Chobham headed to the south coast on Saturday to long time rivals Hove, both teams had had poor starts and both needed to prove to the rest of the league that they were there to be taken seriously. Chobs continued injury list hampered the back line and the visitors knew that 9 man rugby would be the call for the day, the packs dominance at the scrum won Chobham the game.
Luke Mcloughlin made his 1st XV debut, a Junior at the club and the full back has more recently played for Dings in Bristol. Selection in the pack this week had been difficult, which saw Sam Thirwell return to the pack and first appearances of the year for double centurion Liam Monaghan and scrum half Robbie Kennard. In the pack Jacob Bainbridge, Leon Nell, Angus Hargan, Chris Kent and Sam Goddard have played every game this campaign so far.
The sea breeze blew through the recreational park from the kick off by Chobham and from the start the unforced errors by both sides were the pattern for the day. Against the early play where Chob infringed at the breakdown consistently they were awarded a penalty just outside the Hove 22 and Davies converted the. Two minutes later the visitors attack was turned over by Hove as there was no support at the breakdown; from the clearance Monaghan made a decisive run into the midfield and set up a series of rucks that following a sniping run by Kennard he released Si Rumsey to score his first league try for Chobham, with Davies getting the afters. Chobs fourth score of the day came from a kick out from under the posts by the hosts, Davies had time and scored a drop goal to give the visitors a 13-0 lead halfway through the half.
5 minutes later Chobham winger Sheppard was sent to the sin bin for a ruck offence, with the numerical advantage the home team started to get back in the game and from a Chob knock on Hove 13 ran a central line from the halfway to score a converted try. Two minutes later a pick and go from a ruck 22 metres out by Hove 7 saw them release the No.8 for another converted try. The hosts comeback took them into the break 14-13 up.
Chobham started the second half just as they had the first with domination by the pack, winning scrum after scrum. Eventually the hosts lost their 18 to the bin for constant scrum penalties, concluding in a penalty try to the visitors. Chob kept Hove pinned in their half but could not convert domination to points. From a 22 lineout the visitors took the ball through phases to the far touch and then a great cutting run by Goddard saw him give the killer pass to Benton to score his first try for Chobham, converted by Davies. Following a Hove front row injury substitution the next scrum saw the replacement prop be yellow carded for a collapsed scrum – luckily it came at the time when the other sin bin came back on. But the hosts still went down to 13 players, negating all of Chobhams scrum dominance.
The next score in the game came from Monaghan’s right wing and gave the visitors an 18 point lead with just a quarter of an hour to go. Chobs ability to close off a game was lost and from that point Hove went for the jugular, with the visitors giving penalty after penalty at the breakdown. Eventually replacement Kent went to the bin for not rolling away for the last 10 minutes. From the scrum option Hove’s No.8 cored his second converted try. Following a kick and chase Hove got the final converted try from their centre again.
Following the final whistle there was relief that 80 minutes had seen Chobham’s first win on the road this season, they must control their discipline and convert dominance better in future.
After the game backs coach and captain Robbie Kennard said “A good win for us and fair play to Hove, they certainly had their chances and made us work for the points. The boys up front were super today; we dominated the set piece and that’s what league rugby is all about. In a frustrating manner, we fell asleep in the last 10 minutes, but on the whole there were some huge positives.
We are building nicely and as players return from injury; competition for places will be tough and make things very interesting”.
Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “It was great to see such a dominant scrum and despite a poor last quarter we deserved the win. We still need to sort out our game discipline as we had far too many unforced errors and turnovers at the breakdown.
Very positive performances from the pack was led by the return of scrummie Robbie Kennard who definitely got the game from the scruff of the neck ad played a simple 9 man game. Personally apart from Robbie, I thought Dan Benton was another highlight of the day – as well as Luke Mcloughlin having a good debut.
With next weeks home game against lower placed Reigatians this gives us a great opportunity to underline our 4th place in the league. With 9 squad players still on the injury list we are looking forward to their return over the next few weeks.”
Next week Chobham host Reigatians, as well as Paignton Vets visiting them on tour- an annual home and away fixture that is over a quarter of a century old.
Jacob Bainbridge; Leon Nell; Angus Hargan; Sam Thirlwell; Dan Benton; Sam Goddard; Euan Buckland; Ollie Smith; Robbie Kennard; Sam Davies; Liam Monaghan; Tanguy Navarre; Simon Rumsey; Josh Sheppard; Luke Mcloughlin.
Replacements: TJ Simms; Matt Bosworth; Chris Kent.