Match report from James Cole : Chobham 41-12 Teddington
Chobham prepared for the new season by running in seven tries against Teddington at Fowler’s Wells on Sunday. Braces from number eight Sam Riley, fullback Ryan Lees and utility back Heath Whittington – plus a further score from Tom Robinson, ensured a comfortable victory in the end.
Despite the score, the home side didn’t get things all their own way, particularly early on as Teddington struck after just five minutes. Breakdown penalties had allowed the visitors to pitch themselves deep in Chobham’s half, before a series of carries from their forwards culminated in their prop driving over.
Chobham, though, soon settled and it was some intelligent play from George Jones that created their opening score after 12 minutes. Teddington cleared their lines and found touch near the halfway line but Jones’ quick lineout released fullback Ryan Lees in space. A sharp turn of pace from Lees saw him cut through Teddington’s broken defence, before stepping his way past the covering defender to score. It was a clinical piece of finishing from the fullback, which was duly converted by fly-half Sam Davies to make it 7-7.
Three minutes later, Chobham struck again. Sam Riley spotted a gaping hole on the blind side and exploited it to full-effect. Twenty meters out, the number eight picked and broke left. The man outside wasn’t needed; as Riley’s deft footwork beat the first defender, before brute strength floored the second, on his way over the line.
At fullback, Lees was looking a constant threat and was one of Chobham’s outstanding performers. Another electric burst of pace and some exquisite footwork saw him beat four defenders to cross for his second of the game. If this performance is anything to go by, Chobham must look to bring their fullback into the game as often as possible.
With Chobham now leading 19-7, the game became scrappy. Both teams lacked fluidity and Teddington’s counter-rucking saw Chobham struggle for parity at the breakdown – something they must remedy before next week. Indeed, it was a series of ruck penalties that saw Teddington close the deficit after 40 minutes. With Chobham penalised and pinned-back onto their own line, more close-quarter carries from Teddington’s forwards once again did the damage. Teddington trailed by just 7 points.
The final third, though, was one-way traffic — and it was coming from the home end. Chobham benefited from greater precision at the breakdown and a faster tempo of play. Jones’ quick tap-penalties were instrumental as the home side spread the ball wider and quicker, allowing their tiring opponents no respite. 45 minutes: and another incisive break from Lees created the territory for Chobham to score their fourth try. More quick-thinking from Jones and his halfback partner Sam Davies caught Teddington off guard and – having been put into space by Davies – centre Tom Robinson finished superbly.
The game was drawing to a close but there was still time for Chobham to run in three more tries. Another quick tap from Jones and good hands from Davies then Riley, released Whittington, who showed sharp pace to finish in the corner. An excellent touchline conversion by Davies gave Chobham a 31-12 lead.
Sam Langley then went within an inch of scoring a superb individual effort. He broke clear 30 meters out, kicked ahead and chased hard, only to be denied by the combination of a cruel bounce and some excellent cover defence from Teddington. Nonetheless that break created the field-position for Chobham’s fifth. The Welsh half-backs combined yet again to release James Somper on the right wing. Somper showed great strength to wriggle away from his would-be tacklers, gaining 20 meters down the right-hand touchline. Chobham recycled and moved the ball left where – after a characteristically aggressive carry from George Sutherland – Riley was once again on hand to bulldoze his way over. Thankfully for him, there is no Television Match Official operating in U15s rugby. If there was, he may have found that score chalked off, after what appeared a less than convincing grounding!
The final score came courtesy of a dominant Chobham scrum. Teddington’s eight were forced back inside their twenty-two. As a result, the ball fired out the back of the set-piece and Jack Mather was on it like a terrier. He found Davies on his shoulder who took it on, before quick-ball and then sharp hands put Whittington in for his second of the afternoon. Davis couldn’t manage the touchline conversion on this occasion but his teammates will forgive him, as he’d played an integral role in their dominant second-half display.
So 41-12 it finished – Chobham will begin their league campaign high on confidence when they welcome Old Guildfordians in a week’s time.