It’s been tough going for the Colts this season, adapting to playing against sides with varying numbers of the older Under 18 age group, and unavailability meaning consistency has been hard to come by. This Sunday the squad were buoyed by the extra hour in bed and made the journey into London to face Battersea Ironsides on the renowned DSP. A small squad of 17, including a welcome return to the fold from HarryB, meant that there would be less interchanges needed to make sure everyone had a fair playing time.
Kick-off was delayed a few minutes as Ironsides went through some last minute tackling drills and it remained to be seen if this would be a key factor in the result. On the whistle Chob set things up cleanly and looked to exercise their normal game plan of committing defenders around the breakdown to give the back line more time and space in the wider channels. Lewis used this to good effect taking play to the Ironsides 25-yard line.
Scrum time was to prove a great asset to Chob from the get go, taking the first of several against the head. Sadly, a penalty meant they couldn’t take advantage. Quick work following a lineout had the Ironsides 13 running hard at the Chob’ midfield where he found a gap and raced through it having the gas to carry all the way and Chob’ were behind 7-0 in the blink of an eye.
A poor restart gave Ironsides a scrum on the centre spot but again the front 8 came up trumps and won a penalty as the opposing front row stood up. Kicking was proving a challenge with missed touch, but a series of strong tackles kept Ironsides in their half. Penalties at the scrum and breakdown followed and Chob had a penalty 10 yards out. Taking the route one option it was Olly who carried first and despite being brought down kept the ball alive. Hands along the line reached Saxon who made an important gain as the rest of the side cleared out before Olly popped up again and crossed for the try. Aran added the conversion and Chob were level.
Chob continued to work around the fringes and give the Battersea scrum a torrid time, while Battersea themselves tried to create opportunities for their main strike runner again.
With 5 minutes to go to the break Chob’ went ahead as Harrison smashed through under the posts following good phase work from an attacking lineout, with the likes of Finn and Callum clearing out at the ruck. Battersea had one more attacking opportunity with the winger picking up a long looping pass off his toes but the covering defence was able to turn the ball over and clear out of the danger area. At half-time the match was 14-7 to the visitors.
The second half began well for Chob’ with HarryB breaking through in midfield. Teo and Harrison then kept the move going down the blind side, resulting in a penalty deep in the Ironsides 25. HarryC took a quick tap penalty and jinked through the retreating defence to cross under the posts once more, giving Chob’ a two score advantage.
This was extended soon after the restart. Samuel was on the end of a wide pass into Ironsides territory to win a Chob’ lineout. A good drive won a penalty for offside on the Ironsides 10-yard line. Aran tapped and put in a chip over the defensive line into a big gap where the green fullback should have been. With the ball bouncing around near the try line the hosts got in a muddle deciding who should pick it up and MattN took the initiative to pounce and dive over to extend the lead to 28-7.
Chobham continued to have territorial and possession advantage playing for the most part in the Ironsides half. Ironsides were forced to kick to clear on numerous occasions and for the most part this fell to a pair of Chobham hands. Lewis in particular had a couple of powerful breaks into the attacking half beating several tackles and setting the forwards trundling forward again.
Chobham also seemed to have got the home lineout worked out and were able to steal some against the head to keep the pressure on, but without making that final surge to the line. When Ironsides won a defensive penalty they opted to try and play out of danger but the rush defence forced a handling error that Doug made the most of to add a fifth try and push the score out to 35-7.
The home side got a consolation score late on from a speculative kick deep into the Chob’ 25 took a friendly bounce and the kick chase gathered to go over, a decent conversion taking the score to 35-14. They ended the game in the Chob’ 25 again as the big centre managed to bust a hole in the defence but MattN was back to make the tackle. As the hosts attacked once more Chob’ conceded a rare penalty but gain the defence was tight enough to drive Ironsides into touch, which was the cue for the ref, who had done well on his debut at Colts level, to blow the final whistle.
That confirmed a morale boosting victory for the lads before their first home games of the season in the next few weeks, beginning with Esher on 3rd November.
Squad: Aran, Lewis, Saxon, Keaton, Samuels, Sam, HarryC, Dan, Harrison, Olly, Callum, Harvey, MattN, Teo, Doug, Finn, HarryB.