Match Report – Chobham vs Rosslyn Park from Paul Mitchell : “‘Bonus point win with 5 tries from the Backs but built on a foundation from the Forwards”.
What a difference a year makes. Having suffered a heavy defeat to Rosslyn Park last season this was a game that Chobham totally dominated. We found ourselves on the banks of the Thames on an overcast day and a moist pitch. As the first game of the year there was an optimism that shone through the gloom. It was a new season in a new division with a new belief. A belief that been instilled by all the additional work done by the coaches and the extra fitness and coaching clearly paid dividends in this encounter and bodes well for the rest of the season. This could be a beautiful day.
Straight from the kick off Chobham applied pressure. There were several phases of play in the Rosslyn Park half and the rucking looked intense and the scrums looked solid. Our front row were dominant and that set the tone for the rest of the match. Too often last season we got off to a poor start but the team were clearly rallied by the pre match team talk.
Four minutes into the match we had the first try as James Somper hugged the touch line to score in the corner from 15 metres out. The restart was messy as a result of the greasy conditions but Ryan reestablished refinement with a jinking run from deep within our own territory. Tom and Sam Riley were punching through their defence, Sam Davies was mixing it up with ball in hand and the occasional kick when it was required. And we were building territory through good discipline and a high level of intensity. The line out was also working well as we were getting elevation to the point of vertigo. When their two large players were given the ball we attacked them in groups and tackling was far better than in the past.
The score was soon 10-0 as George Sutherland displayed his basketball skills with a looping throw throw that Shaq O’Neill would have been proud of. A missed pass found Alfie who scored in the same corner. We recovered the ball from the restart really well and there was a blistering run from Jacob who would have scored from half way if it hadn’t been for a great tackle from his opposite number. By this stage all of the backs were getting into their stride. George was delivering quick ball, Sam Davies was making the right calls to his backs and if it hadn’t been for a couple of fumbles the score would have been double only half way through the first half. It was inevitable, that with all this pressure and following another good line out that Jacob found James Somper for his second try. It was clearly a corner of the pitch that we like as it was the third we scored by the same flag.
There were no further scores in the first half but only as a result of great defence by the forwards. At the rucks the boys were following their coach’s advice just prior to the match and they were solid and aggressive – winning a series of rucks. Artur in particular was rucking well, reaching over to disrupt the opposition in a way that drew similarities to Courtney Lawes.
Jack Mather was also tackling well and following a Rosslyn Park attack on our own line we somehow managed to come away with the ball. As the half time whistle went the parents on the touchline were impressed with the flawless performance.
Half time – Rosslyn Park – 0, Chobham 15
Rosslyn Park started the second half much better. They dominated territory and possession for the first 12 minutes of the half and it was only due to a try saving tackle from Sam Davies supported by Jacob that the score remained the same. Under intense pressure our counter rucking was great and all of the forwards defended for their lives. We suffered one loss during this period which was Jack Baker which was a big loss as his all round contribution had been great (he was later to return).
At this point following the discovery of a gum shield on the pitch the referee asked the players to check their mouths – some did !! One player said I still haven’t found what I am looking for.
Eventually we managed to get back into their territory due to sound good thinking and kicking. Following a kick from their defence Jack Mather took a great catch from a high ball that came over his shoulder. Our confidence was high and the catches were getting better. At this point Alfie scored following a fabulous interception. Clearly fed up at having to kick conversion attempts from the touch line he made sure he finished under the posts to give us our only conversion of the game. This made it 22-0 to Chobham.
Shortly after this Alfie made a scything tackle that threw his opponent into the air.
By this point of the match we were attacking with pleasure. Much of the play started to look like a sevens match as we threw the ball around with abandon. During this passage of play Sam Mitchell crashed through their fly half having decided it would be good to hit someone his own size for a change. From the subsequent turnover Ryan scored into the corner to make it 27-0.
Rosslyn Park were rocked but a splendid score from them was their consolation on a difficult day for them.
The final score was 27-5 and whilst it was disappointing to concede it was a fantastic victory earned through endeavour, commitment and skill. It is clear that the boys are fitter than last year but also much more vocal. The half backs were vocal throughout but Joseph also bossed the scrum from the back of the pack and was motivational throughout in his words and deeds.
They fought for one another and displayed the Chobham spirit throughout. When you see a match like that it is the sweetest thing. We have pride and it was a beautiful day. Despite the post code covering 15 square miles which made it difficult to find and it being a place where the streets have no name it was well worth the trip!!
Match report by Paul Mitchell
Edited (during the game!) – Jon Riley