Match Report from Doug Mayger: In the Minis Cobham were the team that these boys faced more often than any other, but with the advent of leagues and cups this was the first meeting since those far away festival days. A series of late unavailabilities meant the squad was sixteen strong, with Joe making his A team debut.
Cobham kicked off and failed to reach the 10 yards and conceded an immediate penalty for a high tackle, which was dully despatched into their 25. A bit of a kicking duel came from the lineout before an unlucky bounce put Chob under pressure in their 25. The clearing kick under pressure didn’t make touch and the Cobham set the ruck and attacked the right corner. A desperate covering tackle forced the attack into touch, but the ref judged it to be a high tackle and awarded the hosts a penalty try and an early 7 point lead.
It was then Chob’s turn to put Cobham under pressure, winning the ball in their red zone. Using the short ball around the fringes pushed play goalwards and wide forcing a Cobham high tackle and a lineout on the 5 yard line from the penalty. Lineout ball off the top was played left but the home side defended their line by conceding two penalties in quick succession as Chob’s forwards drove for the score. A quick crossfield from Gideon to the unprotected left wing was safely gathered by Harry who was able to touch down as his opposite number tried to make the tackle, the deficit being reduced to two points.
The game ebbed and flowed with both teams trying to play a handling game but the defence just had the upper hand. Cobham then managed to extend the lead as they chose the direct route with the front 8 driving for the line, eventually managing to wriggle over in front of the posts to make it 5-14. The Chob defence came at a price, with both Doug and TommyW needing to spend time being treated by Emma so the visitors were down to 14.
It didn’t seem to matter as the boys upped their game and really stretched the opposition. Oli was in the vanguard with a surging run and a great pop off the deck to Callum with Charlie taking the next ball. Quick rucking meant there was an overlap to the left and a miss pass from Chris led to Harry going over again wide out to bring it back to a 4 point game.
After 28 minutes the ref signalled for the first scrum of the game, surely a sign of how well both sides were carrying the ball. Cobham ran left but with the line gaping the final pass was spilled. Chobham pounced and set off on the counter with Connor being released into space around halfway. Cobham gave away another penalty and quick thinking from Doug with a tap to himself saw him beat the defence for Chobham’s third try, Chris converting for a 17-14 half-time lead.
The second period picked up where the first had ended as Chob showed their best qualities scrapping for every ball, Adam pinching a loose pass in midfield and so nearly freeing the backs up for another score. Chob were unable to break the pattern of scoring though as Cob managed to get the next score. A scrum in centre field was the platform for some neat hands to retake a narrow lead with a score in the right corner. A rare weak restart put Chob under pressure again and Cobham attacked right. The ref gave another penalty try in very similar circumstances to the first, deciding another high tackle had prevented a score, this time their being little doubt about his decision.
The lead was now two scores at 26-17 going into the final quarter, but Chob regrouped to hammer away at the Cobham line, eventually earning a 5 yard scrum. Opting to spin wide rather than attack off the back row couldn’t quite get over and Cobham earned a scrum. Once more they were penalised and a second quick cross kick was perfectly judged for Adam to have the simplest of finishes from about a yard out. Chris slotted over the extras and it was a 2 point game again.
Chobham defended safely across their own 10 yard line as Cobham threw everything at them. Somebody stole the ball at a ruck and defence quickly became attack as Gideon and MattN got behind the Cobham defence. From the ruck a blatant deliberate knock on from a kick led to a Chobham lineout close to the home line. The forwards had evidently decided that the backs had taken enough of the glory as a catch and drive took the ball close to the line. Last ditch defending kept a couple of surges out before DanM got to within a foot of the whitewash. The ball came free and skipper Charlie was able to make the final push and carry Chob into a 3 point lead at 29-26 with four minutes to go.
Cobham restarted long and Chob had a lineout 5 yards from the line. Sadly the ball fell loose at the line and Cobham were able to force their way over after a couple of charges, to make it 31-29. With the restart likely to be the last play of the game a desperate chase from Chob left space out wide and a chipped kick and home bounce gave Cobham’s winger the space to finish under the posts, to make the final score 38-29 which was certainly a heavier defeat then Chobham deserved.
Coach Matt summed things up in the debrief emphasising that he was ‘really proud of how well you’ve played’, and that on another day things could have so easily been a different result.
Squad: Doug, Adam, TommyW, Fin, Harry, Chris, Gideon, DanM, Oli, Joe, MattN, Callum, Connor, Hugh, Charlie, Andy.
Match Report: Doug Mayger