The U16s travelled en masse to Reeds on Sunday. The B squad played a triangular affair with the hosts B squad and a Gravesend A/B squad, mixing with Reeds who were short of numbers, running Gravesend close as a Chobham squad alongside the A fixture.
The Reeds kick off didn’t go 10 yards giving Chob an immediate attacking opportunity from a scrum on halfway. A chip through was gathered by Reeds but the clearing kick was charged down and Reeds had a lineout on their own 5. Reeds won it and looked to play the ball from almost on their own line, a tactic repeated frequently throughout the match. This option, along with good retention at the breakdown put the hosts into Chob territory with progress being halted by some big tackles from the visitors, first from Dan on his opposite number and then Tommy on the fly-half.
Reeds continued to keep the ball in hand, but the visitor’s defensive drills kept them at bay, Reeds having to try and kick for the corners. Eventually Reeds looked to grubber a kick behind the defence but only succeeded in giving away a drop out.
Chobham inched their way up field over a period of a several minutes as the two sides continued to be very evenly matched. The Chob’ lineout was working well giving a good platform for the forwards to drive play towards the home line but this time defence at the other end of the paddock had the edge and it remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Reeds then created the best chance of the match so far. Quick hands put the tall right wing into lots of space where he put on the afterburners and seemed certain to open the scoring, only for Rhys and Chris to somehow get across and bundle him into touch.
From the clearance Reeds won a penalty and kicked to the corner. The lineout drive was snuffed out quickly, but a second drive in front of the posts drew in the defence and the left wing was able to finish off about a yard from the corner flag.
Reeds got lucky at the restart as a lucky bounce from a missed catch sat up nicely and allowed them to play back into Chobham’s half. Very quickly the right wing was closing in on the line once more, but this time George was able to make the try saving tackle.
With the whistle fast approaching the forwards again went to work and with two drives gaining twenty yards each and earning a penalty they were on the Reeds 5 yard line. In true English fashion, the backs never got a sniff as a third drive was enough to cross the line with Charlie dotting down and level the score at 5-5.
Now playing down a slight slope and with the sun on their backs Chob opened the second half in fine style. Reeds went back to keeping the ball in hand, but Gideon was too sharp and with an interception was able to coast in under the posts. Chris added the kick and Chob now had a 12-5 lead.
Unfortunately this was to be short-lived as Reeds fought back almost immediately. From a penalty in the Chobham half, which temporarily reduced the visitors to 14 men, they scored with a carbon copy of the first Chob’ try. The kick was missed but it was now 12-10.
In contrast to the first half the game seemed to open up and this time it was Chobham who took advantage. Starting from a Reeds lineout in their own half, a loose pass from the fly-half went to ground. Tommy, who had been a nuisance to the 10 all game was right there to hack down field. He won the race to the line and scooped the ball safely to extend the lead once more. Gideon added the extra two points and Chobham now led 19-10.
The frenetic scoring pace in the second period continued with Reeds being able to retain possession through multiple phases and press to the Chob line. The defence finally cracked and the deficit was now a single score at 19-15.
Both sides finally shrugged off their defensive frailties as neither side could create any further chances as the attacks huffed and puffed. With around 10 minutes to play Reeds had finally worked themselves into the red zone and had a 5 yard scrum. First they went for the classic ‘8 pick’ which was dealt with illegally by Chob’. Twice they tried to batter through from close penalties before opting for a scrum once more. It seemed as though Chobham had pinched a crucial one against the head but the ball bounced loose and Reeds were able to regain it and dance over in the corner, retaking the lead once more in the process. The home side now held the narrowest of margins at 20-19.
Time was now against Chobham and Reeds were able to keep them at arms-length and restricting the possession as much as possible. Into time added on, and Chobham had one final chance with a lineout in Reeds half. Ultimately though Reeds drove Chobham into touch and ran out winners by a single point.
Rhys, Andrew, Aran,Chris, Harry, George, Gideon, Dan, Charlie, Olly, Callum, Matt, Connor, Tommy, Doug, Ben, Billy, MaxA.