The U16 B squad hosted London Irish in their first Surrey Treasurer’s Cup round robin fixture on Sunday. With a focussed warm-up the boys were ready to face the Irish lads in what has been a close fixture in recent times.
Irish took the kick-off and lofted a super ball that gave their forwards time to compete as it came down. Fortunately for Chobham it was knocked on by Irish and it was an immediate opportunity to put pressure on in the tight. A convincing nudge from the front 8 gave the backs an early dart at their opponents. Looking to play at a pretty high tempo Chob soon forced their way into the Irish 25 with Lewis running strongly, resulting in a lineout as the visitors conceded a couple of penalties. Tom was safe as houses at the line, but sadly the home side were blown at the maul and Irish were able to clear their lines as the game settled down with play between the two 25 yard lines.
Irish were first to work into an attacking area, a Chob clearance kick was returned into the home 25 and a lucky hack on had to be dealt with by Daniel smartly getting back to earn a drop out. Irish kept the pressure on and had a couple of penalties fairly near the Chob line but didn’t make the most of it as Chob stood strong and soaked up the tackles.
Chob now had the momentum and through several phases of play found themselves with a scrum on the Irish 25. From this rock solid platform the home halfbacks looked to create an opening. MattW almost broke through but was hauled down 10 short. Sam was following up and whipped up the ball at the tackle and managed a one handed pass to Ewen on the touchline where he had enough room to dive over and opening the scoring.
Irish were unphased and repeated the restart drill, this time winning the jump for the ball and winning a penalty. The ensuing lineout was snuffed out before Irish could get a drive going, but the fly-half was able to dance through an untidy defensive line to level the score at 5-5.
Chob looked to hit back and had a half chance as Billy fed Andy on the left but he couldn’t quite beat the cover. Irish then pounced on a loose pass and were within a couple of yards of going ahead as Chob infringed to keep them out. The commitment of the home side came to the fore as they repelled Irish through a couple of phases before finally their talisman number 8 went for glory only to be unceremoniously dumped on his backside. The whole team poured forward and turned the ball over to clear their lines.
This seemed to hit Irish as Chob were quickly down at the other end of the field looking to breakthrough themselves. From a tap penalty Saxon was on the charge to give the pack a point to drive through, putting the ball on a plate for the backs. They made no mistake and Samuel crossed over to make the score 10-5 at the break.
The second period started with Chob grabbing a kick that wasn’t dealt with. A kicking exchange between the backs kept the ball alive for almost three minutes before the ref had to blow his whistle, the dust settled and it was an Irish scrum in midfield. As with the first period the early spell was mainly contested in the middle of the park. Chob probably had the territory and possession advantage but couldn’t create an opening to stretch the lead, and neither could Irish get in position to hit back being pinned in their own half.
As the half wore on Irish began to get frustrated at the lack of opening and a nasty looking tip tackle on the hosts caused tempers to fray somewhat, thankfully though without injury from the tackle.
With twenty minutes of the half played, Irish finally had a series of scrums in the Chob half. The backs tried to engineer something but again the defence was too good and Chob had a lineout on their own 25. The throw was lost but a scrappy pass in the Irish midfield was gathered up by Ewen. An intelligent boot down field had the Irish defence turned and their winger had to race back to his own line to recover. Instead of opting for a clearing kick he tried to outrun the oncoming blue line. Callum managed to scrag him and relieve him of the ball, then diving over to push the lead out to two scores at 15-5.
This time Chob were safe under the kick-off and prevented an immediate Irish strike back. The visitors had to raise their game as the minutes ticked away and had the lion’s share of the possession, but still couldn’t get in close to the try line as the home side continued to keep them at bay.
Chobham finally worked out that keeping the ball tight in hand would burn down the clock and take them up field. From a turnover at the tackle Max, Harvey, Teo and Harrison all made good ground from close support to the ball carrier as a tackle was made.
As the clock turned red Irish went after what would now only be a consolation score. A series of tapped penalties close to the Chob line tried to burst through. Again the home team soaked up the pressure and Irish got isolated to concede a clearing penalty. Irish infringed again and the home side had earned a hard fought victory against a good Irish team to start their cup campaign for 2018/9.
Squad: Daniel, Andrew, MattW, Ewen, Lewis, Danny, Sam, Dan, Harrison, Billy, Harvey, Max, MattN, Tom, Saxon, Teo, Samuel, Callum.