As Chobham kicked off in atrocious wet conditions at Old Cranleighans, who sat 8th in Counties 1 Surrey/Sussex, the already knew fellow title chasers Tiffs game a half a mile away on the other side of Thames Ditton had been called off due to flooding. The only change to the squad was flanker Ben Puttock coming into the eighteen for Magnus Barber.
Even though the rain had stopped there was a lot of surface water that made for lots of handling errors, despite this the Chobham pack dominated the set piece and gave captain Guy Mawhood a great platform to lay off. The visitors dominated the opening stages of the game it was OCs first foray into the Scarlet & Golds half saw the opening score. They attacked the left flank and the well organised pack following numerous pick and goes saw prop Fuller score. It wasn’t until half way through the opening half that Rumsey crossed in the right corner following straight hands to the wing from a breakdown under the posts.
About the half hour following continues visits to the home teams 22 by Chobham, the visitor let themselves down with ill-discipline and following a series of penalties were defending a 5m lineout. From the catch and drive OCs scrumhalf Sanderson sniped down the left wing to score in the corner and creep ahead again. This was half way through a 20-minute spell when we saw Chobham give penalty after penalty and the visitors were lucky not to see anyone in the sinbin. With 4 minutes left the referee penalised Chobham for arguing amongst themselves and finally they appeared to grow up. From a charge down by Chris Kent, Oli Guy chased the ball to touch down for a converted try. From the restart Chobham got a scrum on the halfway and Sam Davies ran the length of the pitch to score a converted try under the posts. Chobham went in 19-10 up at half time.
A few minutes into the second half OCs were penalised for not releasing the ball and Davies was able to put some more space between the teams with a penalty. With 10 minutes gone a great by Max Sambrook saw him pop to Davies for his second try of the day. The next quarter of an hour was hard to watch as neither team seemed to have an impact on the game, bt with 10 minutes to go the Scarlet & Golds woke up and an early pass by Tommy Reed released Josh Sheppard just outside his own 22 who then ran the length of the pitch to score a converted try. From the restart Chobham attacked and Mawhood on the halfway at a ruck saw the gap and ran under the posts for a converted try. Chobham were deserved 41-10 winners.
After the game Head Coach Billy Davison said “The Chobham 1st XV are certainly on an upward trajectory. With many players performing at an increasingly assured level the team again proved too strong for the spirited and tough opposition. Despite an early period marred by impatience and ill-discipline, the group found their feet and engineered some fine long-range scores. Some strong learnings, and another step towards the players’ goal of promotion. Well done to all.”
Assistant Coach Robbie Kennard said afterwards “A game of two halves. We struggled to manage the ref and made quite a few unforced errors in the first half. The second half we really controlled the game well and scored some good tries.
We are a team that are still developing and making good progress in our learnings. We have an important few weeks ahead and need to keep applying pressure on the top team Hove.”
Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “The score probably flattered Chobham a little, we were by far the better side but made hard work of it. It’s exciting to see the prospect of this run in for the season and could possibly be top of the league by the time Hove play again. We have a great squad of players and are still recruiting new players as success breeds success.
Elsewhere in the league top of the table Hove convincingly beat Walcountians 35-0, Twickenham won, on paper, the tightest game of the season 22-17 away at Vandals keeping them in touching distance of the top of the league. Bottom of the league Warlingham lost 24-16 to mid table Trinity.
After the stressful problem with numbers before Xmas, we have started the new year with good numbers and this weekend and The Cannons beat KCS Old Boys 2s 48-28 at Fowlers Wells in Surrey Championship, in Surrey Combination 1 The Crusaders beat Cranleigh 2s 80-7.
This coming Saturday 7th place Old Walcountians visit Fowlers Wells, as Hove have a the first of two weeks off, Chobham have the chance to close the gap at the top to one point – the following week the Scarlet & Golds host 9th place Kingston as they look for another 5-point win.
Starters: Angus Hargan; Sean Bellion; Pete McCain; Dan Benton; Chris Kent; Dan Warren; Ben Puttock; Sam Goddard; Guy Mawhood (C); Adam Peever; Josh Sheppard; Oli Guy;
Sam Davies; John Rumsey; Tommy Reed.
Game Changers: Leon Nell; Max Sambrook; Ollie Blackmur.