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A sense of déjà vu as Cobham slip to defeat against Old Reigatians

Updated: Feb 6

When Cobham played at Reigate in October, the match report headline read 'Cobham fight back to claim bonus point in defeat at Old Reigatians.' In a groundhog day match, that headline only needs a small amendment to reflect this return fixture, as once again Cobham provided the home supporters with a gritty and determined display of running rugby, which gave them a four-try bonus point alas in defeat.

Cobham, still plagued by injuries which has resulted in a record-breaking 56 players represent the 1st XV this season, were able to field a very experienced front row in Richard Nunn, Ben Joyce and Luke Bliss. In Ryan Saunders’ absence, Olly Fox resumed the captaincy that he had previously held during the 2018/19 season, while Rory Penfold started at scrum-half.

The visitors started strongly in the first five minutes, running in a converted try from centre Gareth Stephens (0-7) as the hosts temporarily lost centre Taylor Burnett to a blood injury. It looked ominous as ORRFC put constant pressure on the Cobham defence, but it was relieved when fly-half Ben Littlefair converted a penalty to put the home side on the scoreboard (3-7).

Cobham had a strong scrum all afternoon and with the hosts close to the visitors line, they used a penalty opportunity to tap and go. When Old Reigatians went down to 14 men, the home side took advantage of their numerical advantage to send the ball wide, where winger Hebbes made space that enabled Fox to score (8-7).

Of the six tries Old Reigatians would score, two of them started in their own twenty-two and involved just two players. Indeed, their next try came from their own try line as full-back Max Coyle displayed his ability to evade the Cobham defence and feed fly half Lucas Overtoom to touch down a try he would convert (8-14). The next try saw the visitors run the ball wide that allowed Coyle to score, which Overtoom once again converted (8-21); Cobham will have been relieved that the half-time whistle quickly followed.

Cobham needed to regroup and avoid conceding further points but in the second of Old Reigatians two player, end-to-end tries, they immediately went further behind. Full back Coyle once again took the ball from deep in his half and offloaded to centre Tom Allen, to make the score 8-28 and secure ORRFC a bonus point.

With the visitors pumped up, it was difficult to see how Cobham would be able to withstand the pressure but the tackling of Porter, Frost and Fox was exceptional all afternoon, while Hebbes made a try saving tackle on the Cobham line. Coyle could not be denied though, as he scored his second try (8-35).

Back in October, Cobham were 5-36 down when they started their comeback and so it ever was thus. Flanker Matt Frost's dedication was now rewarded when a Cobham scrum provided them with a penalty infringement that became a lineout, rounded off with a drive over for Frost. Littlefair's conversion shaved the post (13-35) but Cobham, now galvanised, responded almost immediately when a Porter tackle provided the ball for Harper and Horton to take play upfield and another penalty lineout.

Aujla, now off the subs bench, took the ball close, before a probing kick ahead from Littlefair saw centre Holmes collect possession and touch down (18-35).

It could have then been three consecutive tries as Bliss, Porter and Aujla combined but a penalty gave the visitors relief, before Gareth Stephens restaged his first opening try and ran through to score, followed by another successful conversion from Overtoom (18-42).

However, in a further display of resilience and attitude from Cobham, Penfold took a tap penalty that resulted in a second yellow card for ORRFC. Another penalty gave Aujla the ability to go over for the bonus point try; final score 23-42.

Whilst a further defeat is disappointing the supporters had also seen how Cobham could once again fight back. The squad travel to Dulwich this weekend to play their long delayed match against Old Alleynians, one of the oldest Old Boy rugby teams in the country..

Cobham 1st XV Squad:-

1. Richard Nunn

2. Ben Joyce

3. Luke Bliss

4. Luke Westgarth-Taylor

5. Hugh Farmer

6. Matt Frost

7. Olly Fox (Capt.)

8. Louis Porter

9. Rory Penfold

10. Ben Littlefair

11. Ollie Horton

12. Jonny Holmes

13. Taylor Burnett

14. Will Hebbes

15. Joe Wagg


16. Ben Harper

17. Ryan Aujla

18. Jonny Hudson


Tries: Fox, Frost, Holmes, Aujla

Pen: Littlefair

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