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Cobham fail to capitalise on first half chances in defeat to Beckenham

Both teams came into this match with something to prove and although the final result appeared to indicate a comprehensive victory for Beckenham, Cobham will have taken away more from this game than the scoreline might suggest. The visitors were five league places above Cobham at kick-off, but supporters of both teams will have witnessed virtually the whole of the first half where the tail looked to have wagged the dog.

Max Macdonald, who has celebrated over 100 caps as a wing, started for the first time as a centre and there was a debut for Max Hales off the bench. In a frenetic opening ten minutes, it needed a textbook tackle from flanker Matt Frost to bring down a breakthrough run from Beckenham number eight Andrew Knowles. Further defensive tackles from Taylor Burnett and Jonny Holmes then brought down the visitors' top try-scoring prop, Rimarni Richards.

Cobham's scrum was strong throughout the match and they secured excellent lineout ball from hooker Dave Stewart, while flanker Louis Porter was once again ubiquitous. It took Beckenham over 30 minutes to get out of their half, as Cobham played their best rugby for some weeks. However, the hosts could not convert the pressure into points and a penalty opportunity flew wide.

Cobham lost their prop Felix Lowe to a yellow card for an adjudged high tackle, but even so Beckenham could not gain an advantage and for the first time in several seasons it looked as if the first half would end pointless. However, on the stroke of half time and with Lowe restored to the team, Knowles drove over for the opening try that centre Geordie Boyce converted (0-7).

Cobham started the second half strongly and a backline move saw Captain Ryan Saunders go close, but the ball was lost in the tackle and the pressure was relieved. Beckenham prop Richards had scored in the home encounter earlier in the season, and he scored another here with his trademark break, which was converted (0-14). This was followed by centre Boyce breaking the defensive and making the score 0-19.

Cobham lost their experienced hooker Stewart to a shoulder injury and Beckenham ran in their bonus point try from winger Jed Hamilton; Boyce once again added the extras (0-26). Cobham finally got an opportunity close to the visitors' line, but lost the advantage when it was adjudged there was no 'tap' in the tap penalty taken. Beckenham ran in a further converted try soon after from Bunton (0-33).

The scoreline belies the sense of purpose that Cobham continued to display and there were great breaks from full back Joe Wagg and Macdonald, enjoying his new position in two consecutive set plays. Scrum half Saunders then fed fly off Holmes for back-to-back tries, one of which was converted, taking the score to 12-33.

Despite Richards extending the final scoreline to 12-40, the Cobham supporters had enjoyed an exhilarating afternoon of rugby. Congratulations to Beckenham on a hard fought victory.

In the TV series, Coach Ted Lasso told his team to BELIEVE and no doubt that is exactly what Director of Rugby Billy Davison, supported by the full training and managerial team, has instilled into this squad as they look to break this losing streak. This Saturday (20 January) sees Cobham travel to mid-table Old Alleynians, for a game that was postponed last month, looking to reset their season.

Cobham RFC 1st XV Squad:-

1. Ryan Aujla

2. Dave Stewart

3. Felix Lowe

4. Luke Westgarth-Taylor

5. Joe Goddard

6. Louis Porter

7. Ollie Fox

8. Matt Frost

9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)

10. Jonny Holmes

11. Will Hebbes

12. Talor Burnett

13. Max MacDonald

14. Rory Penfold

15. Joe Wagg

Substitutes:

16. Luke Bliss

17. Max Hales

18. Ollie Fielding

Scorers:

Tries: Holmes (2)

Conversion: Hebbes


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