Beckenham RFC have recently celebrated their 125th anniversary having been formed in 1894, so they have a far longer history than Cobham. However, in many other respects they are very similar to Cobham, having invested considerable funds in their facilities and developing their senior teams by nurturing their mini and youth sections.
This was to be Cobham's first game on their newly installed AGP (Artificial Grass Pitch) and, given the inclement weather, that was a good decision as both teams were able to benefit from a running game that might have eluded them in the poor conditions.
Cobham dominated play in the opening ten minutes, camping out in the visitors twenty-two. Deft hands from Louis Porter, out of position in the back line, released Max MacDonald but the ensuing pressure was held up by the visitors. Having survived this onslaught, it was Beckenham's opportunity to attack and the first score came from an elusive run by centre Sam Hampson, who touched down under the posts for a 0-7 lead.
That was a wake-up call for Cobham and despite the opposition's heavier pack, the home side clawed their way back into the game. There was some great pace from centre Yiannis Loizia and winger Max MacDonald, but it was the reliable boot of fly half Tom Farrelly with a well taken penalty (3-7). A trademark drive over the line by hooker Theo Buffini, which was converted by Farrelly, the hosts 10-7 ahead at half-time.
With the conditions worsening, it was proving difficult to hold on to the ball. Farrelly then saw an opportunity to take advantage in the visitors twenty-two, by kicking out wide to winger Tiernan White who collected well and dived over for Cobham’s second try (15-7). Farrelly took advantage of Beckenham being offside to extend the lead to 18-7 with a well struck penalty.
Beckenham had few opportunities as Cobham were now bossing the game. A drive over from replacement hooker Andrew Murphy took Cobham further in from, with Farrelly converting to make the score 25-7.
As has become the norm, number 8 Jake McQuade spent a large proportion of his time in the back line taking play over the gain line. It was from his break that first Buffini then centre Loizia found the space to provide an inside pass to Ali Porter to pick up the fourth bonus point try and the final score of the game 30-7.
With both Horsham and Chichester losing, Cobham secured their best place in the league table so far this season, but safe in the knowledge that they face three of the top four sides in the run-up to Christmas.
Steve Pope, Director of Rugby, said: “I'm pleased with the effort shown today; considering the terrible conditions both sides did try to play rugby. I've been pleased with the players’ application again this week and today trying to playing both open and expansive rugby. It is also difficult to see how the opposition are sat at bottom end of the table on today's performance.”
“We have a tough run into the holidays and I hope we are able keep some level of consistency in selection as we work our way into the Christmas break. The boys are playing and competing well and the vibe is good about the club.”
Cobham 1st XV Squad
1 Chris Lippiatt 2 Theo Buffini 3 Luke Bliss 4 Sam Matcham 5 Joe Goddard 6 Louis Porter 7 Olly Fox 8 Jake McQuade 9 Ryan Saunders (C) 10 Tom Farrelly 11 Max MacDonald 12 Yiannis Loizia 13 James MacDonald 14 Tiernan White 15 Rory Penfold
16 Andrew Murphy 17 Ali Porter 18 Luke Flower
Scorers: No 2 Theo Buffini x 1 Try No 14 Tiernan White x 1 Try No 16 Andrew Murphy x 1 Try No 17 Ali Porter x 1 Try No 10 Tom Farrelly x 2 Conversions x 2 Penalties Man of the Match (Sponsored by George & Dragon Thames Ditton): Tom Farrelly
Senior Results: Guildford 22-21 Cobham 2nd XV Cobham Allstars 7-10 Battersea Vets