Ultimately this was a game about spirit, substitutes and scores.
Basingstoke RFC, locked at the bottom of the London South West league table knew that they were going to have a difficult time coming to the Memorial Grounds this year. It had all been so different just over thirteen months ago when Basingstoke won a crucial match 15-16. Since then fortunes have changed for both Clubs but both of them showed great spirit, Cobham in relentlessly racking up the points, which may prove vital as the season reaches its conclusion. Basingstoke in showing a team spirit in adversity that was visible and heartening and demonstrates what this great game of rugby is all about.
Director of Rugby Steve Pope had made some changes to the team that won through in the Cup the previous week and gave Luke Bliss and Jake McQuade their first starts and provided Callum Williams with an opportunity to come off the bench after two years out with a leg injury and young Ollie Kitto with his first opportunity.All of them took advantage of their opportunities as will become clear.
Playing on the premier pitch Cobham applied themselves from the kick off McQuade showing no nerves from the outset in recovering the kick off and setting Cobham up to achieve territory possession and Matt Goddard to run through the opposition to score under the posts 5-0 Weir secured the first of his ten conversions 7-0.
Charlie Rooke's skillfull offloads are a feature of his game and although on this occasion the final backline pass went astray Rooke was rewarded with his own score 12-0 swiftly becoming 14-0
A Cobham infringment allowed Basingstoke to open their account with a penalty from number ten Joyce 14-3 but Cobham came straight back with possibly the best try of the match as Weir spotting Alves free on the wing cross kicked for Alves to feed Matt Goddard for his second try 21-3
After only 17 minutes Wehbe picked up a leg injury so Alves went to full back and Ollie Kitto got his debut
A big hit from McQuade on a Basingstoke forward relesed the ball for Joe Goddard to pounce 28-3 and with Alves picking up from a strong run from Dave Baker Max MacDonald went over 35-3.
It was at this point Cobham forgot the basics and spurned another opportunity and they lost their second expereicned backline player when Matt Goddard limped off. It was however the opportunity that Callum Williams had been waiting for. However with only 25 minutes of the game gone and two substitutes used the cupboard was looking bare.
Cobham had two scores before half time Kitto showing a maturity beyond his years setting up Baker for Josh Brown to score under the posts 42-3 and Joe Goddard broke through a line out 47-3 Weir missing his first kick of the game.
This was one of those games when if you were not paying attention you missed a score and so it was as the first half started. Apparently Ben Joyce was in contention for a breakaway try to be relieved to find Callum Williams fresher legs at his side to finish the process 54-3 Callum Williams featured in the next score as well as he set up Richard Trepant 61-3.
Cobham's consistent line out work has been a feature of their game all season and was the basis of the next two scores. Firstly Goddard stealing a Basingstoke ball and enabling Baker to finish 68-3 Then executing a text book rolling maul for Baker 73-3.
Basingstoke had their best period of the match at this stage gaining some much needed possession but from a turnover Baker sprinted half the pitch and provided Rooke with the honours. The final try from Brown followed a determined run Weir converted his tenth conversion 85-3 Cobham scored a 'baker's dozen' of tries.
With London Cornish's match at Portsmouth postponed Cobham have now extended their lead at the top of the league.
Director of Rugby, Steve Pope said after the match 'All the boys were excellent playing the match in very poor wintry conditions. We have picked up a few injuries but they should hopefully be back within a couple of weeks but the gaps will provide opportunities for other members of the squad in a team selection that is hotly contested.
Really good performance, especially by the debutants and we look forward to next weeks match
18. Ollie Kitto
Matt Goddard (2) Charlie Rooke (2) Joe Goddard (2) Josh Brown ( 2) Dave Baker (2) Richard Trepant, Max MacDonald,Callum Williams
Ollie Weir (10)
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