Cobham welcomed Amersham & Chiltern to the Memorial Grounds for their first ever encounter on Saturday (1 October). The team selected gave a debut to back row Huw Roberts and a 50th cap for Rory Penfold. The visitors had finished last season mid-table in London North 1 but had won three of their four matches this season to put them third in the league, which suggested this would be a tough match. That would prove to be the case.
After a dominant performance against London Cornish the week before, Cobham opened the scoring with a trademark Goddard lineout take and rolling maul to provide Chris Lippiatt with the first try that Farrelly converted (7-0). Amersham & Chiltern looked to respond, but within minutes MacDonald had intercepted and raced away to score under the posts. Farrelly again added the extras to put the hosts 14-0 ahead with just eight minutes gone.
Debutant Roberts came off temporarily following a head injury and Cobham then lost Farrelly to a yellow card. The visitors took advantage of having the extra man when their number 8 Jordan Scott ran through to score under the posts for a converted try (14-7).
Cobham hit back with a well taken penalty from Luke Flower (17-7) and then looked to create an action replay of their first try with Porter collecting from the lineout and setting up the rolling maul. However, control was lost and ultimately so was possession.
With Cobham restored to full strength and the visitors incurring their own yellow card, Cobham had the opportunity to increase their advantage and take potentially take the game out of reach, but they couldn't replicate the previous week's finishing and had to be content at half-time with a 10-point lead. It wasn't going to be enough.
Having suffered an injury in the first game of the season, it was good to see Club Captain Ryan Saunders returning at scrum half soon after the second half started, but alas the return was curtailed when a yellow card swiftly changed colour to a red for adjudged dissent.
Farrelly briefly extended the lead with a penalty (20-7) but the visitors sensed their opportunity and two scores took them in front for the first time. Firstly substitute back row Charlie Keith bludgeoning his way over the line for a converted try (20-14) before scrum half Tim Hayes demonstrated his evasive running style for the second (20-21).
With the clock running down, Cobham returned to the opposition's half and came close but were held-up. However, they did get an opportunity to snatch victory when Farrelly made easy work off a long range penalty with his best place kick of the day (23-21). When substitute centre Will Stephen kicked ahead and collected, there was a chance to wrap it up, but Amersham & Chiltern would have one final opportunity in the last minute and centre Jarvis ran-in for the bonus point and match winning try. Final score 23-28.
With Director of Rugby Steve Pope away with the 2nd XV ,Team Manager Tom Schofield gave his thoughts: "A very frustrating day for all involved after last weeks great performance at London Cornish. A game Cobham should of won, but we didn’t take enough of our chances. It's something we will need to learn to build on and be more consistent at, if we want to win matches and push up the league table. But well done to Amersham & Chiltern, who took their chance at the end to win the match."
The squad will regroup and move onto the next challenge of Windsor away in two weeks time. Elsewhere, a Cobham XV started the 2nd XV league fixtures with a narrow 45-36 loss away to Battersea Ironsides. Well done to all who played, including a number of youngsters making their debut.
Cobham 1st XV Squad:-
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Andrew Murphy
3. Luke Bliss (Capt.)
4. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
5. Joe Goddard
6. Louis Porter
7. Huw Roberts
8. Tom Davison
9. George Pickersgill
10. Luke Flower
11. Ollie Horton
12. Jonny Holmes
13. James MacDonald
14. Rory Penfold
15. Tom Farrelly
16. Ryan Aujla
17. Ryan Saunders
18. Will Stephens
Tries: Lippiatt, MacDonald
Conversions: Farrelly (2)
Penalties: Farrelly (2), Flower
Match Action Gallery: