Nigel Guy shares his view from the touchline: Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our second 1st XV home game of the season. It’s been an interesting week to say the least.
We had a terrific battle last Saturday with our old adversaries Sutton & Epsom. We’ve had a couple of titanic struggles with them over the last few matches. We lost our 26 match unbeaten run over at Rugby Lane a year ago when a converted try in the 91st minute saw the home team sneak it. On the other hand we nicked an enthralling Surrey Trophy final with a last minute try from our arch Kiwi poacher Andrew MacDougall-remember him? Last Saturday was a very physical battle with Ellen being very busy. Our first half performance was excellent and we finished the half very strongly and had S&E on the ropes and down to 13 men. A try in the early part of the second half put us well clear at 23-3. But back came the home team and we had to mount an effective rear-guard action as S&E found spirit and a second wind to put some points on the board. Josh Devitt’s hat trick try secured a deserved bonus point victory and extends the unbeaten run to 9. Congratulations go to debutant Howard Turner and also to skipper Tony Paul and lock Dom Sammut who both reached the 50 cap milestone last week. Tony and Dom’s commitment has been outstanding with both players only missing a game apiece in the last two and a bit seasons.
Results elsewhere are starting to trend but not much should be drawn from that so early in the season- this time last year Beckenham had won three from three!
In addition to the 1st XV result, the Cannons with three U18 players in the side had a very convincing win over S&E and with the Devs (3), Devs (4) and the Crusaders winning as well it was a great Saturday. On the subject of young players, we would like to congratulate Joe Head (Hampshire), Jake Dunne and Justin Rowland (both Surrey) on their U18s county selection. We all wish the boys the best of luck.
Well they say that pride always comes before a fall and unfortunately we discovered that due to an administrative error we had fielded an unregistered player in a recent London 1 South encounter. On discovering the situation, which was as a result of simple human error, we were in touch with the relevant league authority. Whilst sympathetic to our position and as a club we sought to gain no deliberate advantage, the likely standard sanction will be a 5 point deduction. Apparently we might not be the first L1S club to transgress this season. Although this is very disappointing particularly in the light of an unbeaten start to the season, the Chobham coaches and playing squad are determined to overcome this setback through continued success on the field and bounce back positively in today’s game.
Today we welcome neighbours from down the M3 in Basingstoke. Although they were relegated from National 3 last season, they are finding their feet in L1S with two home wins and a defeat at Guildford. Today will be a good test for our boys but I’m sure Ryan and Tony will have prepared the squad well and confidence levels will be high as we look to extend our unbeaten run. With the 2’s also hosting our Hampshire neighbours and the Crusaders at home, we know that there will be plenty of hard fought rugby to be played this afternoon at Fowler’s Wells. Please get behind the boys and cheer us to three victories!
Enjoy the game.
Chobham RFC Director of Rugby