Chobham 27 (22) – 17 (0) London Exiles
Chobham, sponsored by Bray Wealth Management and local restaurant Rosso Mazarra, hosted Exiles for the first game of the new decade; the result gives further belief that they will escape relegation this season. Chob have had a tough start since being relegated to London 2 South West and have come to quickly realise there is little difference in the dozen sides at this level. With over 40 at training this week Billy Davison and the coaches (sponsored by Reflex and Relax) selection issues were a great problem to have.
Chob welcomed Liam Monaghan back to the team after his delayed honeymoon in South Africa, congratulation again to Vickie and Liam who got married in the summer. The team also saw the debut for 3 players; scrum half George Jones and tight head Angus Hargan have both come through the Junior ranks at Chob and back row Nathan Spratt who was a student at the clubs West Surrey Academy.
On a sunny afternoon Exiles kicked off to Chob in their new Bray Wealth Management sponsored kit and from the start they put the visitors under pressure, after 3 minutes just outside their 22 Exiles away a penalty for not releasing in the tackle allowing John Rumsey (sponsored by XV Sports) to give the hosts a 3 point lead. Chob dominated the scrum and new boy Jones was able to deliver clean ball to Robbie Kennard (sponsored by Past President Chris Whiting) at stand-off. Starting Number 8 Oli Smiths pick and goes of the back of the set piece broke the line repeatedly.
With just over 10 minutes gone Monaghan (sponsored by Timberline Partners LLP) broke down the left wing to score the opening try following a great break down the opposite wing by Tommy Reed, which Rumsey converted. Ed Wynne (sponsored by Chobham Wealth Management) was back to his prime and hit the Exiles line time after time asking of them to prove that they were happy to put down the bigger forward. Exiles discipline was letting them down and this ruined some of their possession. Chobs backs were running with free will and Exiles strong defence saved them time after time.
Sean Bellion (sponsored by Owen Shipp Commercial) line out ball hit the target Chris Kent (sponsored by Active8) continually and gave the hosts a great platform to run off. Exiles large pack had strong runners and their Number 8 Carson put the Chob defence under a lot of pressure. A visitor’s attack was intercepted by Reed on the half way allowing him to run the length of the field to score under the posts, leaving Rumsey an easy conversion and a 17-0 lead. Chobham broke again from within their half 2 minutes later and with a deft dive flanker Jerry Rumball went over in the right-hand corner, putting the hosts 22-0 up with 22 minutes gone, sadly Chobham lost within a couple of minutes of each other hooker Bellion, replaced by Spratt, with a serious calf injury.
The excitement amongst the home crowd was electrifying and crescendo was no greater than when Justin Rowlands won an Exiles 5m attacking line out. Sadly debutante Jones injured his knee and was replaced by Sam Davies (sponsored by Chobham Wealth Management). The game was little more disjointed now, but with Leon Nell (sponsored by Chobham Under 16s) now at hooker, but diminutive winger Ben Livingstone and captain Phil Williams defensive tackling prevented back line attacks from the visitors.
With 5 minutes to the break an off the ball incident resulted in a 30-man tussle which referee Jack Wilson stopped and handled really well, the two initiators Pete McCain (sponsored by Route One Solutuons) and Exiles No.8 Carson received yellow cards. The remainder of the half saw the final debutante Hargan on the field, immediately he showed his known ability to break the line. The half time whistle came with Chobham going in 22-0 up, the first half had seen a clinical home team, whose best stat was that they had only given away two penalties in 40 minutes.
Chob kicked off the second period and any concerns Exiles had were absent as they immediately took the game to Chobham for a very disappointing quarter. Strong running from replacement prop Stratton and centre Cotton started to show frailties in the hosts. With a few minutes gone and following an overthrown defensive 5m line out the visitors’ prop Stratton crossed the line to open Exiles scoring. Chob appeared disjointed and looked like the team from earlier in the season, out wide Chob wingers Monaghan and Livingstone were busy protecting the flanks. The pressure on the Chob line eventually saw Exiles Carson cross the line and Labron converted bringing the score to 22-12.
Exiles replacement prop Stratton scored again from a 5m attacking line out to bring the visitors within a score of Chob with 20 minutes to go, at 22-17 many of those home fans were now concerned an almighty collapse was happening in front of their eyes.
Chob now took control of the game again, Rowland and Rumball work around the paddock was evident in stopping the visitors attack. With 15 minutes to go home winger Livingstone was yellow carded for a high tackle. Shortlty after Exiles centre Cotton was also yellow carded for going over the top in a ruck, both teams were now down to 14, from the ensuing short line out Rowlands popped the ball back to Nell who went over in the left-hand corner.
Chob were now back in control and with only 2 minutes left Rumsey deliberately knocked a Exiles pass down to go into the sin bin. Chob were able to relieve the pressure only through Exiles unforced errors. The Chob pack at the set piece were once again in control and the Chob scrum had Exiles under constant pressure allowing the home team to run down the clock – the final whistle went to the applaud of the home supporters and the second team whose winning game had already finished.
A great weekend all round for the seniors as the Cannons beat Warlingham 2s 29-11 and the Crusaders got a Home Walk Over Old Emanuels.
After the game coach Robbie Kennard said “We had a really good first half and played some good rugby. We controlled possession, dominated set piece and looked dangerous in the wide channels. We needed more control in the second half and there were far too many individual errors and penalties for the standards the group have set themselves. This was a huge step forward and I know the boys will be working hard on the training pitch during the week. It was a fantastic day for the club with all three teams winning, onto next week!”
1st XV Manager Harry Norman-Walker said “I have been saying we are a new team with rediscovered focus and drive, the first half is what the boys have been training towards over Christmas and they don’t need telling how they let themselves down in the third quarter. We rallied and closed the game off, I am really excited how the second half of this season is going to go.”
Head coach Billy Davison said “Another step forward for the Chobham players. Confidence and belief is growing and it was great to see some committed defensive sets to add to the early tactical control. A period of sustained pressure by the visiting Exiles team was weathered in time for a stronger finish and a much needed 5pt victory. A mountain still to climb but 12pts from the last three matches has provided the foundation. The team slowly working out of the foothills and looking up now.”
Team: Pete McCain; Sean Bellion; Ed Wynne; Leon Nell; Chris Kent; Jerry Rumball; Justin Rowland; Oli Smith; George Jones; Robbie Kennard; Ben Livingstone; Phil Williams (c); Tommy Reed; Liam Monaghan; John Rumsey.
Game Changers: Angus Hargan; Nathan Spratt; Sam Davies.