Eleven Try Thriller in a Quagmire

Old Haberdashers 45 – 29 Chobham

Chobham travelled to 9th placed Old Haberdashers on a very wet blustery day, the conditions did not give the impression that eleven tries would be scored – unfortunately it was the visitors’ worst performance of the season!! Old Habs hosted a Christmas lunch prior to kick off, made only better to hear the crackling of an open fire in the background at a real rugby club.

Sixth placed Chobham travelled to Borehamwood to a club who don’t train, have a coach or whose players are constantly available. This makes for a team that really doesn’t have a structure or obvious game plan, this makes it very exciting to watch as they are dangerous whenever in control of the ball. Chobhams opponents on Saturday had two Varsity Blues that shows the quality Old Habs have in their squad. Chobham had completed the first half of the season, sitting 6th in the league (top half) in a position they would have accepted back in August!

The Scarlet & Golds had a much-changed team from Fullerians, due to injuries and availability, with Sean Bellion travelling to New Zealand to get married. Shaun Buchan started at hooker instead, Ben Puttock returned to the second row for the first time this season, Dan Warren was back on the flank, Sam Davies returned to centre, Alex Gibson returned on the bench as forward cover and 18-year-old Joseph Pym makes his debut as front row cover. Joe played at Chobham as a Junior and more recently has played for Wellington College and he was part of the Saracens DPP.

The game started positively and an early infringement by the hosts saw Sam Davies open the scoring for Chobham with a penalty. But from Old Habs restart the visitors were unable to reach touch when exiting and centre Gatus was able to break the Chobham defence to score under the posts. After the bright start in Chobham seemed totally disorganised and from another poor escape Old Habs lock Brogdun ran the ball in on the right wing. But it was Chobhams turn to take advantage of a poor exit and scrum half scored a great individual try in the left corner.

It was another 10 minutes before anyone scored and this time it was the hosts other lock O’Riordian who scored from a 5m line out. Old Habs went straight back at Chobham and from a 5m scrum winger Johnson scored in the left corner for their bonus point try, the visitors went in 32-8 up at half time.

The second half started again with the visitors the first to score, from a scrum penalty just inside the Old Habs half Mawhood again ran the ball to score another great individual try, this time converted. From the restart again the hosts scored, this time the other wing Isaacs. 10 minutes into the half saw a well organise line out from Chobham being driven 15m before Josh Sheppard dropped over the line for a try. On the quarter hour point prop Hagerty scored after a multi phase move from the half way going from one side of the pitch to the other. At the restart Chobham’s Ben Puttock took a player out in the air and was sent to the sin bin. The last score of the day came when Chobham finally got phases going and had ball retention, Angus Hargan going over for a converted try.

After the game Head Coach Robbie Kennard said “we were just not good enough, we let them play their game and our tackling was just not good enough today, Old Habs deserved the win in atrocious conditions and took advantage of our naivety. Our lineout and scrum worked well, but outside the set piece there is not a lot to be happy about. We didn’t take advantage of the strong wind in the and the kicking from hand was very poor.

We need to protect the ball and retention is a huge area of the game we will also be working on this week. We were missing a number of key players and hope some will be back for the Marlow game next week.”

After the game Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “that was a very disappointing lack lustre performance from Chobham today, we never looked like we were in the game and our lack or avoidance of tackling was embarrassing. They are the highest level team in England who don’t train and just turn up and play, so on their day they could beat anyone in our league, but that is not an excuse but a compliment to them. We had a good enough team to win, but just didn’t turn up.

The boys need to look at themselves as individuals and their personal performances today.

Next Saturday we play Marlow in our last home game of the year, prior to the game is our Christmas Supporters lunch, we will be focussing this week on Marlow who are a very big physical team.”

After the game Forwards Coach Chris Kent said “we let ourselves down as a squad and we need to think about what we want from our rugby, there were only a couple of good performances in a squad of 18.

On a positive our lineouts and scrums were as dominant as ever.”

Elsewhere the Womens had a tough game against top of the table Wasps FC on Sunday in Women’s NC 1 South East (North) and sadly both The Cannons and Crusaders oppositions pulled out of their fixtures.

Starters: Pete McCain; Shaun Buchan; Angus Hargan; Chris Kent; Ben Puttock; Josh Sheppard; Harrison Jones; Dan Warren; Guy Mawhood; Adam Peever; Noah Jenkins; Oli Guy; Sam Davies; Ed Howard; John Rumsey.

Replacements: Joseph Pym; Alex Gibson; Joe Mousley.

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