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Cobham extend winning run to 12 matches with emphatic victory

Cobham 1st XV welcomed Belsize Park to the Memorial Grounds on Saturday (11 February) for the home leg of their back-to-back league fixtures. After a hard fought 11-26 away win last weekend, the hosts knew it would not be an easy fixture. The visitors went into the contest sitting in eighth place in the table, but with five losses of within five points or less, their position maybe doesn’t reflect the strength of the team. Showing five changes from last week’s team and a number of unavailable players, Cobham were happy to call on their growing strength in-depth whilst Belsize made just a single change.

The opening 10 minutes were all Cobham with most of the play in the visitors half although without truly threatening Belsize’s line. Various phases led to a mistake, a rip or a lost lineout and ending the attack. The first points were to come after 10 minutes when, following a penalty and a good lineout win, the backs moved the ball wide to set-up the position, where the forwards picked and drove. Ryan Ajula was the one on hand to go over for a converted try (7-0).

Belsize then got into the game and the next 15 to 20 minutes were spent in the Cobham half. However, despite going through multiple phases of play, Cobham’s defence was excellent. Still the visitors attacked and finally their scrum half snuck clear from a ruck and floated a beautiful pass to their pacey full back Flanagan who ran in unopposed (7-5). Joe Goddard came off with a knock for the hosts and was replaced by young Matt Frost coming on in the back row, with Wes Van Der Ploeg moving up to lock.

The try from Belsize was no more than the opposition deserved. The next points were to be Cobham’s and what a great score it was. It started with another promising attack from the visitors, but fortunately they kicked the ball away and full back Dan Allchurch called a mark and kicked to touch. Whilst Belsize won the lineout, a great tackle by Will Stephens dislodged the ball and a hack through gave Cobham a lineout deep in their opponents half. The ball was duly won and then a flowing backs move from right to left, ended with Rory Penfold coming off his right wing to score under the posts that gave Cobham a 14-5 lead at half-time.

A curious first half where Belsize probably felt unlucky to be down and Cobham had spent long periods in defence, not getting much quality possession in attack to feed their pacey backs. However, the half-time talk clearly did the trick as the second half, whilst by no means all Cobham, definitely showed an “up” in tempo from the pack and the backs creating and then taking their chances.

Indeed, the second half was only seconds old before Cobham’s scored third try. Belsize took the restart, Cobham won the ball followed by a Saunders box kick that was dropped by his opposite number on halfway. Matt Frost, like all good opensides, was on hand to scoop up the loose ball and feed Penfold, who raced in from 30 metres to score (19-5). Belsize nearly scored their second try after a flowing length of the pitch move. Just when it looked a certain score in the bottom corner, a try saving tackle by covering wing Ollie Horton made Belsize knock the ball-on. The hosts stretched their lead when a high tackle by the Belsize scrum half resulted in a yellow card and three points from Luke Flower, who was now on at fly half (22-5).

Next up was a lovely solo try from returning Yanni Loizias, who gathered possession in the Belsize half. A lovely run through and round various defenders followed, which he finished out wide to score (29-5). Although the try scorer then retired with a minor niggle and another change saw Andy Muirhead replace Ollie Fox and set-up in the back row. Following a run by Dan Allchurch down the right wing, Belsize kicked the ball out and this set-up another attacking Cobham lineout. Murph threw short to Wes, who passed it back and the hooker stormed the last 30 meters for a great solo try (34-5).

Cobham should have scored again but following some great play, the scoring pass was put down and it was actually the visitors who scored next and it was no more than they deserved. Frost was yellow carded for a slap down, Belsize kept attacking and a floated pass saw Lawrenson score out wide, before a beautiful conversion made it 34-12. However, Cobham would have the last say. A Saunders grubber kick pinned Belsize into the corner, Wes stole the lineout and a flowing passing movement had Allchurch scoring in the corner to complete the scoring. Final score, 39-12.

So Cobham recorded their 12th league win on the bounce, although this was a scoreline that didn’t do any justice to the visitors efforts. Coach Dan Walsh was happy with the second half display especially and glad that the team took their messages onto the pitch. He praised the forwards for fronting up in the second 40 and winning good ball that allowed the dangerous backs to do the rest. Next up is Old Haberdashers away on Saturday (18 February), kick-off 2.30pm.

Cobham 1st XV Squad:-

1. Chris Lippiatt

2. Andrew Murphy

3. Ryan Aujla

4. Luke Bliss

5. Joe Goddard

6. Wesley Van Der Ploeg

7. Olly Fox

8. Doug Rodman

9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)

10. Will Stephen

11. Ollie Horton

12. Yanni Loizias

13. James MacDonald

14. Rory Penfold

15. Dan Allchurch


16. Andy Muirhead

17. Matt Frost

18. Luke Flower


Tries: Penfold x 2, Murphy, Aujla, Loizias, Allchurch

Conversions: Stephen, Flower

Penalty: Flower

2nd XV Result:

Cobham 19-33 KCS Old Boys

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