There is something slightly odd about seeing road signs to Cobham as you drive to Medway. It is of course a different Cobham, a village in Kent, associated with Charles Dickens who set part of The Pickwick Papers there.
Dickens once wrote 'Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities' and that is exactly how Cobham approached this game against the joint league leaders Medway who had only just narrowly won their match the previous week against bottom club Hove.
After a poor start the previous week a transformed Cobham started strongly providing a resilient defense against Medway's attacks. The tackling wasn't just impacting on the home side, there was with an audible silence- if that makes any sense- from the home supporters as James Mitchell demonstrated one of his trademark rock back tackles on his opposite number. In fact it was that tackle and the subsequent loose ball which created an opportunity for Cobham to secure possession and territory that lead to their first try.
Medway have an imposing pack but that did not reflect dominance all afternoon and from the first scrum Saunders feed the ball down the line and as George Tunnacliffe closed in on the line he deftly offloaded to winger Will Sanders who tore down the wing for the first try wide out. The angle did not daunt Tom Farrelly and the scoreboard read 0-7. That was the ideal start for Cobham.
No one can say Cobham dont get off their line quickly, however throughout the game it was to be adjudged 'too quickly' by the ref as the visitors were consistently penalised. Medway came back into the game from an offside penalty 3-7 and that provided encouragement for them to take the lead as they moved the ball wide from a scrum and their winger crossed the line for an unconverted try 8-7.
Gaining confidence Medway looked to be trying just a bit too hard as they missed and dropped passes but gained a boost when Cobham lost prop Chris Lippiatt to sin bin for not releasing in the ruck. However despite going down to 14 Cobham withstood the onslaught over the next ten minutes only losing three points to a scrum infringement penalty 11-7.
Restored to full strength the remainder of the half saw Cobham looking to claw back and just before half time Farrelly just closely missed out with a penalty.
Cobham went into the changing room with that Dickens quote still very much relevant.
Medway have only lost at home once this season to Brighton, who are joint leaders with them and Sevenoaks all on 80 points so a promotion place is very much a focus and that will have no doubt featured in how the home side approached the second half.
Whilst Cobham had held their own in the scrums Medway's pack showed their strength in the loose as they turned a rolling maul from a line out into points and drove over for a converted try 18-7.
Cobham needed the next score and they promptly achieved it starting with a break by Lippiatt, picked up by captain Olly Fox the ball went wide and with centre Mitchell running out of space and Medway covering in depth he executed a soft kick ahead that eluded Medway and Max MacDonald collected and touched down Farrelly again adding the points from far out 18-14.
Medway are not at the top of the league for no reason however and despite heroic defense from Cobham, back row Freddie Joyce encapsulating that spirit, Medway ran in three more tries and a penalty to close the match as worthy winners 43-14
Director of rugby Steve Pope said "Huge credit to the Medway side .. they know what they are good at and they stick to it. They are methodical and happy to play direct no frills rugby with a very effective set piece platform to work from.
7.Olly Fox ( Captain)
Tries: Will Sanders, Max MacDonald
Conversions : Tom Farrelly (2)