With Doug Rodman leading Cobham out onto a rain swept pitch to celebrate his 200th cap, the hosts were looking to return to winning ways after their lack lustre performance against Horsham the previous week. They also will have wanted to avenge their last minute defeat against the Wild Geese at Hazelwood last October.
Cobham started strongly and the first scrum demonstrated the domination the pack would enjoy all afternoon during a first half where there were still elements of Storm Eunice from Friday, which would prove challenging for spot kicks. It was therefore no surprise that when penalties were awarded, the preferred option was to kick for touch and the resulting lineout. However, it could have also been the confidence that Captain Ryan Saunders has in Cobham's set-piece and maul play that drove the decision making all afternoon with Goddard, Van Der Ploeg and Rodman reflecting all the definitions of ascendency.
The first try came from a Goddard take, the inevitable rolling maul and with the drive taking the pack to within yards of the Wild Geese line, Saunders checked his original thought to feed the back line and went over to score, although Farrelly missed the conversion in the wind (5-0).
You cannot capture every play in a report but winger Tiernan White's recovery of a swirling kick and breakthrough run is worthy of comment despite not resulting in a score. However, Cobham's second try soon followed and was courtesy of a swivel from the back of a maul by prop Chris Lippiatt (10-0).
There were further opportunities created by the backs but passes were dropped at crucial moments and it wasn't one way traffic as London Irish WG's back line were challenging throughout the match, which required some all-encompassing tackles. Special mention here to full back Dan Allchurch's 'whole body offerings' to prevent the defensive line being breached on several occasions.
Farrelly added a penalty before half-time (13-0) and with Director of Rugby Steve Pope overseeing the Second XV, Assistant Coaches Dan Walsh and George Pickersgill would have been pleased with Cobham's first half display.
The second half started with a bravado performance from past Captain Olly Fox producing an outrageous dummy and hand off to find the gap and touch down (18-0). Farrelly could not add the extras but made sure with a penalty soon after to take the score to 21-0.
Despite that score line Wild Geese took every opportunity offered to run the ball and it was only Cobham's strong defensive line that prevented the visitors opening their account on the scoreboard. The blustery conditions made for an interesting aerial ping pong to gain territorial advantage, and when it was achieved for Cobham Saunders scored his second and the bonus point try as he darted through; Farrelly converted to open a commanding 28-point lead.
That score line did not do the visitors justice and with Cobham temporarily dropping their guard, second row Alex Tate ran through to score that Larroude converted (28-7). Cobham responded immediately with a try from centre Luke Flower (33-7) but with substitute Ben Joyce being yellow carded for his attempted 'interception' Wild Geese used the extra man advantage that resulted in tries for Joe Sorkowski and Jacob Ovato, which gave a more respectable score line before the final whistle blew. Final score 33-21.
Both sides came away with positives from this game and can look forward to the final five matches of the season with some confidence.
Doug Rodman was joined by his wife, children and family at the end for a photographic memento and there were were further presentations in the clubhouse after the game to mark the occasion.
With a week coming up, sixth placed Cobham will be travelling to meet the league leaders Camberley on Saturday 5 March, hoping to emulate their first half performance when they met earlier in the season but with a view to making it last the full 80 minutes.
Cobham 1st XV Squad:
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Andrew Murphy
3. Luke Bliss
4. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
5. Joe Goddard
6. Doug Rodman
7. Olly Fox
8. Jake McQuade
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10. Tom Farrelly
11. Max MacDonald
12. Luke Flower
13. Fin Savill
14. Tiernan White
15. Dan Allchurch
16. Ben Joyce
17. Ben Keast
18. Rory Penfold
Tries: Saunders (2), Lippiatt, Fox, Flower
Penalties: Farrelly (2)