Given recent performances Cobham travelled to Thurrock more in hope than expectation and although the final result was not what they would have wished their display was much improved and it could have resulted in an unexpected win against a home side who were not firing on all cylinders.
Past Director of Rugby Billy Davison and his wife Mags travelled to Thurrock to watch their son Tom play but tried to keep his head down having put Thurrock out of the Pilkington Cup back in 1992 when he scored a try in Rosslyn Parks win https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYl3URxokx0
Cobham knew they would have to defend well and in the first few minutes there were some some big tackles Unfortunately James Mitchell, who had only recently returned from injury, suffered a painful shoulder injury in those exchanges requiring the first of the substitutions needed
Fortunately Tom Davison is a utility player who can play centre as James Frost came into the front row and Jake MacQuade, playing his 50th game for Cobham, moved to number 8 It wouldn't be the last change to the scrum during the game.
Despite the changes the Cobham pack dominated for most of the afternoon and from a line out close to the home side try line ball was secured and Ryan Ajuli scored his first try for Cobham Luke Flower adding the extras 0-7
Thurrock came back and when they couldnt turn the pressure into a score they took the opportunity to secure some points 3-7 however shortly afterwards they took the ball down the line to their winder Barrand who raced over to take the lead 8-7 with the conversion hitting the post
Cobham back row Ali Porter nearly broke through but Cobham lost their substitute front row James Frost to injury requiring a further change to the scrum with Davison returning and Freddie Joyce coming on
Debutant James Williams had a steady game securing high ball under pressure and it was good to see the Cobham back line creating space but Cobham will not want to watch the replay of Thurrocks fly half Sam Stanley's try under the posts as he broke the defence 13-7 swiftly becoming 15-7 just before half time.
Cobham started far stronger in the second half and having traded penalties 18-10 they knew they would need to score twice. Always showing flare when he had the ball winger Will Saunders created space and yards to release James MacDonald for a searing run to also score under the posts Flower converting 18-17.
That set up an exciting final ten minutes but kicks to touch were not secured and Thurrock full back Darryl Forster ran half the length of the pitch to score under the posts to put the result beyond doubt 25-17
Director of Rugby Steve Pope was quoted after the game
2.Jake MacQuade (50th Cap)
7.Olly Fox (C)
11.James Williams (Debut)
Tries: Aujli, MacDonald
Conversions: Flower( 2)