Cobham were hosts to KCS Old Boys on Saturday in this London South West match.
Although leading the league this match would be a stern test for Cobham against a competitive and talented side only two places behind them.
An overcast day greeted the teams as they prepared to play on a firm playing surface. Cobham kicked off against a strong wind taking play deep into the KCS half but were soon driven back into their own half by sensible and effective line kicking by the KCS half backs and were able to keep Cobham in their 25 in the opening stages.
The Cobham pack slowly gained an ascendancy over their opponents, particularly in the tight, to make good ground and take play deep into the KCS half.The pressure culminating in a penalty award for offside which following a kick to touch and possession from forward drives to produce the first try after 14 minutes for the energetic Cobham hooker, Theo Buffini 5-0.
From the kick off KCS played with renewed energy driving the Cobham side deep into their own half and from a number of slick moves and intelligent kicking, albeit assisted by the wind and bounce, their winger Tom Smith was able to score in the corner. An excellent conversion kick by Rory Jones completed the scoring. 5-7
Crucial mistakes and determined defence from the KCS side prevented Cobham gaining any advantage as the game was played literally from end to end. James MacDonald executed a driving run out of defence that culminated in a flurry of penalties, scrums and eventually a yellow card for a KCS forward. Taking advantage of KCS being a man down Matt Koep added to his try count for the season from a set piece and Ollie Weir converted 12-7.
KCS maintained the pressure by kicking a penalty to go just 2 points down 12-10 and maintained the pressure only for them to see a kick ahead being fielded by the Cobham full back Jean- Louis Gravier. Skilfully running out of defence and beating a number of KCS players with a 'mazy' run Gravier was supported by James MacDonald. Desperate KCS defence produced a penalty to Cobham converted by Ollie Weir. 15-10
KCS immediately responded with their own penalty 15-13 and Cobham must have wondered how they were going to break free. With the interval whistle threatening Cobham fought back with a determined run by Max Macdonald supported by the speedy Alex Aves who with a deft kick ahead and collected scored a scintillating unconverted try.
Half time 20-13
Cobham's second half performances this season have been consistently superior so that score line boded well especially with weather conditions in their favour. As it transpired KCS had other ideas and they skilfully applied themselves ensuring that the final result would be in doubt until the final whistle.
After only two minutes, with Cobham in full attacking mode, a loose pass was intercepted by the KCS centre Paddy Smith who, after being stopped on the Cobham 25 by excellent cover defence, was able to offload to Luke Minors to score a highly significant converted try. 20-20 Game on.
This score revitalised both sides with the match being played at frenetic pace. Cobham drove the KCS defensive line deep into their own half ensuring that play remained in their 25. After a wave of attacks by the whole Cobham side the KCS full back was forced to kick to touch but the strong wind prevented any distance to be gained. After only 8 minutes of play an attacking line from the dominant Cobham forwards forced Doug Rodman over the line for a try converted by Ollie Weir. 27-20
It took KCS only 4 minutes to reply as centre Johnny Bell went over 27-25 but the conversion failed.
There was still 25 minutes of this second half remaining and it is a testament to the resolute defence of both sides that there was only to be two further scores. The first being a skilful drop goal from KCS fly -half Rory Jones 27-28 to put Kings in front for only the second time in the match
With Cobham were now facing their second defeat of this season their response was quick and effective and a late penalty from Weir secured a closely fought win 30-28 which was a credit to both sides.
Cobham travel to old rivals Effingham and Leatherhead next week relieved to have won an exciting game of rugby.