Match Report from Simon Hemsworth : It’s been a tough league season, but one thing that has never been missing from the B squad is their team spirit. 0-12 down and then 5-17 down at half-time, despite playing the better rugby, it could easily have been another demoralising loss. However, a fantastic final half of competitive rugby for the season saw a richly-deserved win 19-17 over Battersea Ironsides in front of a big crowd on top pitch.
It started poorly, with players in front of the kicker. Ironsides worked their way up the pitch from the scrum, won a penalty and gave it to their behemoth who smashed over from 10 yards. We’ve been up against some big lads this year, but Victor was something else. 2 minutes in, 0-5 down. But then we got the ball from the kick-off and things started looking up, even though Ironsides scored again out wide. It was becoming clear that Ironsides couldn’t live with the Chobham pack. Dominant in the scrum with Joe and Ez not giving an inch, Hugh and Teo bossed the breakdown turning over the ball several times, and even the line-out saw Max regularly pick off the top.
A dart from Tom at scrum-half took us up to the 22. The ball was recycled and worked right. Several phases of red ball later and Ironsides conceded a penalty. Keeping the ball in the forwards, Harry, Teo, Matt, Harv and Ethan bashed up, before Tommy stretched over for the score – 5-12.
Ironsides, with their one and only tactic, came back again. First Victor came up short as we perhaps got the only bit of luck we’ve had all season, but then he had another chance and he made it count. Crucially though, the conversion was missed. Half-time arrived – 5-17.
The second half was all Chobham. The continued strength of the forwards gave the backs confidence and it was Matt who was the spark. Fielding the ball well within the Chobham 22, he showed a turn of pace, some well-timed hand-offs and a clean set of heels to score under the posts. Dan converted – 12-17 – game very much on.
The next 10 minutes had Chobham on the front foot, playing the phases that had been drilled into them over recent weeks. That Andy and Lewis on the wings, and Sam A at full-back got so much ball to run with was testimony to the pack’s hard work, and the back line’s willingness to put it through the hands. Pressure finally told and, despite the coaches yelling green ball, the pack drove forward and Harv squeezed over – 17-17. The conversion was similar to the one Dan missed in the first half, but this time he slotted it over – 19-17 with 10 minutes to go.
Ironsides knew what they had to do, but once Harry had put the man-mountain on the ground, he no longer wanted to know and the oppo were out of ideas. Constant pressing from forwards and backs working as a cohesive line led by Sam O, and some good tactical kicking out of hand from Dan kept Ironsides at bay. They didn’t even visit the Chobham 22 again. When the whistle went, the lads celebrated their first league victory, to no small relief from the coaches and parents.
Skipper Tommy and pack leader Joe were immense today, leading by example. It is hard to single out any individual player on a day when they came together as a team. Matt was awarded Man of the Match by Ironsides but everyone played their part.
Match Report : Simon Hemsworth
Photograph: Steve Wyatt
Stand up Joe, Ethan, Ez, Harv, Max, Matt, Teo, Harry, Hugh, Tom, Dam, Sammo, Tommy, Lewis, Andy and Sam A.