Having suffered a narrow defeat to Amersham & Chiltern last time out, Cobham’s 1st XV travelled to Windsor on Saturday (15 October) for the first time, looking to get back to winning ways by putting in a big performance. They certainly achieved that in the second half, where they dominated proceedings and displayed the confidence that had been missing two weeks ago.
Ryan Saunders returned to lead the side with Luke Westgarth-Taylor, having recovered from their respective injuries, while Luke Bliss, Ryan Aujla and Louis Porter all made their 50th 1st XV appearance.
The conditions were dry come kick-off, but a stiff breeze had its part to play during the match. Windsor started the brighter and opened the scoring with a penalty (3-). From the restart, Cobham kicked deep and maintained pressure in the Windsor half. With the hosts unable to exit, with the breeze against them, Cobham put several passages of play together led by Porter that eventually gave the opportunity for Saunders to snipe and open Cobham’s account. Farrelly added the extras (3-7).
Cobham had the opportunity to extend their lead from a Farrelly penalty, but the ball went wide in the swirling wind. An injury to flanker Ben Keast saw Bliss come on for his 50th appearance and a rejig in the pack with Bliss slotting into the unaccustomed position of second row and Wesley Van Der Ploeg shifting to the flank.
From a twenty-two drop out, Cobham put several phases together and Saunders was on hand to dive in the corner to extend the visitors lead, despite Farrelly missing the conversion from out wide (3-12). Cobham then lost Luke Flower to injury, with Will Stephen coming on at full back and Farrelly shifting to fly half.
Cobham went into the second half determined to maintain their periods of dominance and to get the first score on the board. Which they duly did, thanks to Saunders claiming his hat-trick under the posts, after exploiting a gap in the Winsor defence to stroll in unchallenged. Farrelly successful conversion put Cobham 16-points clear (3-19).
Ten minutes into the second half and Cobham were awarded a penalty try following a high tackle on Farrelly as he attempted to score under the posts. The bonus point score put the visitors in a commanding position (3-26).
Cobham brought Richard Nunn on to add his experience to the front row. He replaced Ryan Aujla, who’d had a good afternoon in the tight, loose and around the park on his 50th appearance.
The final quarter saw Cobham run away with the game. Winger Rory Penfold claimed the second hat trick of the day. On each occasion, Cobham got the ball wide and Penfold used his pace to beat and round defenders to cross the line. Farrelly added one further conversion to his tally (3-43). To their credit, Windsor didn’t give up and took an opportunity to finish the game with a try following a rare mistake by the Cobham backline knocking the ball forward as they looked to break downfield (8-43).
From the restart and the final play of the game, Windsor kicked deep to winger Burnett who beat his opposite number before taking the ball deep into the opposition half, creating a switch with the supporting Farrelly who dotted down under the posts. Farrelly converted his own try to make the final score 8-50.
Director of Rugby, Steve Pope said: “A good performance in the end. Credit to Windsor who started the stronger but once we got into our rhythm, we played some good rugby despite the early disruption of losing both Ben Keast, to a shoulder injury, and Luke Flower to an ankle injury. We hope both recover well.”
“On reflection, to come away to a new opposition and score 50 points was very good, and we feel like we are slowly making progress. Congratulations to Luke Bliss, Ryan Aujla and Louis Porter for all reaching 50 caps, which is a great achievement.”
It was a good weekend all round for the Senior Sides, as the 2nd XV opened their account at home with a good win against local side Old Reigatians (39-17).
We look forward to welcoming Beaconsfield to the Memorial Ground this Saturday (22 October) and the support of all those attending the ex-players Lunch.
Cobham 1st XV Squad:-
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Andrew Murphy
3. Ryan Aujla*
4. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
5. Joe Goddard
6. Luke Westgarth-Taylor
7. Ben Keast
8. Louis Porter*
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt)
10. Luke Flower
11. Taylor Burnett
12. Jonny Holmes
13. James MacDonald
14. Rory Penfold
15. Tom Farrelly
16. Richard Nunn
17. Luke Bliss*
18. Will Stephen
Tries: Saunders (3), Penfold (3), Farrelly, Penalty
Conversions: Farrelly (4)