Tough Start for the Year

Aylesbury 32-27 Chobham
Tough Start for the Year

The Scarlet and Golds travelled to Aylesbury for the first league weekend of 2024. Sitting 5th in Regional 2 Thames, Chobham faced Aylesbury on Saturday who have not had a win since the opening game of the season. But Robbie Kennard and the coaches knew they could not sit on our laurels as Aylesbury have 7 years experience at Level 6 and a well-established large pack – playing at their ground would be a tough ask. They have also recently recruited from a number of players from Leighton Buzzard. The issues of the day were underlined as the match day programme welcomed Cobham!!

Chobham also had the additional issue of eight front row squad players unavailable. The team on the road to Buckinghamshire had six changes from the win against Marlow just before Christmas, the “Brazilian Train” Joao Hames returns to prop, Sam Goddard is back in the row, Finn Livingstone gets his first start of the season at scrum half, Ieuan Woods is back on the left wing and on the bench lock Matt Bosworth is back as forwards cover, while Head Coach Robbie Kennard is backs cover as Chobham had so many absentees.

It was a tough start for the visitors as hooker Harrison Jones went into the sin bin for the first penalty of the game. Chobham expected a tough referee for the day, but sadly this was not to be as the home team appeared in the first half to do carte blanche as they wished! Soon after the card Aylesbury prop Davies crossed the line to take advantage of the extra man. Five minutes later a break away by the hosts saw winger Page score a great try in the right corner.

Aylesbury had their tail up as they attacked the visitors line time and time again. Eventually the pressure saw Chobham’s Justin Rowland also go into the sin bin as well, while 2 players down Aylesbury prop Knight scored a try. A few minutes later Sam Davies got Chobhams first score through a penalty. A few minutes before half time Aylesbury’s Shearer got his first penalty. Chobhams first try came just before half time with a multi phase from penalty advantage under the posts, through multiple phases the ball went left for Davies to score in the corner, half time saw the home team 20-8 to the advantage.

The second half saw Chobham start to wake up and their pressure finally saw the referee send an Aylesbury player go to the sin bin after nearly 30 penalties, with the player advantage Chobham were able to score when Noah Jenkins popped the ball in from the wing for Oli Guy to score. Unfortunately Aylesbury ran the ball straight back and were awarded a very dubious try when everyone, apart from the referee, believed winger Page was held up over the line.

Just after the half hour Aylesbury’s flanker Phillips was yellow carded for a high tackle. From the penalty Guy got his second try under the posts, this time converted. With five minutes to go Jenkins got the try of the game when he chased down a deep kick to score under the posts. Chobham were now 2 points to the advantage with a couple of minutes to go. Chobhams hearts were broken with the last play of the game when Page got his hattrick in the right corner. Aylesbury had scraped the game 32-27, but Chobham took 2 points from the day.

After the game Head Coach Robbie Kennard said “a frustrating afternoon for the Chobham players. A game that was littered with the whistle and disjointed for many reasons.
We had more than enough opportunities to win, after being behind at the break, got back in front and then conceded right at the end. We have to better in the opposition red zone, we created a lot of opportunities in that area of the field today and didn’t convert them into points.

We are very much looking forward to next weeks clash against high flying Belsize Park. There are a large numbers of players returning next week and we look forward to getting three teams out again.”

After the game Director of Rugby Harry Norman-Walker said “we were very hard done by on the day by some critical incidents that affected the result, consistency is all we ask and its very hard for players to know what’s going on when they don’t get this. We had eight front row players missing this week and things will improve in the weeks to come. Next week we host Belsize Park and with returning players are quite optimistic.

Starters: Joao Hames; Harrison Jones; Angus Hargan; Sam Goddard; Chris Kent; Dan Warren; Justin Rowland; Dan Benton; Finn Livingstone; Adam Peever; Noah Jenkins; Oli Guy; Sam Davies; Ieuan Woods; Guy Mawhood.

Replacements: Ben Puttock; Matt Bosworth; Robbie Kennard.

Harry Norman-Walker
Director of Rugby
Chobham RFC

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