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Chi and Dennis combo can't stop Cobham

Fixtures between Cobham and Chichester are closely fought with only a few points separating the two sides at the final whistle. Chi won the home encounter 23-20 last October, however they would be the first to acknowledge that they are not travelling well this season having lost all bar one of their away fixtures so there was expectation in the air for the home fans prior to kick-off. However, it wasn’t only expectation that was in the air at the Memorial Grounds, with Storm Dennis also approaching. Credit to both sets of supporters, who enjoyed the traditional Old Surbitonian lunch, before leaving the warmth of the clubhouse and stand on the touchline amid swirling winds and rain, to ensure both sides had some vocal encouragement. It was Chi who benefited first, pressurising Cobham to take the lead with two well taken penalties. The hosts responded in kind through fly half Ant Braithwaite to draw level (6-6). Neither side were able to take full control although Jake McQuade tried with a couple of driving runs. It was perhaps inevitable that in the stormy conditions there was more kicking from hand than passing down the line. Out of nowhere, Cobham back row Theo Buffini broke the Chi defence to score by the posts for Braithwaite to convert, which he followed with a well taken penalty that gave Cobham a 16-6 lead at half-time. With six attempts at goal all proving successful both fly halves will have been pleased as they went into the changing rooms. Cobham don’t have the same problems as Chi winning away from home but they do struggle to develop their first half leads in the third quarter and allow the visitors back into the game; losing winger Rory Penfold and then prop Ryan Aujla to yellow cards did not help their cause. It was perhaps inevitable that Chichester would take advantage and benefit from a pushover try that closed the deficit to one score (16-11).


Despite the wind increasing, it didn’t stop Tom Farrelly, who had come on for Braithwaite, picking off two further penalties to ease the pressure (22-11). The scoreline didn't reflect the pressure Chi had put the home side under but after the hosts lost Buffini to a third yellow card, Chi were awarded a penalty try that made the final ten minutes more nerve-racking then had been expected (22-18). Cobham had only had two major incursions into the visitors half after the break and with the clock ticking down they made the most of the second. Having been awarded a penalty in the visitors twenty-two, Cobham were awarded a further ten yards that took them closer to the try line. Captain Ryan Saunders took a quick tap penalty that ended with prop Sam Matcham forcing his way over from close range. Farrelly finished the match with another well taken kick from far out, to make the final score 29-18. With leaders Havant and second placed Westcombe Park both tripping up away on the road, Cobham consolidated their fifth-place position in the league table.


“Delighted for the boys with the result and, in parts, some of the play,” said Director of Rugby, Steve Pope. “The conditions unfortunately played a big part in the game for both sides and very much evened things up. We always enjoy playing Chichester and it is very pleasing to get the job done in such difficult playing conditions.”


“Every week now becomes more interesting as we see how close we can get to the top end of the table. We have several goals we hope to achieve as a group before the end of the season. Top five is great but we really feel we can push for more, so we look forward to all of the challenges that still remain.”


“We have lots of personnel and positional changes week to week, yet collectively the boys keep delivering results on the field. All of the squad today put in a real shift and it feels good to know that the competition for places increases.”


“We are on the road next week at Beckenham, which is another tough trip with them still fighting hard. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build on the positives from today.”


Cobham 1st XV Squad

1. Ryan Aujla

2. Andrew Murphy

3. Sam Matcham

4. Louis Porter

5. Ali Porter

6. Olly Fox

7. Theo Buffini

8. Jake McQuade

9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)

10. Ant Braithwaite

11. Max MacDonald

12. Jonny Holmes

13. Luke Flower

14. Rory Penfold

15. Dan Allchurch


16. George Tunnacliffe

17. Tom Farrelly

18. James MacDonald


Scorers:

Tries: Buffini, Matcham

Conversions: Braithwaite, Farrelly

Penalties: Braithwaite (3), Farrelly (2)

Man of the Match (Sponsored by George & Dragon, Thames Ditton): Ben Harper


Other Senior Result:

Cobham XV 40-20 Mayfair Occasional's


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Cobham RFC is a highly regarded rugby club in the heart of Surrey, offering four Senior teams and large Youth and Mini sections.

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