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Cobham slip down the table after heavy defeat at Sidcup

Saturday (27 January) was a tough day at the office for Cobham, as they suffered another defeat at the hands of tenth placed Sidcup. The ongoing challenge of injuries created debut opportunities for Max Hanson, Ben Littlefair, Lewis Joyce and George O'Connor. In the second half, when Lewis joined his father Ben on the pitch, it recorded the first league Father and Son playing time together for Cobham RFC in living memory (Billy and Tom Davison played in the friendly Boxing Day game). Ben has played 179 games for Cobham, so no pressure Lewis!

Sidcup had recorded three consecutive victories coming into the match, so losing winger Will Stephen to a hamstring injury in the warm-up was not the best start for Director of Rugby Billy Davison and the Cobham management team. Ben Harper came in at centre and Alec O'Connor switched to wing.

Sidcup started strongly and created pressure that required strong defence from Cobham and it was assuring to see teenager Littlefair slotting into the fly half role so easily providing relieving kicks to touch as necessary. The hosts did eventually break the line when winger Lewis Keeley ran in under the posts for the opening score that fly half Josh Twyford converted (7-0).

Cobham responded, regaining possession and territory, and in a match which saw the penalty count in Cobham's favour, the first penalty attempt gave Littlefiar his first points for the club and set the scene for what was to come later (7-3). Sidcup attack lines were requiring strong tackling from the visitors, with Fox and Hanson leading the way, but they could not prevent number eight John West going over for a second try. Twyford converted again to extend the home sides lead (14-3).

The match could have easily been lost at this stage, but Cobham again took advantage of the increasing penalty count to bring themselves back into the game with Littlefair slotting over two further kicks at goal, which cut the deficit (14-9).

The match was then halted for a serious injury to Sidcup centre, who was thought to have broken a leg. This meant the first half was to last nearly 60 minutes and there was a further penalty attempt from Littlefair, which went wide, and a lineout and rolling maul where the ball was adjudged to have been held-up.

Returning to the pitch for the second half, Sidcup scored almost immediately when flanker Zac Jones charged over and Twyford converted (21-9), before their bonus point try came from winger Luke Sheridan (26-9).

In between times, the debutants were finding their feet and providing some interplay and skills that will serve the team well in the remaining games of the season. However, this was now Sidcup's match to lose; hooker Fordham claimed their fifth try to make the score 31-9, before utility player Harry Large claimed the final try of the afternoon. The 38-9 scoreline meant Sidcup secured their fourth win in a row, as Cobham fell to 11th place in the league.

Cobham still have a game in hand, as they slip into the relegation zone and have the benefit of home advantage against Old Reigatians this weekend (Saturday 3 February), when all support is welcome.

Cobham 1st XV Squad:-

1. Joel O’Keefe

2. Ryan Aujla

3. Luke Bliss

4. Hugh Farmer

5. Joe Goddard

6. Taylor Burnett

7. Max Hanson*

8. Olly Fox

9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)

10. Ben Littlefair*

11. Alec O’Connor

12. Jonny Holmes

13. Ben Harper

14. Rory Penfold

15. Joe Wagg


Substitutes:

16. Ben Joyce

17. Lewis Joyce*

18. George O’Connor*


Scorers:

Penalties: Littlefair (3)


*Debut





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