Following their postponed fixture the previous weekend against Belsize Park, Cobham’s 1st XV welcomed Old Haberdashers to the Memorial Ground for a further inaugural fixture between the two sides. Played in unseasonally warm temperatures, hooker Dave Stewart, an Under 9 Coach, made his full debut for Cobham. Richard Nunn also started for the first time this season, with Luke Bliss showing his versatility by moving to the second row.
Old Haberdashers had previously played in London 1 North and, similar to Cobham's experiences this season, were welcoming the opportunity to play new teams. Cobham members, including a number of the first team, had enjoyed attending the City Lunch the previous day and inevitably there would have been some concerns that stociousness may have had an impact.
If it did, it was well disguised as Cobham opened the scoring in the first minute with a backline move that released Max MacDonald down the line. Despite seeing his path blocked, he passed inside to fellow winger Rory Penfold to touch down that fly half Will Stephen converted (7-0).
Haberdashers, who operate without a manager and regular training, are a well drilled team and they immediately responded with a break by their fly half Etienne Dussartre. Although that was held up, their next attack provided him with the opportunity to level the scores with Tom Jackman adding the conversion (7-7).
Cobham responded strongly with centre Taylor Burnett breaking the defensive line and from the resulting rolling maul, debutant Stewart drove over for the score and Stephen converted from wide out (14-7).
With Stephen adding two penalties in quick succession Cobham started to open up a significant lead (20-7) that score could have been extended when the visitors lost their number 7 to a yellow card for deliberate offside. However, credit to Haberdashers for withstanding five scrums within their twenty two before eventually regaining possession to relive the pressure as the first half came to an end.
Jake McQuade, returning to the team after injury, had a storming first half for the hosts and that continued following the restart but it was now Haberdashers who created pressure with breaks from their scrum half John Bunn supported by centres James Clark and Harry Briffitt requiring staunch defence from Cobham. The visitors did get the benefit of a penalty to cut the deficit to ten points (20-10).
Cobham turned possession from strong scrummaging and lineouts into territory and from a penalty close to the line opted for a scrum that enabled McQuade to power over (25-10). Cobham's bonus point fourth try came from nothing other than Will Stephen seeing an opportunity to rip the ball from the opposition hands and run through to touch down (30-10). Haberdashers were deserving of a well executed consolation try when the fluidity that their backline had shown all afternoon put their centre over to make the final score 30-15.
Cobham will have been pleased with their disciplined game and grinding out a win against worthy opponents. This victory puts Cobham into fourth place in the league table with a game in hand until the postponed Belsize Park match is played next February, when they will play two consecutive matches away and home.
Congratulations also to the 2nd XV, who also kept up the winning habit away at Guildford in an emphatic 0-73 win. The win keeps them in second place in Surrey Championship 2.
Cobham 1st XV Squad:-
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Dave Stewart
3. Richard Nunn
4. Luke Bliss
5. Joe Goddard
6. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
7. Matt Frost
8. Jake McQuade
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10. Will Stephen
11. Max MacDonald
12. Taylor Burnett
13. Gresham Lynn
14. Rory Penfold
15. Ollie Horton
16. Ryan Aujla
17. John Radford
18. George Pickersgill
Tries: Penfold, Stewart, McQuade, Stephen
Conversions: Stephen (2)
Penalties: Stephen (2)
Player of the Match: Jake McQuade
Match Action Gallery:-