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Cobham defeated in season opener

Cobham RFC’s 1st XV suffered a disappointing 16-29 defeat to Thurrock at Fairmile Lane in the opening round of fixtures of the new London 1 South season. After a promising opening 40 minutes that saw the home side lead 11-7, the visitors scored 19 unanswered points after the restart that effectively decided the outcome.

An expectant crowd and fine conditions greeted both teams and it was Steve Pope’s side that made the brighter start. Cobham dominated territory in the opening stages and were rewarded with a penalty from Tom Farrelly to open the scoring. Both sides showed plenty of endeavour and commitment but the scoreboard wasn’t troubled again until late in the half. Fly half Luke Flower powered his way over from close range, from a scrum five metres from the Thurrock line, for the opening try of the match that Farrelly failed to convert from wide out.

Thurrock’s response was almost immediate. A sweeping move down the right flank resulted in a try close to the posts, despite play seemingly going into touch during the build-up. A successful conversion cut the deficit to a single point, but Farrelly’s second penalty right on the stroke of half-time gave Cobham their four-point advantage (11-7) at the break.

A penalty in front of the posts opened Thurrock’s account in the second half, before two scores in quick succession opened up a decisive lead. A fine long-range penalty from the halfway line put the visitors ahead for the first time in the game.

Then straight from the restart, which Cobham failed to gather, a break down field caused disruption in the Cobham defensive line and resulted in a second Thurrock score close to the posts. With the conversion added to the tally, Thurrock had all of a sudden raced into a nine-point lead (11-20).

After Cobham failed to capitalise on a period of territory deep in the opposition twenty-two, two further Thurrock penalties, including another fine kick from distance, moved the score onto 11-26. An unconverted try from Max Macdonald gave the hosts hope of a late fightback.

However, it would prove nothing more than a consolation as Thurrock held firm in the time that remained. Both sides ended with a player in the sin bin, before Thurrock landed a fifth penalty from bang in front of the posts. The final whistle immediately followed the successful kick.

Final score, 16-29. Slide through the images from the match in the gallery below.

On a positive note, the 2nd XV kicked off their season with a 31-7 victory over KCS Old Boys.

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