Cobham traveled south to Waterhall Playing Fields to confront Brighton Blues who were sitting just one place above them in the league. A close contest was anticipated as it had been back in September when Brighton visited the Memorial Grounds and the final score was 36-36.
In future years this may well be described by both sides as the game that never finished ,an epic rugby match that enthralled the supporters but inevitably left one team devastated and another ecstatic.
Director of rugby Steve Pope had been required to make some changes following the injuries incurred last week with Christian Disley-May coming in for Ryan Saunders and Craig Bonner gaining a full debut at full back for the injured James MacDonald but the pack remained virtually intact and the ability to turn out a consistent squad is inevitably assisting with results.
With three consecutive wins Cobham were keen to extend that run. Equally Brighton having said farewell to their long serving Head Coach Neil McGovern were keen to get off to a wining start for their new coach Frank Taggart.
It was Brighton who got off to the start they wanted retaining possession and putting Cobham under pressure in their own half and although a penalty was not converted after just four minutes a missed tackle allowed number 14 Dylan Winsloe to score the first try for the Blues. 5-0. Cobham came back with strong individual runs from Clements, Murphy and Disley-May but it was the the fluidity of passing of the Cobham backs that excited the travelling supporters with Bonner frequently coming into the line to gain the extra yards.
However there are no points if you don't get across the line and in a brief foray into the Cobham half,creating something out of nothing Winsloe set up back row Cosgrove for Brighton's second try which fly half Race converted.12-0.
Cobham would need to show their character and they did through the back line with Bonner's speed from depth enabling Max MacDonald to score a try on his birthday. Farrelly converted 12-7.
Within minutes Disley May showing his pace had set up centre George Tunnacliffe for a further score 12-12 and the lead was extended further when a rolling maul provided the set up for the backs to move the ball to MacDonald for his second try 12-17.
After a slow start we now had the game we were expecting and just before half time Brighton broke away though second row Trevis to set up centre Robert Fogerty for a Race converted try 19-17 and everything to play for
For a game that had produced virtually a point a minute the second half provided a different style of play from both sides more attritional in nature with the matched played within the scums and line outs. Early on there was penalty opportunity for Brighton, close to the Cobham posts, which was spurned for the line out and those three points may have made a difference as it was Farrelly who took his chance to give the lead back for Cobham 19-20.
Pope used his substitutes Tom Prigmore for his first XV debut, Nathan Spratt returning after injury and Theo Buffini but there were just three points in the second half with the clock ticking down and the flood light fading. Suddenly the free flowing rugby of the first half returned as Brighton turned a rolling maul into points for Fogerty's second try converted by Race 26-20 and then Murphy responded for Cobham 26-25 and an opportunity for Farrelly to convert with what was thought the last kick of the game.
He didn't and it wasn't and Brighton kicked the ball out from the replay thinking that would be it however the Ref still had time to play.
Despite a further Brighton attempt to kick the ball out to finish the match Cobham retained possession and substitute Theo Buffini broke down the middle of the pitch to set up James Clements for a last second try 26-30. Having achieved honours even in September this result will have hurt Brighton as much as it boosted Cobham.
Inevitably there was a little chat in the bar about added time, however the Ref explained himself and was happy with the time played.
Director of Rugby Steve Pope said 'Wow... its been some time since I've seen a dramatic finish like that ... and nice to be on the right end of the result for a change.
1 Josh Brown
2 Andrew Murphy
3 Ben Joyce
4 Sam Matcham
5 Joe Goddard
6 Sam Cordery
7 Olly Fox
8 Adrian Van Der Ploeg (C)
9 Christian Disley-May
10 Luke Flower
11 James Clements
12 George Tunnacliffe
13 Tom Farrelly
14 Max MacDonald
15 Craig Bonnar
16 Theo Buffini
17 Tom Prigmore
18 Nathan Spratt
No13 Tom Farrelly x 1 Try, 1 conversion & 1 Penalty
No2 Andrew Murphy x 1 Try
No11 James Clements x 1 Try
No14 Max MacDonald x 2 Tries