Chobham U16 B made the trip to play Effingham and Leatherhead Bs on Sunday morning for their latest Surrey Waterfall Cup group match. The playing surface had stood up to some heavy rain better than the supporters’ area so there was the prospect of some flowing rugby on show from both sides.
With E&L kicking off Lewis was first to lay his hands on the ball and the visitors started neatly enough with a solid ruck to build on. The decision was made to kick to clear the lines but this dropped kindly for the home fullback. Running infield from the touchline the 15 managed to link up with the rest of his three-quarter line and Chob’ were exposed on the opposite flank. The E&L wing clung on to the final pass and was able to round the blue defence and open the scoring close to the posts. So with only a couple of minutes gone the hosts were 7-0 to the good.
This early score prompted E&L to play wide from the restart and they again made good ground into Chob’ territory. A handling error briefly turned the ball over before it was returned by Chob’. E&L tried the chip through, but the Chob’ defence was rather better than the French later that day, and a strong clearing kick chase put Chob’ in home territory for the first time.
The visitors couldn’t make this pressure count, and E&L countered well to drag play back towards the Chob’ 25. The visitors conceded at a ruck and E&L immediately opted for the kick to the corner. At this level a clean lineout favours the attacking side if they look to use a driving maul and E&L duly extended the lead to 12-0 in the corner.
The restart this time was won well by Samuel and Chob’ finally had a good opportunity to push for an opening score. The forwards carried well into the E&L 25 before releasing Callum in the centre on a crash ball, winning a penalty at the breakdown. The hosts were scrambling now and after a series of penalties on their line Billy managed to reach over in the tackle and reduce the deficit to only 5, Samuel slotting the extras.
The try having come from good tight play committing the E&L defence Chob’ couldn’t develop this further as the ref’ started to blow at breakdown time. This led to E&L having the vast majority of the territory and possession, with Chob’ mainly having to react to E&L attacks, using big runners on the fly-half’s inside shoulder to good effect.
Chob’ had one good chance during the remainder of the half with Lewis on the end of some tidy passing between backs and forwards. The covering tackle pulled him up around 5 yards short.
Towards the end of the half E&L were again close to the Chob’ line and being awarded a number of penalties to pin Chob’ right back. A tap and bust up to the line was kept out, initially it appeared at the expense of a further penalty. Then the ref seemed to change his mind and indicated a penalty try for E&L. This was the final play of the half and Chob’ were 19-7 down.
The second period opened with Chob’ trying to assert some decent pressure but a clearance from E&L and a home bounce meant the kick chase had their hands on it once more. They were awarded a penalty in prime position but this time they settled for just three points to create a three score lead at 22-7.
Chob’ were now very much chasing the game and unable to dictate the pattern of play and bring E&L into the breakdowns. The penalty count continued to rise and E&L turned the score by playing into the corners. The Chob’ playing numbers were reduced with the use of the yellow card and E&L took advantage to score two more driving tries.
The game was up now with Chob’ 34-7 down, but to their credit they continued to plug away and managed to find a degree of control in finding their rhythm in the narrow channels around the tackle. Harrison and Harvey punched holes in the home defence and it was E&L now hearing the blast of the ref’s whistle as they infringed, and lost a player to a card late on.
Giving up the chance to go for the corner themselves, a quick tap instead pushed into the E&L 25. Dan was able to make a deft offload to Billy, who had carried pretty well when the chance came, had just enough juice left to notch his second score in the far left corner.
The conversion proved too challenging and the ref called the game without time for a restart so the boys had gone down 34-12 to a side that had shown Chob’ how effective their own game plan might be if they had been able to deliver. E&L are a strong set up and Chob’ should take on board that they competed well as a team and were able to score the final try. Sadly for them though the Waterfall competition rules don’t include a last score wins clause.
Squad: Rhys, Samuel, Aran, Callum, Lewis, Ewen, Sam, Dan, Harrison, Billy, Max, Jules, Teo, Tom, Harvey, Matt, Saxon.