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Cobham snatch victory late-on against Sidcup

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a well-worn idiom (emanating apparently from the USA -Mexico war of 1846-48 for a good quiz question sometime) but Cobham will have been very relieved to have won this match in the final few minutes against an energised Sidcup.

Number 8 Kade Bird was making his home debut for Cobham, having previously played for London Scottish. Within the first minute, he had made an impact by breaking the Sidcup defence, feeding Jonny Hudson who passed onto Max Macdonald to score close to the posts. Tim Lamming added the conversion (7-0).

Full-back Rory Penfold made a try-saving tackle to bring down the Sidcup Number 8 as the visitors stormed back into the game. However, following a break from hooker Dave Stewart, which set-up a ruck and a back line move, Cobham lost centre Yannis Loizias to injury; substitute Tiernan White came onto the wing for his first outing of the season.

At the next scrum, Lamming recovered a loose ball at the back of the set-piece and exploited a gap in the visitor’s defence on the blind side to touch down in the corner. With ten minutes gone, Cobham led 12-0.

Within minutes, fly half Josh Twyford had opened Sidcup's account with a straightforward penalty (12-3) as both sides continued to play open rugby, but were unable to break through. Twyford couldn't convert their next opportunity but centre Fraser Smith then recovered a clearing kick, collected his chipped ahead and fed the support for the visitors opening try, which Twyford converted (12-10).

Cobham hadn't added to their score for 20 minutes, with the momentum shifting to the visitors. So it was reassuring when a back line move enabled Max MacDonald to drive through three tackles and score in the corner (17-10).

Twyford kept Sidcup in touch with a well-taken penalty (17-13) but with half-time looming, Lamming kicked a penalty close to the Sidcup try line. From the ensuing line out, second row Wes Van Der Ploeg took a clean ball enabling a rolling maul that gave hooker Stewart the opportunity to score, which Lamming converted (24-13). The score line at half-time probably flattered the hosts as Sidcup were playing well above their league position.

Cobham were required to change their kit for the second match running with the team's colours considered too similar, but there was no mistaking which team came out to play the more adventurous rugby in the second half; Sidcup winger Charlie Pooley continued to evade tackles as he took the ball into the Cobham half.

Demonstrating confidence in their game, two penalties in front of the posts were declined by Sidcup for scrums but unfortunately, possession could not be turned into points as Cobham's defence held firm with strong tackles from across the home team, especially from Porter. With the majority of play taking place in the Cobham half, it was perhaps inevitable that the Sidcup assault would eventually succeed and scrum half Sam Leamon dived over and Twyford converted to close the score to 24-20.

Sidcup declined a third penalty for a scrum close to the Cobham line, but their assault was held up once again. Then from a lineout, Sidcup feed the ball to stand off Twyford who showed a clean pair of heels as he ran through the Cobham defensive line to touch down; his successful conversion put Sidcup ahead in the game for the first time (24-27).

Having failed to add a point in the second half, Cobham had lost the initiative and needed to raise their game. Further assaults on their line were repelled but with the clock running down, there was strong running from centre Taylor Burnett before MacDonald was prevented from scoring his hat-trick. The ball was floated wide where it found prop Luke Bliss on the wing for the decisive try that Lamming converted to steal the game 31-27.

Sidcup will have been disappointed with the final result, having won the second half, while the bonus try victory takes Cobham up to fourth place in the table.

Team Manager, Tom Schofield said: ''Well played to Sidcup who put us under pressure all game and deserved their bonus points. But well done to all the Cobham players; we weren’t at our best but we will take the learnings and the fact that we found a way to win. We look forward to our next match away to Old Reigatians next Saturday (21 October). All support will be much appreciated on the road.”

“Well done to the 2nd XV, who were also at home and won 44-33 against a Farnham side who pushed us close all the way. A special thanks to Physio Grace who was looking after both teams today.”

A special mention for Max MacDonald, who won his 150th 1st XV cap on Saturday. Max has been an ever present on the wing, taking his tally of tries to 103 thanks to the brace he scored in this match. Well done to him from all at the club; Max received a framed club shirt and painting by Dan Taylor.

Cobham were without their Director of Rugby Billy Davison and Physio Dave Silver for this home fixture against Sidcup as they are currently trekking in the Alps for Project Turnover - a wonderful charity that turns lives around, so they will have been heartened by the final result and retaining a 100% home record

Cobham RFC 1st XV Squad:-

1. Chris Lippiatt

2. Dave Stewart

3. Luke Bliss

4. Wes Van Der Ploeg

5. Joe Goddard

6. Jonny Hudson

7. Louis Porter

8. Kade Bird

9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)

10. Tim Lamming

11. Max MacDonald*

12. Taylor Burnett

13. Yannis Loizias

14. Gresham Lynn

15. Rory Penfold


16. Ryan Aujla

17. Felix Lowe

18. Tiernan White


Tries: MacDonald (2), Lamming, Stewart, Bliss

Conversions: Lamming (3)

*150th Cap

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