Cobham travelled to Havant in the knowledge that as the season draws to a close every point earned will be crucial. Whilst the final result and margin of defeat was certainly not anticipated at half time by scoring four tries a crucial point was secured to keep Cobham marginally ahead of Dartfordians.
Director of Rugby Steve Pope had been able to field thirteen of the squad who played against Camberley so there was a semblance of continuity developing and Sam Matcham returned in the back row to make his 50th appearance, congratulations Sam.
Havant played their first eight games of the season away as the installation of their artificial grass pitch ( AGP) was delayed and they lost seven of them however since returning to Hooks Lane in November there has been a resurgence and they have won their last four games.
It was apparent from the whistle that the AGP suits their running game, Captain Joel Knight literally lost his shirt as he seared through tackles and hooker Jerome Trail and second row Harrison Young were dangerous all afternoon. It took strong defence from Cobham to avoid an early score.
Against the run of play stand off Luke Flower kicked ahead and with the home scrum half unable to collect the ball bounced favourably to Will Sanders. Running full pelt he fed Farrelly who put James Macdonald in for the first score. Farrelly converted. Havant 0 Cobham 7.
The home side somewhat stunned took the lead with a well taken penalty and then a try from their winger 10-7 but Will Sanders speed was testing their defence and a score was only avoided by strong tackling.
The next try came from a trademark forceful run from Jerome Trail who fed centre Wayne Duggan and with Knight converting the score moved to 17-7.
Farrelly narrowed the lead with a penalty 17-10 and as Cobham recovered their confidence they saw Will Sanders kick ahead, collect his own ball and cross the line. With the first half drawing to a close a strong Cobham scrum close to the line provided quick ball from Saunders to Flower to score under the posts 17-22.
39 points in 40 minutes had definitely provided the supporters with good entertainment but Havant may have been feeling the visitors had had the 'rub of the AGP' in that first half.
Whilst Havant now had the a wind advantage that was not responsible for what came next as the home side ran in three tries in the first 9 minutes of the second half Without wishing to take anything away from Havant Cobhams defensive line wilted under a sustained attack with tries from Captain Knight and wingers James Wise and Scott Morris. With over 30 minutes still to play Havant lead 38-22
To Cobham's credit their heads did not go down and hooker Mario Zakakiotis emulated his counterpart by driving down the middle of the pitch creating a opportunity for the ball to be speed wide for Max MacDonald to score in the corner 38-27. However it was to be the visitors final score
Frustration probably lead to a yellow card for Cobham scrum half Ryan Saunders and in the final quarter Havant added three more tries and a penalty to close out 58-27. Nobody could argue that they hadn't watched a very entertaining game of rugby with 85 points in 80 minutes but with Dartfordians winning 75-7 against Hove they will prove to be very tough opponents for the Cobham's next home game on Saturday March 23rd.
Cobham would certainly benefit from receiving as much home support as can be mustered that day.
1 Chris Lippiatt
2 Mario Zakakiotis
3 Ben Joyce
4 Harry Green
5 Doug Rodman
6 Andrew Murphy
7 Olly Fox (Captain)
8 Sam Matcham
9 Ryan Saunders
10 Luke Flower
11 James MacDonald
12 Tom Farrelly
13 James Mitchell
14 Max MacDonald
15 Will Sanders
16 Ryan Aujla
17 George Tunnacliffe
18 Tiernan White
Tries James MacDonald, Will Sanders,Luke Flower Max MacDonald
Conversions Farrelly (2)