Supporters gathered at Fowlers Wells Chobham for an epic 'Battle of the H' played out between the three senior sides of Cobham RFC and Chobham RFC .
When Cobham met Chobham at the Memorial grounds in September there was just a two point difference as Chobham secured a win 17-19. Those sort of points margin define the competitive rivalry of these matches and as the final score revealed nothing had changed much between September and December.
Director of rugby Steve Pope was able to field 13 of the starting line up from the previous week
After an inconsistent kicking game the previous week Tom Farrelly will have been pleased to slot the first penalty for Cobham after just two minutes 0-3. Cobham will have been pleased with their dominance of their first few scrums but territory is everything and having played themselves into Cobham's half the home side responded promptly as back row Ollie Smith charged over and fly half Clarke converted 7-3.
The supporters of both sides know how important it is for both sides to capitalise on the lead in this derby match. It was therefore with some relief tha after 20 minutes Cobham wing Max MacDonald collected from a sliced Chobham clearance kick, gained ground and fed the ball to second row Joe Goddard to power over to restore the lead 7-8 ( Farrelly shaved the post with the conversion attempt)
Chobham came back strongly and their response was assisted when Cobham try scorer Goddard was adjudged to have made a late hit and yellow carded at 37 minutes. Chobham didnt take the penalty kick but when the tap penalty didn't gain the advantage they sought they fed it back to full back Turner who achieved the points with a well judged drop kick giving the home side the ( two point ) lead at half time 10-8.
Chobham started the second half strongly playing against fourteen man Cobham and the extra player advantage gained them the line out and rolling maul advantage to enable prop Wynne to push over 15-8 after just four minutes but the conversion ( two points ) proved to be illusive.
Cobham knew the next score was crucial and they would have to hold Chobham out until Goddard returned. Shortly afterwards Clements, chasing down Chobham, turned over the ball and from a resultant scrum Saunders executed one of his trademark scampers to dive over the line 13-15 increasing by ( two points) as Farrelly's conversion was made off the post 15-15
Cobham had looked marginally sharper throughout the game but may have kicked away possession they could have enjoyed but when Clements and Saunders combined again they released back row Doug Rodman to gain the lead 15-20. It was Farrelly again who secured the conversion 15-22.
Set against the 'derby' background and with both sides becoming fractious around some of the decisions made yellow cards were perhaps inevitable Cobham utility player Josh Brown was yellow carded for adjudged deliberate interference on 67 minutes leaving Cobham to defend the slender lead. A penalty for Chobham was kicked short but nothing could stop number 8 Ollie Smith scoring his second try. 22-20. Although the ( two point) conversion failed two players were sin binned for an 'altercation' following the try Cobham skipper Adrian Van Der Ploeg and try scorer Smith.
14 were to play 13 for a while but when Brown returned with just a few minutes remaining on the clock he made up for his own lost time by driving down into Chobham territory and feeding sub Miles Fletcher who tore down the wing and was only prevented from scoring in the corner by a superb covering tackle from the home side.
With some relief the ref whistled for full time 20-22.... Just the two points then
Director of rugby Steve Pope said after the game " I'm totally delighted for the players today to come here and win all 3 games on derby day is huge for us as an amateur club. Credit to Ryan and his boys it's always a tough and close match and I'm sure they will have felt just how much we wanted that win today.
No9 Ryan Saunders x 1 Try
No5 Joe Goddard x 1 Try
No4 Doug Rodman x 1 Try
No 13 Tom Farrelly x 2 Conversions x 1 Penalty
Chobham 5 Cobham 3rd XV 55