Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for only our fifth home game of the season and our eleventh game in total. Since I last wrote we have had a well-earned break either side of which we took on Gosport and Brighton. With high flyers Sidcup rolling into town it’s good to be back at Fowler’s Wells and have the benefit of the backing of our great supporters. With ladies only touch rugby now started every Wednesday and a sold out ladies’ lunch this afternoon, the club has certainly found its feminine side!
Reviewing our last two matches, I guess it’s a continuation of a theme of a couple of steps forward and one back. On a decent October afternoon we put 9 tries onto the scoreboard against Gosport & Fareham. Although we didn’t quite hit our straps we had way too much in the locker for our understrength visitors and one of the most pleasing aspects was a clean sheet. It’s interesting though to reflect on how times have changed and indeed our progression. On their last visit to Chobham in February 2012 they came away with a 17-3 win but only 3 of that day’s squad featured for us three weeks ago.
After the recess, which incidentally was after a straight 9 weeks of competitive rugby, we travelled down the A23 to Brighton. Despite finishing 3rd last year Brighton have had an indifferent start to the season including a loss to bottom placed Cobham last time out. However they are a direct side with one or two big runners so we knew what was coming. On a greasy pitch it was end to end stuff all afternoon with neither side able to hold onto the ball for long enough to create pressure to gain the upper hand. With a score to take the lead approaching 80 minutes, it looked like Chob had secured the victory, but a lack of composure meant that Brighton were given field position. After serious pressure was repelled by some terrific Chob defence, Brighton scored deep into injury time to snatch a win 29-27. Credit to the home team for retaining their composure at the death, but it felt like groundhog day as I cast my mind back to a series of close games (S&E and Cobham last year; Basingstoke, Windsor and Maidenhead this year) where we could and should have won. In a tight league such as London 1 there is little margin for error and every chance whether by hand or from the boot needs to be taken. Incidentally having seen England falter in the last two weeks, the same could be said about the men in white who on consecutive Saturdays had enough opportunities to take control of their games. So the challenge of improved execution is a valid one to throw down to every rugby player throughout the land right the way up to international level.
Although last week saw a Saturday off for the 2s, the Devs 3 and 4 were in action with the 3s winning against Old Pauline’s to move to the top of Surrey Combination 1 whilst the Devs 4 lost a close game to the Combination 2 league leaders. Congratulations to Chris Dodds and Neil Gadsby for their achievements so far.
So today we welcome high flying Sidcup who sit in 2nd place. Despite recent losses to in form S&E and Guildford, they are very much in contention in a very competitive league. Last season saw us being well beaten down in Kent although we reversed the result at Fowler’s Wells with a nail biting, but deserved 23-21 win – you see we can win close games! Today creates a great opportunity for us to bounce back and maintain our interest at the right end of the table. I’m sure Ryan and Tony will have prepared the squad well so please get behind the boys and cheer us to victory.
Enjoy the game!
Chobham RFC Director of Rugby