Last Saturday saw the Cooters welcome Old Cranleighan’s 2’s to The memorial grounds for a friendly encounter. Although it was a non-league match that began and ended with uncontested scrums, both teams played at a ferocious pace, refusing to pull any punches in contact.
It was the visitors who broke the deadlock after less than 10 minutes. A big defensive shift by the home side held back wave after wave of OC’s attack, but as the ball was shipped wide in the Cobham 22, some slick hands found the opposition winger as he crossed the whitewash for the visitors first try.
Soon after the restart Cobham again found themselves under the kosh and OC’s must have thought they had scored a second, only for a thunderous try saver from prop Julian Clarke forcing the ball carrier into touch.
Cooters then found themselves on the score sheet through a piece of magic from Alex Humber. The No. 8 was guilty of daylight robbery as he stripped the ball from an OC’s player during a tackle to gallop his way 20 meters to the try line. The extras were slotted from the right hand touchline to put the homeside in front.
Kevin Langston was in scintillating form as he produced some no nonsense defense as well as a few devastating runs around, and over, the OC’s players. However, the score didn’t change again for the remainder of the half as Cobham went in at the whistle with a 7-5 lead.
As the teams returned to the fold it was OC’s turn to take on some defensive work. A well executed Cooter lineout provided a platform for a clearance kick to roll into touch 5 meters from the visitors tryline.
The resulting lineout was stolen by Kieran Notter as he rampaged 4.95 meters, but was pulled down just short of the line. Great clear out work by the Cooter pack presented quick ball for the Cobham scrum half to squeeze underneath the opposition and push the ball over for the score. The conversion unsuccessful this time.
The Cooters tails were up and a mazy run by Ian Parker saw him rounding several defenders as he looked to be on his way to one of the try’s of the season, but a huge shoulder from an OC’s 2nd row capsized the skipper and the referee awarded a penalty for not using arms in the tackle. The resulting kick sailed through the uprights as Cobham extended their lead to 15-5 with less than 15 minutes to go.
Senior Club Chairman Chris Melton came on to maintain the 100% success rate at the scrums. He was quickly introduced to the visitors inside center however as a big tackle pushed the prop backwards some distance, but Melton managed a deft offload to back row Callum Stott who made up the lost ground.
The OC’s 12, who’s long and hard carries had been the bane of the Cobham defence all game, kept the homeside on the back foot and was instrumental as the visitors scored a well worked try. Some missed tackles and quick passing created an overlap on the right and the ball was touched down to make it a 5 point game.
Try as they might but Cobham could not stop the flow of attacks and again the visitors crossed, this time from short range after some brave cover defence stifled out a previous dive for the line. The conversion was missed and the score was tied at 15-15.
The Cooters thought they had bravely held on for a share of the spoils against a team from the league above, but it wasn’t to be. With the final play of the game the ball was expertly moved through the hands and the Cobham defence rounded as the winning try was scored in the corner. The conversion successful to leave the final score 15-22 to Old Cranleighans
Notable performances in the Cobham backline included fly half Mark Jones, using guile and dummy kicks to bamboozle the defence and a welcome return for Kevin Jarvis in the centre who smothered out any attacks the opposition put together time and again.
The whole pack was in fine form too, with notable performances from Callum Stott, a wall of navy and maroon against which the visitors bounced off throughout, and Darren Beardon, who was dynamic in the loose and put his body on the line without question to lead by example.
Next week the Cobham 3rd team travel away to take on Lightwater, hoping to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 4 games.