Cobham’s 1st XV travelled to Guildford on Saturday (5 February) for a match rescheduled from December; a decision that may have played into Cobham's hands as they continue to improve their finishing and second half performances. Steve Pope’s team have now won four of their five fixtures since Christmas and climbed two places in the league as a result of this win.
The Cobham supporters who travelled to Guildford certainly would not have predicted the final result following the opening quarter, as the hosts dominated the game. Having only won one of their matches since Christmas, Guildford made the most of some 'cold hands' (dropped passes) from the visitors backs and for the first time this season Cobham's pack were under pressure in the scrum.
Guildford's first try came quickly as the consequence of the words not often heard together in the same sentence ‘second row forward' and 'deftly kicked ahead'. Guildford second row Curtis Beecroft, driving down the line, spotted an opportunity to put winger Joe Wigmore into space and deftly kicked ahead. Wigmore gathered, evaded the defence and touched down under the posts for a converted try (7-0).
Further incursions from the home side were stemmed by try saving tackles from Cobham's winger Rory Penfold (at the cost of a black eye) and relieving kicks from Captain Ryan Saunders. When Cobham did make it into the Guildford half a penalty infringement allowed Farrelly to put them onto the scoreboard (7-3). That points difference didn't last long as Guildford again took control and winger Will Vincent provided a well-timed offload to put George Moore in for another converted score (14-3) with 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
In windy conditions, Farrelly edged a penalty just wide of the posts but following what is fast becoming a trademark run down the line from winger Dan Allchurch, the ensuing infringement from Guildford provided McQuade with a tap penalty opportunity that was eventually converted into points. Farrelly converted from close to the touch line and cut the deficit to four points (14-10).
Cobham were now playing their best rugby of the half and when Guildford lost Beecroft to a yellow card infringement, they took advantage of their extra man advantage, as Captain Ryan Saunders picked up from the base of the scrum to race over that gave the visitors a one-point lead at the break (14-15).
With Pope utilising his subs bench, the fresh legs of Ben Joyce, Ben Keast and Tiernan White ensured Cobham withstood Guildford's response. For thirty minutes it looked to everyone watching that neither side was going to score during a fiercely competitive second half.
No one could say that a Cobham win was ever in doubt but their chances certainly improved when Saunders released Farrelly; he missed out two players with a skilful long pass to centre James Macdonald, who outpaced the Guildford defence to score in the corner. Although Farrelly couldn’t emulate his previous conversion from wide out, a score line of 14-20 looked to be enough to secure the game.
Guildford, stung by losing their domination and first half lead, provided constant pressure for the final ten minutes and it needed a Goddard steal at the lineout and a turnover scrum to ensure territory didn't turn itself into points before the final whistle blew.
Cobham will have been pleased with their performance, which completed a clean sweep as Cobham 2nd XV defeated Guildford 59-14.
Pope said: “Really pleased on the day we remember one of the clubs finest with the KN5 memorial match; it’s very fitting we all remember Kieran with two hard fought wins against good physical opponents. It’s nice to continue to build on the group’s momentum with good performances today. Thanks to Guildford for providing great competition, a great welcome and warm hospitality. Big well done to all the boys today, but it’s now on to next week and another big set fixtures across the senior teams."
Cobham 1st XV Squad:
1. Ryan Aujla
2. Jake McQuade
3. Luke Bliss
4. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
5. Joe Goddard
6. Doug Rodman
7. Nathan Spratt
8. Louis Porter
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10. Tom Farrelly
11. Rory Penfold
12. Ant Briathwaite
13. James MacDonald
14. Dan Allchurch
15. Finn Savill
16. Ben Joyce
17. Ben Keast
18. Tiernan White
Tries: McQuade, Saunders, MacDonald