The End of the Road to Twickenham

Old Alleynians 29-17 Chobham

Chobhams dreams of going to Twickenham in the Papa Johns Cup were thwarted by a very efficient and determined Old Alleynians. The glorious sunshine and warm weather was countered by a very heavy-going wet pitch, due to the previous 48 hours down pour. 

As it was the Papa Johns Communities Championship Cup (Counties 1) Semi Final, for the first time in the competition Billy Davison was able to select a squad of 22 players and so there were a number of changes from the Cullompton team the previous week. Prop Pete MacCain, second row Matt Bosworth, Sam Davies in the centre and full back Tommy Reed all return to the starting squad. Flankers Max Sambrook and Harrison Jones, centre Nieem Khan and half back cover from Robbie Kennard will be the additional substitutes in the squad. Unfortunately, the squad lost Guy Mawhood and Magnus Barber to injury from last week’s game, they were also without Sam Thirlwell and Leon Nell. 

The visitors got the early advantage following a high tackle and Sam Davies opened with a penalty. Alleynians then upped the intensity and pressured the Chobham line. From a lineout the hosts drove and after a number phases flanker Philpot crossed the line for a converted try. From the restart Dan Benton was sent to the sin bin for taking a player out in the air. 10 minutes later from another adjudged high tackle Dewing was able to push Alleynians a little further ahead with a penalty. On the half hour the hosts went down to 14 when their fullback Winduss was sent to the sin bin for slowing the ball done in the ruck. Chobham were unable to take advantage of the opposition a man down and the score at half time the score was 10-3 to Alleynians. The first half had not been the most exciting half of rugby and Alleynians were deserved going in in the lead.

The second half was a little stop start at the beginning and after 3 minutes John Rumsey was the second Chobham player to go the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. From the lineout they kicked the Alleynians pack attacked the Chobham line and the visitors defence evenyually gave on epenalty too many away and Angus Hargan joined his colleague in the sin bin. Alleynians again went for a 5m lineout from the penalty and eventually hooker Simpson scored a try. From the restart Alleynians got away with coming in at the side at the ruck and after they spun the ball wide wing Holford went the length of the pitch for a converted try.   

5 minutes later Holford received a yellow card for another alleged deliberate knock on, from the lineout Chobham were able to take advantage from the 5th phase when fly half Adam Peever passed to Davies with the overlap sent Tommy Reed over for a converted try. Now in the ascendancy Chobham had the hosts under pressure and this eventually told when  there was no defence at a breakdown and Chris Kent picked the ball up and ran 20m to score another converted try. The visitors were now within a score and 10 minutes to go the game was really on. But with minutes to go Alleynians fullback Winduss went over to seal the game for them, the final score 29-17 to Old Alleynians. 

Chobham were very close to taking the game, but their lack of discipline and failure to not react to the referees decisions cost them the game. This squad of players had won Surrey/ Sussex 1 and got to the semi-final of the national Papa Johns Cup – despite the disappointment of the result they must be really proud of their achievements this season. 

Starters: Pete McCain; Sean Bellion (Capt.), Angus Hargan; Matt Bosworth; Chris Kent; Dan Benton; Dan Warren; Sam Goddard; Finn Livingstone; Adam Peever; John Rumsey; Oli Guy; Sam Davies; Josh Sheppard; Tommy Reed

Replacements: Reece Finnerty; Ben Puttock; Max Sambrook; Harrison Jones; Nieem Khan; Robbie Kennard; Joe Mousley

Billy Davison – Head Coach

“Following a stellar league season, and a protracted period of many months without a loss, the Chobham 1st XV finally met their match. In a hard- fought and nail-biting national semi-final it was the hosts that kept to their plan, and ran out worthy winners despite the best efforts of the Fowlers Wells heroes. All the players, coaches, management and supporters can be super proud of a fantastic season:  league Champions and Cup semi-finalists! Well done all!“

Harry Norman-Walker – Director of Rugby

“This was the culmination of a fantastic season from the boys, obviously we hoped for a successful result at Old Alleynians. We lost to an impressive outfit who tested us in all areas of the game from the kick off.

They set up a seemingly unattainable lead by half time and an awesome second half saw us nearly overturn the hosts, but it was not to be.

The whole squad and management were obviously disappointed, but we won the league and made the semi-final of a national competition. What an awesome season the team has had, they must be very proud and excited at the prospect ahead next season.” 

Robbie Kennard – Assistant Coach

“In a great game against a good OAs team, we came up a bit short. I think the fairest way to describe the game is that they took theirs chances in our 22, and we didn’t do the same and credit must be given to the way the defended. It’s been a fantastic season for us, getting promoted and getting to the last four in the cup. It’s been a huge privilege to work with this team throughout the season and it’s been one to remember. Next year will be a big step up in terms of playing level and we will have to prepare for that over the summer. Well done to all that contributed and a huge thanks to the Chobham faithful who follow the team everywhere we go!”

Sean Bellion – Captain 

“A tough game to end the season on with a competitive Old Alleynians who started straight from the off. 

Discipline and ball retention hurt us in the first half but a show of grit and determination in the second half showed the strength in this squad. 

It wasn’t quite enough to get the result on the day but overall, a great season finishing league champions and semi-finalists.

On a personal note, it was an honour to run out as captain for the club I have been playing at since U6’s. 

Thank you to all the supporters throughout the season and excited for the 23/24 season campaign at level 6.”

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