Saturday saw one of the biggest days at Fowlers Wells in a long time, the day started with the annual Ladies Lunch supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK, before the 1st XV played Hove in a game that all but has sealed promotion for them. Chobham’s team saw six changes to Billy Davison’s previous squad, with lock Matt Bosworth and openside flanker Magnus Barber returning to the starting pack; centre Sam Davies, wing Josh Sheppard and fullback Tommy Reed return to the starting backline; while on the bench prop Angus Hargan returned.
The opening salvos saw Chob dominate with attack after attack into the Hove 22 with no reward, despite having a try disallowed and once being held up over the line. It was 10 minutes in when Guy Mawhood from a ruck on the 22 passed blind to flanker Magnus Barber who ran down the wing and stepped the Hove fullback to score. The Chobham pack again dominated the scrum, even though the windy conditions seem to upset the Scarlett & Golds line out.
On the half hour along down field kick by the visitors deep into the Chob half, it was gathered by Tommy Reed who under pressure passed to John Rumsey and ran to the half way and when tackled popped to Mawhoood – who now in one his famous mazy runs down the right wing and avoiding three defenders to score in the corner. But 5 minutes later Hove finally made it into the hosts 22 from a scrum penalty. At the lineout a well organised pack drove to the line for a try by hooker Butcher. The first half ended 10-5 to Chob, Billy and the rest of the coaches must have been disappointed as the home team had coughed up a number of opportunities and could have easily have been well and truly clear.
The second half started the same as the first, a dominating Chobham unable to convert it into points. With just over 10 minutes gone a centrally placed scrum saw a move using Oli Guy as a pivot pass to winger Josh Sheppard who broke two defenders on the cut for the first try of the day. As Chobham started to up the pressure the number of penalties going their way stopped Hove for getting any hold on the game. At a ruck 5m out a Hove player didn’t bind on and drove straight onto Chob scrum half, Mawhood got to his feet and took quick tap and crossed the line for the second converted try of the half.
With 10 minutes to go a central scrum gave the Scarlett & Golds the platform for Reed to score in the left corner for his first try of the season and 5 minutes later a visitors scrum on the halfway was being driven backwards at speed, but the scrum half got it out into the backline and a decisive run by centre Robertson saw him dissect the Chobham centres and a strong run into the left corner for Hove’s best try of the day. The last score of the day went to the home team after counter rucking won them possession, then following a number of rucks a miss pass from Adam Peever made a big gap for Sam Davies to go through to score under the posts.
Head Coach Billy Davison said “A marvellous afternoon of rugby was enjoyed by all. With fantastic support from the Chobham faithful, a wonderful ladies lunch and the victorious heroes from the 2nd XV, everything was set for a strong performance. Despite some chronic try-avoidance in the first half, the team, helped by an outstanding scrum, stuck to task and pushed past league rivals Hove. Special mention to McCain, Warren and Mawhood. Just a couple of points from the last match will see Chobham RFC crowned Champions! If only England had turned up!”
Assistant Coach Robbie Kennard said “it was a very good performance from us today. Especially in the second half and it is particularly pleasing to see the work we have done on the training park replicated on a Saturday. The scrum and 1st phase attack were outstanding.
It’s all in our hands now with one game left to play. The boys have worked hard but have to finish the job they started.”
Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “it was a great result against 3rd placed Hove by the boys, we stuttered a little in the first half when a bit of white line fever appeared. But once we’d settled and played the Chobham game we finished off deserved victors.
We have a week off now until the game to confirm our promotion, however, Twickenham could do us a favour if they beat Old Tiffinians on Friday night.”
The Cannons beat Old Reigatians 2s 48-12 in the early kick off, on Sunday the Colts beat Esher 33-5 in the Quins Cup and the Women lost 31-60 to Chesham who have now won three on the trot.