditions made for a tight game and unexpectedly there were few handling errors. From the start James Buchanan, sponsored by Woking Citizens Advice, maddened Emanuel’s with his pick and goes, he was also regularly jackalling the tackled player. With nearly 20 minutes gone, against the play Emanuel’s fly half Whiteley broke the line to score and then convert to give the visitors a 7-point lead. Emanuel’s used the wind well to keep the hosts pinned back, but the wave of attacks was well thwarted by Chobham’s sterling defence. Full back Liam Monoghan, sponsored by Timberline Partners LLP, covered the deep kicks from Emanuel’s to frustrate their attacks.
Early on the Davision’s coaching assistants Alex Waddingham and Ben Goldie, sponsored by Reflex and Relax, used the bench to keep the team fresh, with early swaps of Bosworth for Euan Buckland and Dave Evans, sponsored by Chobham Under 14s, for Pete McCain, sponsored by Route One Solutions.
In the centres Stuart and Tommy Reed had an expectedly quiet game as most of the play was in the tight. Despite this correspondent lauding Chobham’s performance it should be noted that the hosts defence was kept under constant pressure from Emanuel’s big runners Cooper and Dutch. Similarly, Reid, after his injury break, and Evans broke the game line to make Emanuel’s defence work hard.
Chobham’s dominance grew in the game, the first half last 5 minutes saw the hosts camped in Emanuel’s 22. Within a couple of minutes OEs had collapsed two scrums for Chobham penalties and given two penalties away for not rolling away. From the third penalty scrum with minutes to half the Chobham pack drove towards the line, with a pick and go Chris Kent, sponsored by Avtive8, drove for the line and crossed the chalk, John Rumsey, sponsored by XV Sports, added the points to draw level just before half time.
Straight from the restart Chobham fought back to get into Emanuel’s half, once in the visitors 22 their multiple phases the home boys won a penalty because Emanuel’s hooker Cowan did not roll away – to no one’s surprise he was yellow carded, and this allowed Rumsey to extend the lead to 10-7 for the half time break. As ever Jerry Rumball scampered around like a Jack Russell and his chop tackles regularly upset Emanuel’s line breaks. Captain Buckland pick and goes from the back of the scrum kept Emanuel’s on their back foot.
Chobham came out in the second half with similar intensity to where they had left off at the break, with 2 minutes gone Sean Bellion, sponsored by Owen Shipp Commercial, bulldozered over to score, again Rumsey added the extras to make it 17-7 with 42 minutes gone. Minutes later Livingstone’s try saving tackle raised the voice of the home supporters. For the second time this season backs replacement Oli Guy, sponsored by GCS Recruitment, came on in the back row and as ever made a nuisance of himself.
Davison said “the try of the match was from the top drawer – a bright line break from Bellion and delightful off-load saw wing, and full-time poacher, Josh Devitt scoot through under the posts to score” for the second week, following this Rumsey’s 100% accuracy from the boot took the score to 24-7 with only 6 minutes gone in the second half. Even though Robbie Kennard picked up an injury his mature and intelligent play kept him causing problems in the game, because he couldn’t run Emanuel’s did not wake up to the fact he would pass or box kick immediately
Emanuel’s raised their hopes with another line break try form their best player Whiteley to see him get his second try and follow it up with the conversion, 24-14 to Chobham. Tom Riley’s darts this week worked well with Kent and Buchanan’s jumps to control the lineout.
As the game got closer to the final whistle the crowds tensions gave way to celebration, the tight game of attrition chosen for the conditions was only going to excite the true traditionalists of the game. Chobham snuffed Emanuel’s efforts and the relief on and off the field continued after the game in the bar.
18-year-old Alfie George managed the game well above his age as a referee who dealt with the issues in the game. He negated the only serious bust up, which he and 99% of those in attendance missed, so succinctly in the 69th minute that the rest of the game was played without fear of any red mist.
Chobham’s man of the match was shared this week between lock James Buchanan and replacement front row Dave Evans.
After the game Head Coach Billy Davison said “Chobham adopted a pragmatic and direct approach to the challenge afforded by Old Emanuel. In heavy rain and high winds, the team stuck doggedly to the plan and, following a bright early try from the visitors, the match developed quickly into an old-fashioned arm wrestle. Maybe not one for fans of wide attacking play the performance was compelling, nonetheless.
The Chobham players of the forward variety have been making great strides in recent games and this match proved another step up. A dominant scrum, powerful drives and a patient and ruthless tight game provided the foundation for the team’s first victory of the season. Stopping the opposition score in past games has certainly been an area for development so great to see the Chobham team add a sprinkle of steel in their defence – restricting Old Emanuel to just two scores. Lots of work still to do but Chobham are up and running.
Well done also to the 2nd and 3rd teams (also victors) on Saturday – Chobham clean sweep!”
Chobham First Team have a break next weekend for the World Cup Final, but on Friday night the Chobham Under 21s travel away to Dorking for the next round of Surrey U21s Cup. In two weeks’ time the First XV travel to Twickenham RFC.
Monoghan; Livingstone; Reed; Stuart; Devitt; Rumsey; Kennard; McCain; Riley; Reid; Buchanan; Bellion; Kent; Rumball; Buckland ©
Game Changers: Evans; Bosworth; Guy
Tries: Kent, Bellion, Devitt
Conversion: Rumsey (3)