Match Report from James Cole: Chobham 25-10 Guilfordians
Chobham under 15s kicked-off their league campaign in style on Sunday, with a bonus-point win over Guilfordians at Fowler’s Wells.
Tries from James Somper, Ryan Lees, George Sutherland, Sam Riley and Jack Mather ensured the 15s took maximum points from their opening fixture.
This was a hard-fought contest, which was in the balance at half-time.
Indeed there was nothing between the sides in the opening 10 minutes as both teams made good inroads into their opponents’ half, only to surrender possession at the crucial moment.
The deadlock was broken after a quarter of a hour. A loose ball was pounced on by the ever-sharp George Sutherland. Fly-half Sam Davies spotted space behind and kicked ahead. Fullback Ryan Lees won the foot race, hacked on and then produced a scoring dive that Tom Daley would have been happy with. Fifteen minutes played and Chobham had their noses in front.
For the second successive week, Lees was constant threat behind the scrum and the fullback soon made another incisive break. Wide on the left, Riley carried well too as Chobham launched their most fluid attack of the game. Having sucked defenders in, Davies spread the ball right and quick hands – first from Alfie Johnson, then from Tom Robinson- put Somper one-on-one with his opposite man. Good footwork and a sharp turn of pace saw the winger round him and score. Twenty minutes played: the home side led 10-0.
Chobham then had to deal with a period of sustained pressure close to their own line. Despite withstanding the first wave of attack, the second proved too strong. A kick behind found Chobham out of position and when Mather failed to clear his lines, Guilfordians took full advantage and crashed over from close range. Five minutes before the break, the visitors had got themselves right back in it.
Minutes later Chobham lost Johnson to a shoulder injury but it didn’t deter them. Dan Siddeeq moved from flanker to centre and carried well for the rest of the match. So too did Mather, whose break set-up Chobham’s third. Tom Blenkinsop, Artur Pawlowski and Riley all made more hard yards. Sutherland then took it on again, showed superb strength and leg-drive and – with the help of his teammates – drove nearly ten metres to the line. It meant the teams turned around at 15-5 and so the next try would be crucial.
A missed penalty by Davies and some loose kicking gave possession back to Guildfordian early in the second half. They prospered from it and only a try-saving tackle by Sutherland denied them what could have proved a pivotal score. Instead it was Chobham who crossed next – and did so twice in ten minutes. The first originated from a sharp counter from Mather, who’s excellent footwork saw him beat two men. The two Sams – Davies and Riley – then combined to great effect. Davies took a quick-tap penalty and found his namesake, who carried typically hard before stretching over to score.
That try secured the bonus-point but Chobham weren’t done there. Mather was to get his just-rewards for an excellent performance as Davies missed another shot at goal but Chobham chased well and turned the ball over close to Guildfordians line. More quick hands in the back-line released Mather, whose footwork and pace once again did the damage.
Now leading 25-5 Chobham eased off in the final ten minutes and let Guildfordians in for a consolation score. Twenty metres out, a kick in behind caught Chobham napping. Mather tracked back but was beaten by a harsh bounce and the opportunity was taken brilliantly by the visitors’ tall centre. Nonetheless both of the visitors tries had come from kicks behind – a defensive frailty Chobham must remedy before their next outing.
So a strong start to Chobham’s league campaign but with tougher opposition lying in wait, they will need to be more clinical in the weeks to come. Next-up for the 15s: it’s Effingham and Learherhead in a fortnight