Cobham travelled to Basingstoke looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season two weeks before at the hands of League Champions London Cornish. With 'Stoke' having lost their first five games of the season Cobham may not have been anticipating too much difficulty in achieving their objective.
The final score line however does not reflect what was indeed a 'game of two halves' with Cobham struggling to gain the ascendancy in the first 45 minutes against a determined Stoke side looking to progress and being restricted to two unconverted tries and a penalty.
It was however a completely different story in the second half with Cobham running in six tries, as Basingstoke wilted.
Preceding the match President Lionel Frewin together with Braemar members Roger King and Bryan Davies had attended Basingstoke's charity lunch in aid of the Ark Cancer centre. Following the the lunch Bryan 'Voice of an Angel' Davies surprised everyone with his singing and we look forward to hearing a reprise at Cobham soon!
The 3 pm kick off was delayed by two events, one planned, a minutes silence for Remembrance Day, the other not so with Basingstoke having to change into their away shirts as both teams had run out onto the pitch with virtually identical blue and yellow strip.
There was some similarity in how the two teams started the game as well with both sides displaying nerves, loose passing and tackling and there was no obvious differences in the respective teams league positions. Stoke's eagerness was resulting in some offside infringements and after twelve minutes Cobham's number 10 Ollie Weir slotted over a penalty to start the digital score board 0-3.
That first score did not necessarily raise Cobham's game however and some loose passing enabled Stoke to kick ahead and only Dave Baker's try saving tackle prevented a score. Although Cobham retained most of the possession and there were strong runs from Charlie Rooke and Josh Brown it wasnt until 35 minutes before a rolling maul provided the ball for winger James Clements to score in the corner on his first team debut 0-8, swiftly followed by a further try from Number 6 Baker. 0-13 as half time approached.
The digital scoreboard suggested that the half time score was 0-18, in the circumstances that was tempting fate.
It would have been useful to have heard the half time team talk from Cobham Director of Rugby Steve Pope but whatever was said it made an immediate difference with push over tries from Brown 0-18 and Trepant 0-23 converted by Weir to 0-25. Stoke have limited all their opponents to scores of 30 odd points this season and they had their own chances with strong runs from full back Woodhouse but it was Cobham substitute Ali Porter who made the break to feed Baker for his brace under the posts 0-30 converted to 0-32.
With fifteen minutes to go the pressure on the Stoke defence and quick hands from Cobham saw them run in three further converted tries from Clements, 0-39-Macdonald 0-46 and Cowell 0-53.
With that final score Cobham had finally overtaken the exuberant digital scoreboard.
Steve Pope said ''A good solid performance from the boys today and very pleased to see the response in training this week and in the performance today after the loss to London Cornish.Lots to work on this week leading into another important fixture at home this coming weekend."
1 Josh Brown
2 Chris Gibbons
3. Ben Joyce
5 Tom Hilton-Stevens
6 Dave Baker
7 Rob Fleming
8 Richard Trepant
9 Robbie Kennard
Tries Baker (2) Clements (2) Brown, Trepant, Macdonald and Cowell
Conversions Weir (5)