Nigel Guy Director of Rugby reflects on the season thus far ahead of the Gosport and Fareham fixture:
Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our fourth home game of the season and our ninth in total. Since I last put pen to paper we have had 3 Surrey local derbies against Guildford, Cobham and Wimbledon, with the latter two away, so it’s good to get back on our home paddock and have the benefit our great supporters cheering us on.
Reviewing our last three games sort of sums up our season so far, two or three really good steps forward and then one back. Starting with Guildford three weeks ago, we knew what was coming. They have a very strong front five and use that well as an attacking weapon, so our first job was to stop that and then hopefully play some rugby. Well those who were at the game will know it was pretty attritional- the 0-0 half time score line says it all. Then we took our chances through Josh and Ryan and we made Guildford play catch up rugby. Whilst it was a nail biter at the end with our numbers depleted, our fantastic crowd more than made up for that and we took the victory against a more than decent outfit. The Cannons and the Devils 3 made it a fantastic Chob triple over G’s.
Next up was a trip to the leafy grounds of Cobham who under new coach Mike Cudmore are struggling to find their feet this season having lost one or two players as well as been impacted by injuries. Despite this, for a reasonable chunk of the game against us, they looked competent if not incisive although we probably gave them too much respect and ball to play with. In the end our superior fitness told as we found our pace and intensity once we had gone narrowly behind with 25 minutes to play. With some continuity established and the ball in our hands, gaps appeared in the Cobham ranks and we took advantage with a bonus point win.
So we then move up the A3 to Wimbledon. Last season we had two very close matches, with the Chob nicking it away only for the same thing to happen to us at home. They are in useful fettle judging by their results having lost only once on the opening day to Sidcup with a draw against Havant the only other blemish. Despite having the worst website on the circuit, they have clearly been investing heavily elsewhere having recruited England internationals Nick Easter and Tim Payne to head up their coaching team supported on the field by ex-Esher players Messrs Hallett and Renwick. Despite an encouraging opening 15 minutes when we took the lead, on the day Wimbledon executed very well and in the end ran away with it. Just like we did to Chichester last season when we inflicted a similar defeat, in this league, if one team’s not at the races and the other hits its straps, there is only one result that follows. Certainly our drubbing of Chi seemed to work for them as they only lost a couple of times more and ended up being promoted. The bright spots from Saturday were a great Cannons win over Wimbledon 2’s and the Dev’s 3 winning a very close game against Rosslyn Park.
On the honours front, we congratulate Tom Riley who joined the 50 Club against Wimbledon and also our Player/Coach Ryan Gregory who joined the illustrious band of Chobham Centurions last week. A separate piece is in this programme.
So today we welcome Gosport and Fareham who secured promotion from L2SW last season. The signs are that they are finding their feet at this level and with a win over Cobham last week will come to Fowler’s Wells with increased confidence. Today creates a great opportunity for our boys to bounce back and I’m sure Ryan and Tony will have prepared the squad well. Please get behind the boys and cheer us to victory.
Enjoy the game.
Nigel Guy, Chobham RFC Director of Rugby