The last time Cobham played at London Cornish they lost 67-24 so there was a score, or two, to settle. However, it certainly didn’t look like that was going to happen following a very sloppy opening five minutes from the visitors. Cobham were obviously adjusting to the home sides AGP - an 'Actual Grass Pitch' - having played their last three fixtures on Artificial Grass Pitches at home and away at Havant.
Playing against the slope and the wind, and with virtually no possession, the visitors found themselves 3-0 down following an infringement. Cheered on by the travelling supporters, Cobham responded quickly with truck and trailer tries firstly through Doug Rodman that was swiftly followed by a converted score from Theo Buffini, giving them a nine-point lead (3-12).
With confidence restored, Cobham then showed the same flair and running skills they had demonstrated against KCS the previous week. Fly half Ant Braithwaite broke the defence to feed Johnny Holmes, who offloaded to back row Louis Porter for the visitors third score of the half (3-17).
London Cornish, rallying to their supporters, produced the best period of play in the first half which ultimately allowed Matt Haikes to score in the corner that George Kimmins converted. However a bonus point, second try for Buffini, who took advantage of the bounce from a cross kick, followed by a Sam Matcham break allowing Porter to release full back Dan Allchurch, seemingly put Cobham out of sight with the score 10-29 at the halfway stage.
Recent results, most notably against Horsham, demonstrate that Cobham are never going to allow their supporters any cause for complacency and so it was to prove as Cornish winger Jamie Owens ran in a hat-trick of tries in the second period. With all of them converted by the reliable Kimmins, who also added a penalty, remarkably took Cornish ahead 34-29 and having the advantage of playing against 14 men, as Cobham lost their Captain Ryan Saunders to the sin-bin.
With the clock running down and Cobham pressurising the Cornish try line, they too has a player yellow carded. With Saunders restored, the visitors took advantage as centre Holmes ran through to score that Farrelly converted with the last kick of the game and give the visitors a remarkable victory; final score 34-36.
Cobham have played 17 games this season, where nine of the results have had point differences of less than five; Cobham have drawn one, won seven and only lost one of these close encounters.
Director of Rugby, Steve Pope said: “As you may or may not be aware, Cornish have often been one of our toughest opponents; this was no different. They are a team not used to being at the lower end of the table and they did not play like a side sitting just above the drop zone.”
“This was a timely reminder of how very competitive all the sides in the competition are, regardless of league position. I'm sure there will be a number of upsets over the coming weeks and we wish Cornish the very best of luck in their remaining matches."
“The boys played some very nice football on what was a small and heavy pitch. Cornish battled hard and the final score reflected just how much credit they deserve. We might have had the game put to bed if we had maintained or tempo and first half performance.”
“We had to make a number of forced changes, but we still managed to keep a good core of squad that has been playing so well over recent weeks. It took a huge effort from the boys to secure a very important win right at end. This was a game that could have easily gone either way. I'm sure the lads will appreciate a week off before we get back to league action. A massive well done to all the boys on a hard fought and well-deserved win.”
Cobham 1st XV Squad
1. Luke Bliss 2. Andrew Murphy
3. Mario Zakakiotis 4. Sam Matcham 5. Doug Rodman 6. Louis Porter 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. Ryan Aujla 17. Ali Porter
18. Tom Farrelly
Tries: Doug Rodman, Louis Porter, Theo Buffini (2) Dan Allchurch, Jonny Holmes
Conversions: Ant Braithwaite (2), Tom Farrelly