Cobham’s 1st XV squad travelled last Saturday (30 September) to Beckenham RFC, the unbeaten league leaders, for what turned out to be a bruising encounter. It was a match that suggested Cobham can compete at the highest level, but that there is still some work to do.
Beckenham RFC was founded in 1894 and, like Cobham, has a thriving mini and youth section, and has created a new Clubhouse for their member and guests. Having finished 10th in the league last season, only winning seven games, Beckenham's fortunes have been revived with a new playing squad; they are without doubt going to be the team to beat this season.
Following a kit clash, Cobham played in the club’s pink KN5 charity kit. Neither team were able to gain the ascendency in the first 30 minutes and the closest opportunity was an interception by winger Gresham Lynn, who was held up close to the line. Sadly, this period also saw fly half Luke Flower injured with a dislocated shoulder; thanks to Physio Sara and Coach Andy Murphy for taking him to hospital to ensure he made a recovery.
Eventually, Cobham broke the home side's defence when centre Yanni Loizias touched down and Fin Savill slotted over the conversion (0-7). That scoreline was extended when Lynn picked up a loose ball from a Beckenham backline move and this time ran clear to score, although Savill was not able to add the extras (0-12). Beckenham then suffered their own injury, losing centre Gary Dibble to a head injury which required an ambulance. For the second week running, the match moved to an adjacent pitch
Cobham had withstood several Beckenham onslaughts and following Flower's injury, also lost Van Der Ploeg and Edmundson before half-time. Eventually, Beckenham prop Rimarni Richards was not to be denied and he took his opportunity to score with stand-off Lewis Bunton adding the conversion (7-12). With further delays due to injuries, the first half finally finished after 60 minutes.
Returning to the main pitch for the start of the second half, the game continued to be played out in front of strong home support. Beckenham maintained the pressure from the final quarter of the preceding half, securing a penalty from Bunton that cut the deficit to just two points (10-12).
Louis Porter was having an excellent match, filling Doug Rodman's position at number 8, and displaying all round skills when securing a kick ahead to feed Yanni. Although the run was curtailed, the ensuing penalty gave Savill the chance to extend the lead (10-15). However, that was short lived as Bunton kept Beckenham in touch (13-15). Centre Liam Caddy had been a thorn in Cobham's side all afternoon but it was Richards once again who scored, breaking four tackles to touch down which Bunton converted (20-15).
An unfortunate yellow card for Lynn and another Beckenham penalty took the score to 23-15; this meant Cobham were to play the majority of the remaining quarter with 14 men. When Lynn did return with no additional score, Cobham had their best play with Yanni, Lynn and Taylor Burnett combining to take the play deep into the Beckenham half. However, this pressure wasn’t converted into points and Beckenham retained their 100% winning record. Final score, 23-15.
Team Manager, Tom Schofield said: “A tough day for Cobham on the road, and injuries to three players in the first half didn’t help out our cause. We’d also like to wish the injured Beckenham player a speedy recovery. Thankfully, the dislocated shoulder to Luke Flower is now okay. We stuck at it until the end, just missing out on a losing bonus point. 15 points from the opening five rounds of the season is not a bad return. The players will now rest up, before we welcome Sidcup for our next match on 14th October.”
Well done to the 2nd XV who won at home 38-25 against local side Weybridge Vandals.
Cobham RFC 1st XV Squad:-
1. Ryan Aujla
2. Andy Muirhead
3. Luke Bliss
4. Felix Lowe
5. Joe Goddard
6. Dave Stewart
7. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
8. Louis Porter
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10. Luke Flower
11. James Edmundson
12. Will Hebbes
13. Yannis Loizias
14. Gresham Lynn
15. Fin Savill
16. Hugh Farmer
17. Ollie Fielding
18. Taylor Burnett
Tries: Loizias, Lynn