Old Reigatians 26 (12) – 33 (7) Chobham
Chobham, sponsored by Bray Wealth Management and local restaurant Rosso Mazarra, travelled to Reigate on Saturday for the last game of the first half of the season against Old Reigatians; the result was to bring the Chobham faithful their Christmas present that they all wished for. Chobham were bolstered with the return from injury in the front row of Pete McCain (sponsored by Route One Solutions) and Ollie Smith onto the bench and Josh Devitt into the backline after a break. The visiting spectators’ hearts were broken with a very poor first half in which ORs took the game to Chob who were constantly on the back foot, but the second half was some of the best rugby seen by the Fowlers Wells fans all season.
During the warm up Fin Robjohn pulled his hamstring and Billy Davison and the coaches (sponsored by Reflex and Relax) decided to start with Sam Davies (sponsored by Chobham Wealth management) at fly half.
With rain all around in the Surrey Hills the game kicked off on a dry heavy pitch, ORs attacked Chob from the kick off and there were numerous mistakes by both sides, the early phases of play were in Chobs half and the warning signs were up that the visitors were under pressure. Big hits in attack from Ed Wynne (sponsored by Chobham Wealth management) was one of the few highlights early in the game, Ben Livingstone was again this week very lively in support. Chob were able to relieve the pressure only through the ORs unforced errors. With 10 minutes gone ORs Williamson was released down the left wing to score in the corner.
The Chob pack at the set piece were for the third week in control, Sean Bellion’s darts hit the hands of Chris Kent (sponsored by Active8) and Jerry Rumball time after time. The Chob scrum had ORs under constant pressure and the home team started to give away penalties and the guests heads were up. Sadly, any ball Chob had was coughed up by turn overs or unforced errors, it looked like the Chob of earlier in the season.
McCains gave some aggression at the breakdown, he was a thorn in ORs side. With just over half an hour gone and further pressure from ORs the home team got a 5m penalty, from this they won their own ball and set up a driving maul. Richie Andrews well coached pack driving maul took them over the line for Wheeler to touch down, McGillian added the conversion to give the home team a 12-0 lead.
Billy Davison made a double substitution and Robjohn came on for Davies and Ollie Smith for Euan Buckland, Chob now started to break the game line and put the pressure on ORs. From a scrum just outside the home teams half Chob used their phases to set up Robjohn to find a gap and break through to score to the right of the posts, he followed up with the conversion. With half time approaching ORs penalty count was keeping Chob in the game and headed into the break with a lot to do and 12-7 down.
Following the half time talk from Davison Chob came out knowing they needed to change their game plan if they were to get back into the game, however, they started the second half as they had the first half with letting OR bring the game to them. With 6 minutes gone the OR set piece came into play again and the driving maul went over for Plowman to score and followed up by a conversion from McGillian.
ORs heads were up and the confidence took them to another level, for the next 10 minutes the game looked like it was ORs who were guaranteed the win. Just before the hour hooker Wheeler went over for another score and McGillian’s conversion took the hosts to a 26-7 lead. The game now changed and Chob woke up, their discipline for the third week was exemplary and the referee had had enough of ORs indiscipline. Rumball turned over the ball at the breakdown and again the frustration from ORs was not appreciated by the ref.
The visitors started to snaffle any loose ball and seized the game, ORs had no response to the new level of intensity of rugby played and from inside their own 22 a break by Josh Devitt took them towards the half way and then a number of good strong runs by Charlie Head and Bellion took Chob into ORs half, the ball went quickly to the left wing allowing Tommy Reed to have a scything run into the hosts 22 and Smith then took the ball close to the 5m line; again ORs lazy tacklers gave a penalty away and with the advantage Robbie Kennard (sponsored by Past President Chris Whiting) long pass to Robjohn set him up to find another gap and get his brace of tries and convert as well.
From the restart ORs kicked straight into touch and gave Chob another platform for attack, following a scrum indiscretion the visitors where able to kick for the corner and a 5m line out. From the line out the driving maul, despite ORs sterling defence, splintered and allowed Smith over to score and with quarter of an hour it was 26-19.
Chobs tails were now up and they felt the game was theirs for the taking, that with ORs indiscipline not abating, the dominant set piece and strong running from Justin Rowland and captain Phil Williams was starting to tire the home team. From a line out just inside ORs 22 a number of phases had Chob on the front foot and a strong run from Leon Nell broke the line and from the ruck Kennard fed Euan Buckland who went over to score, John Rumsey (sponsored by XV Sports) followed up with the conversion; 26-26 with 10 minutes to go, game on!!
Again, from the restart Chob attacked with dynamism and OR on the back foot now looked very vulnerable, several ensuing penalties neutralised any advantage ORs had. The lively Reed then broke down the left wing again to cross the line and take the ball close to the posts and give Rumsey an easy conversion and take Chob to a 33-26 lead with a minute to go. From the restart the Chob pack wound the clock down and after the 80 minutes Kennard kicked the ball dead.
Chob had come back from an appalling first half to ruin the ORs Christmas, their crowd realised that on the balance of probabilities the right team had won – but Chob cannot think they were clinical, it was just as much down to ORs indiscipline as Chobs going up through the gears that won the visitors the game.
After the game coach Billy Davison said “this is all I want for Christmas, this was the classic game of two halves and fortunately the last 20 minutes was our best rugby this season. I’m so proud of everyone today from 1 to 18, they deserved this win. The boys now have a break until the New Year that will allow the boys to recuperate and Dean Tooby to work on all the injury niggles.”
1st XV Manager said “over the last three games I have been hinting that our second half was so much stronger and that soon we would damage teams, today proved we have the ability after Christmas to upset a lot of teams. I’m so pleased for the Davo and all the coaches, as well as the players whose grit and determination won that game.”
Team: Pete McCain; Charlie Head; Ed Wynne; Sean Bellion; Chris Kent; Jerry Rumball; Justin Rowland; Euan Buckland; Robbie Kennard; Sam Davies; Ben Livingstone; Phil Williams; Tommy Reed; Josh Devitt; John Rumsey.
Game Changers: Leon Nell; Ollie Smith; Fin Robjohn.