Ladies Day Lunch at Chobham was a Success, but not the Rugby

Chobham 7-28 Old Cranleighans


 Over 100 women decked in red to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation attended the ladies pre match lunch at Chobham, sponsored by Bray Wealth Management, in expectation of an equally good outcome on the pitch against Old Cranleighans. As ever Jane Cross and Carol Wickes had made a sterling effort with the prosecco flowing and gorgeous girls all in matching shirts.


As seems to be the story of the season Chob frustrating start to the game saw them succumb to multiple penalties. This gave OCs strategic positioning from which after 7 minutes gave them a line out on the 22 from which they attacked the line. Chob’s front row gave a penalty at the ensuing scrum and the visitors No.8 O’Neill crossed the line to the left of the post, giving fly half Rouse an easy conversion to make the score 0-7. Chob’s lack of possession was only made worse by conceding penalties that gave away any territory they’d worked for. Similarly the accuracy of their line outs made the attempts to get a hold of the game near on impossible.


Early good performances from Ben Livingstone and Euan Buckland earned early positives for the hosts. Luckily early mistakes by OCs and good scrounging by Alex Julian and Sam Davies saved Chob’s from conceding.


OCs attempt at mauling was countered by James Buchanan and Chris Kent, however their nativity of the scrum saw numerous penalties for OCs – unfortunately they wouldn’t listen to the refs requests. Fly half John Rumsey took Chob out of their 22 with his boot heading to the half hour, unfortunately he was offside after 30 mins giving Rouse an easy penalty in front of the posts and OCs a 10-0 lead. From the restart Dave Evans, Tommy Reed and Kent’s tackling pressure resulted in a turnover against OCs and Rumsey went off on a jinking run to release Livingstone down the left wing to be eventually tackled into touch 5m out.


Chob then went through a purple patch but could not get near the OCs line. Sean Bellions line out throwing was connecting and a cheeky short line out with the returning Justin Rowlands surprised the visitors. OCs first foray into the Chob 22 after the half hour saw Rowlands give a penalty away when he went off his feet while counter rucking, again Rouse converted a penalty from in front of the posts to extend the lead to 13-0.


With half time approaching Chob conceded a penalty allowing OCs a 5m attacking line out. Buchanan turned over the line out and Buckland secured the ball, letting Robbie Kennard kick the ball into touch to the end the half with the hosts 13-0 down.


From the restart OCs pack pounded the Chob defence, with the backing of their adept handed backs the home team defence was tried. Chobham were pinned back in their own half despite a great jackall turnover by Rumball and the boot of Kennard. The referee appeared to have lost the game and spent more time explaining decisions than penalising, Chob lost all shape and it appeared the support of the man in the middle when the referee missed a spear tackle early in the second half.


Chobs poor line outs did not help any possessions the team had, the lack of consistency gave them no platform to work off. Man of the Match Livingstone, Kennard and Davies in the back line kept Chob hopes alive.


Just before the hour OCs scored a brace of unconverted tries, the first from full back Dormon and then wing McMahon, to put the game out of touch for the hosts.   


The next quarter of an hour was a mid-area pitch game of attrition. The only highlights were a line break by Oli Guy and a Kennards counter ruck. Chobs poor handling and protection of the ball ended any attacks the set up quickly. With 73 mins gone OCs put the final nail in the coffin with a couple of picks and go’s from a scrum to send tight head prop Whitcombe over for another try.


The last 10 minutes Chobham finally put some passages of play together and kept the game in the OCs 22. From a penalty mid field Rumsey took a quick tap and popped to Buchanan who was tackled just short of the line, Kennard picked and ran to pop the ball back inside to captain Buckland who scored just outside the left hand upright – unusually Rumsey drop kicked the conversion to make what would be the final score 7-28.


After the game coach Billy Davison said “sadly since our win against Emanuels we seem to have gone backwards, we had better performances in the backs – yet we constantly lost our own lineouts and scrums, our lead up to Christmas in imperative. I was really pleased with the Cannons 47-3 win away at Old Haileyburians today.”


1st XV Manager Harry Norman-Walker said “we have a lot to work on and we need to transfer what we achieve in training to the paddock, as seems to be the Chobham mantra our discipline is letting us down and that had to end now. OCs were deserved winners and I wish to thank all the gorgeous ladies on the touch line supporting us today.”


Assistant coach Robbie Kennard’s comments after the game were “our discipline across the team was poor, we coughed up the ball far too easily and our set piece appeared disorganised.”


Next week Chobham travel to fifth placed Eastleigh in this campaign, they will be hoping to get back on the winning track.


Team: Evans, Bellion, Reid, Rumble, Buchanan, Kent, Rowlands, Buckland (c), Kennard, Rumsey, Julian, Stuart, Reed, Livingstone, Davies, Heslop, Bosworth, Guy.


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