Cobham's postponed game against Tottonians was played out under flood lights on the Friday evening to not only avoid the clash with the England Ireland game but the 'Beast from the East' mark 2. With the change of time inevitably Director of Rugby Steve Pope didn't have his full squad available for selection but it gave opportunities for first starts for Malakai Buretini on the wing and prop Mario Zakakiotis on the subs bench. At the other end of the spectrum Arran Cowell was playing his 154th match.
When the teams met earlier in the season the final score was 22-22 and as the final score this time demonstrates, despite their league positions not much had changed between them.
In the first five minutes supporters may have been forgiven for thinking they were watching a football match as both sides probed each others defenses. Indeed the boot proved popular all evening perhaps denying the teams opportunities with ball in hand where they both looked dangerous. However after several phases of play Totts centre ran through three tackles to score and it must have felt a little like Groundhog Day as compared to the first try scored the previous week by Havant.
With cousin Robbie Searle converting the score was Cobham 0 Searle 7.
That score changed Cobham's gear and putting together some pressure and runs Luke Flower darted over with Farelly converting for 7-7. A penalty soon after gave Cobham the lead 10-7 and the score might have been extended further but full back Craig Bonnar was adjudged to have been held up.
When Totts had possession they looked threatening and the home side were having to put in some crunching tackles to keep them out Pope used two of his subs, Sam Cordery and Joe Goddard early on.
Cobham looked to have secured a further try when Bonnar raced down the wing only for the final past to go down but a further infringement by Totts within range for Farelly and the lead was extended 13-7.
As the first half was drawing to a close Totts put together their best period of play of the first half and after several phases a quick tap penalty enabled Frank Bagnell to go over converted by Searle Totts took the lead as the whistle blew for half time 13-14.
If Cobham felt that they may have lost the initiative in the final stages of the first half Totts dominance in first thirty minutes of the second confirmed it as only briefly did Cobham get into their opponents territory. Totts had opportunities to extend their lead but two penalty attempts were missed ultimately proving expensive.
Cobham's strong defence was further compromised when full back Bonnar and prop Matcham retired injured giving Mario Zakakiotis his debut and a second opportunity for Nathan Spratt on the wing. Eventually the Totts pressure told as Mike Searle crossed the line for his second try but the conversion from far out was missed 13-19.
Given the pattern of play it looked all over for Cobham but as if they had heard DOR Pope's off pitch entreaty to 'give it go' starting with McQuade running the ball deep from his own half there were successive driving runs from virtually the whole Cobham pack taking the ball to within five metres. All looked lost when a knock on gave Totts the scrum but it was turned over and McQuade picked up from the back of the scrum to dive over under the posts to the relief of the team and supporters Farelly converting in the last minute 20-19
Director of Rugby Pope said
1 Ben Joyce
2 Andrew Murphy
3 Sam Matcham
4 Adrian Van Der Ploeg(c)
5 Doug Rodman
6 Ali Porter
7 Nathan Spratt
8 Jake McQuade
9 George Tunnacliffe
10 Luke Flower
11 Max MacDonald
12 Tom Farrelly
13 Arran Cowell
14 Malakai Buretini
15 Craig Bonnar
16 Mario Zakakiotis
17 Sam Cordery
18 Joe Goddard
No 10 Luke Flower x 1 Try
No 8 Jake McQuade x 1 Try
No 12 Tom Farrelly x 2 Conversions x 2 Penalties