Chobham 31-55 Grasshoppers
For the second week in a row Chobham conceded over 50 points, unfortunately this week it was a game where decision making and tackling in the back line was absent.
Chobham were hoping to take last weeks performance to the next level against Grasshoppers, who sat 2 points and two places below Chobham. Robbie Kennard had a number of changes from the Amersham game, in the front row youngster Joseph Pym returned along with the Joao Hames, on the wing was Joe Mousley and on the bench the much awaited return of back row Magnus Barber.
From the kick off the large Grasshoppers laid bare their game plan and time and time ran a direct physical game. Their first try came after 5 minutes when fullback O’Halloran picked the ball up at the back of a ruck and unopposed crossed the line. The Scarlet & Golds first try came after 20 minutes from a great run by Noah Jenkins who ran down with his wing for 30m before kicking the ball central field which was fumbled by the Grasshoppers full back and scrum half Guy Mawhood who grubbered the ball before scoring it over the line for a converted try. The next 20 minutes saw the visitors score three more tries and expand their lead, the first exactly the same as their opening score. Missed tackles and dropped balls while in possession seemed to be too regular occurrence. When in attack the back kept crabbing across the field to take team mates space on the pitch time and time again!! Grasshoppers went in at half time 22-7 up and already earned the try bonus point.
From the second half restart the visitors game plan of hard running did not change and eventually Stone crossed the line on the left wing. Chobhams second try came 5 minutes later when the hosts finally got some phases together and eventually Mawhood crossed the line for his second try. Unfortunately for the second time Grasshoppers were able to score straight from the game restart, negating Chobhams scores. Grasshoppers next try for winger Stone with an easy interception from a Chobham attack 10m out and ran the length of the field to score.
With 10 minutes to go Chobham finally woke up and from a 5-metre lineout the driving maul saw Ben Puttock dot the ball down over the chalk. A few minutes later from a scrum and some great phases Sam Goddard scored with one of his physical runs. Chobham then went straight back up from the kick off and eventually through hand Joao “the Brazilian Train” Hames on the wing took a pass from Chris Kent and barrelled over running through a winger and then crossing the line with three players hanging off him for his first ever 1st XV try!! But Grasshoppers had the last say of the game and from the kick off ran the ball through multiple phases until they scored again. A deservedly elated Grasshoppers won 55-31 and looked far better a team than their current league position.
Starters: Joseph Pym; Sean Bellion; Joao Hames; Chris Kent; Sam Goddard; Dan Warren; Justin Rowland; Dan Benton; Guy Mawhood (Capt.); Adam Peever; Noah Jenkins; Oli Guy; Josh Sheppard; Joe Mousley; Sam Davies.
Replacements: Harrison Jones; Ben Puttock; Magnus Barber.
After the game Head Coach Robbie Kennard said “a difficult day at the office for us. We really did not get going from the kick off and for the majority of the game. Well done to Grasshoppers, they played well and controlled most aspects of the game. We have another break week, we need to have a little reset and put the last few results behind us. Something I believe we will do.”
After the game Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “that was a really poor performance by Chobham, Robbie had worked so hard with the boys this week in preparation for the game and once the players cross the line he cannot make tackles or hold onto the pill for the boys. Our decision making was very poor and you cannot win a game if you keep giving away possession! Once of the worst things was that Grasshoppers scored 3 tries straight from restarts!! The back line needs to look at themselves and not blame others as very few of them played a worthy performance.
Grasshoppers were deserved winners and their direct game tore us apart, we cannot expect to get a result when we don’t turn up for 80 minutes.
We have a week off now and chance for a reset of the team for the trip to Hemel Hempstead.”
After the game forward coach Chris Kent said “another incredibly frustrating day. And firstly an apology is owed to the Fowlers Wells faithful. We appear to have slipped of the standards we expect quite drastically in 2024, and most notably in defense. Grasshoppers offered nothing surprising but were consistent and direct, and credit to them for the win. With a few weeks until our next fixture, we need to turn a corner in training physically and return to our 2023 form.”