View from the Touchline from Nigel Guy:
Here we go again and welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our first home game of the 2014-15 season. It only seems a blink of the eye since we gained a thrilling victory over Sidcup in our last home game of the season in April. We could be well satisfied with our 5th place in our first season back in London 1S and there were plenty of “if only’s” in the handful of close defeats that we suffered. Well it’s all change this year. Gone to National 3 are the two heavy weights of Gravesend and Chichester where they replace amongst others Basingstoke who drop down to London 1. Also in are Guildford, Charlton Park, Gosport & Fareham and today’s opponents Twickenham who all came up via direct promotion or the play offs. Staines, Beckenham and Haywards Heath all leave us. I think this gives the league an extra edge with more of our opposition being locally based and I am certain it will be as competitive as ever.
Like every club, whilst the off season gives the players and coaches chance to get their breath back, there has been plenty going on over the summer. Clubhouse improvements and the hugely impressive pitch side barrier make Fowler’s Wells look very smart and definitely enhance our facilities. Off the field we have continued to invest in our coaching resources. As a club our junior to senior pathway is the envy of many and with 21 of the 36 players who represented the 1st XV last year coming through our junior set up, it is crucial to our ongoing success. To make sure that the young players arrive at senior rugby level and continue to develop their skills, we have appointed Liam Cranford as 2nd XV coach and Chris Dodd as Coach of our 3rd and 4th XV’s, our Devils. Liam is well known around the club and will continue with his successful YDO role in parallel. Chris is both a former Devil and 1st XV player and has pursued a coaching career in both league and union as well as coaching last season in Brazil! I am sure they will do a terrific job working with Ryan and Tony to make sure that the player pool for 1st XV rugby is as large as possible.
Now to the more recent past, in fact last Saturday and our opening league fixture away to Havant. This was a tricky opener. We were well beaten on a wet and wild February day down in Hampshire last season and Havant have certainly put some impressive results together particularly on their own patch. However our first half performance reflected the momentum that has been building during the pre-season programme and for 30 minutes of the first half we played some excellent rugby. 3 tries from Liam Monaghan and Josh Devitt well supported by James Dunne’s boot gave a well deserved 22-3 half team lead. The second half didn’t quite go to plan as we seemed to fall foul of the ref and this gave Havant both the opportunity for possession and territory. In the end we were worthy winners but the second half scrap largely in our own half was not quite what we wanted. Nevertheless we have now strung together a 7 match unbeaten run and that bodes well for our confidence.
Today we welcome Twickenham who arrive in London 1S via the circuitous route of the NW2 playoffs and a subsequent level transfer. Our last encounters were in SW2 in 2011-12 with a victory apiece. They got off to a fantastic start last weekend with a thumping home victory over Cobham, who with Mike Cudmore’s appointment must have lofty ambitions. So we know from that result that today will be a tough game and I’m sure Ryan and Tony will have prepared the squad well and confidence levels will be positive as we look to extend our unbeaten run. With the 2’s hosting the Twickenham double header and the Devil’s (3) also at home, there will be feast of rugby to watch. Please get behind the boys and cheer us to three victories!
Enjoy the game
Chobham RFC Director of Rugby