Cobham travelled to Brighton for their last London SE 1 League fixtures before a weekend break.
Coming off the back of a disappointing performance against high flying Sidcup, Steve Pope's young side would look to make amends on the crisp autumnal Sussex Downs. Their hosts, Brighton, had experienced a tough start to the league, and would be looking to register their first win and as the sides had put on some entertaining and tense games in the past more of the same would be the order of the day.
Pope's squad was again shuffled. In at fly half came Stuart Fee, Matt Goddard returned to the centre, as did Jean-Louis Gravier to full back with the pack remaining unchanged from the previous week.
The game very nearly started perfectly for Cobham as a midfield penalty saw a catch and drive line-out only stopped by the referees whistle. Prop Brown joining in front of the ball. This would prove to be the last positive for the next 10 minutes as the Cobham pressure waned and Brighton grew in confidence. They would turn their greater enthusiasm into points through the pace of winger Nesi who crossed out wide. 5-0
Stung into action, Cobham gained their own foot hold through the strength of Goddard and the finishing of Aves, a combination becoming pleasingly familiar to the Cobham support. 5-5
Despite penalties being exchanged, 8-8 the half looked to be closing out until the Brighton pack mustered a solid drive to bag five more points. 13-8.
With the first 40 optimised by turnover ball, handling errors and frequent infringements from both sides, Pope and Gibbons would be looking for much more. The touch paper had certainly not been lit.
The second period started with more Cobham vigour led by the work rate of Matt Koep. pressure in the Brighton half led to multiple ruck infringements. A yellow card came out and Brighton were down to 14. Cobham capitalised shortly afterwards via a breakaway from Goddard, linking again with Aves to fly in. 13-15.
This could have allowed the game to be taken by the scruff of the neck until Cobham were also reduced to 14 With the benches unloaded the game became a dog fight and trailing by 2 points, Brighton dug deep and forward power enabled them to sneak over 18-15 Cobham would need a considerable and accurate phase in order to snatch a win from their plucky hosts in the dying minutes. They achieved it firstly through the boot of Weir to gain territory, then the powerful running of hooker McQuade, and finally the shear mass of prop Alexander who burrowed over.18-22
With the final whistle sounding Cobham would rightly feel relieved to take the points. The young Brighton side had put everything into the game and would surely feel aggrieved at coming away empty handed. Although not a vintage encounter, the spirit on display would have pleased both coaching teams however Director of Rugby Steve Pope said ' Probably the poorest performance from a Cobham side I've seen since I have been at the club , the only real positive from today was the way the boys really hung in and snuck a win right at the death. Credit to Brighton they will be a tough side to play here if they keep battling like they did today, We have to focus on ourselves and look at our attendance as a whole senior playing group, we cant have a weeks training like we had this week and expect things to go our way on a Saturday