It has been a tough start to the season for Cobham first XV with the solitary win gained from a one-point defeat of Belsize Park 29-28. Conversely, Havant went into the game having played four, won and four scoring over 35 points in each game. This was going to be a tough encounter for the young Cobham side, so the result and the manner in which they played will have provided enormous encouragement for Director of Rugby Steve Pope and his coaching staff.
Cobham provided an early warning of what was to come when after just three minutes a dummy pass released winger Max MacDonald into the corner (5-0). However, there was an immediate reply from Havant's Scott Morris, who beat the defence to score under the posts that full back Reynolds converted (5-7).
Straight from the restart, Cobham back row forward Ali Porter was sin binned and taking advantage of the numerical supremacy, Havant added to their lead with a try from Joe Moore following a break from Jerome Trail. Reynolds converted to make the score 5-14. That could have been a turning point for Cobham, but restored to full strength they instigated the first of two sustained periods of pressure which initially resulted in Havant losing Darren Bamford for a yellow card and then MacDonald going over for his second try after a searing run from full back Rory Penfold. Tom Farrelly converted and Cobham followed this up just before half-time when hooker Theo Buffini drove over the line. Another successful Farrelly conversion put the hosts 19-14 ahead.
Both sides will have been pleased with their respective displays in the first half, but Cobham had edged it as the score line reflected and there was more to follow. However, before the second half Cobham assault commenced, Havant struck within minutes of the restart with back row Trail going over after Sean Shepherd exploded out of the lineout. Reynolds converted once again to put the visitors back in front (19-21).
What followed was Cobham's best display of the season so far, as they took the game to the visitors. Number 8 Jake MacQuade had looked dangerous all afternoon and he was unlucky to have a try disallowed, but he was then instrumental in creating a passage of play that saw Captain Ryan Saunders offload to McDonald for his hat trick. Farrelly converted again (26-21) and a try bonus point had been secured. Farrelly then opened up a two score lead with a penalty (29-21).
Sensing that they had gained the advantage, Cobham continued the pressure and front row Lippiatt went over after Luke Flower had broken the line and with Farrelly converting again, Cobham were 36-21 ahead. Havant will have been disappointed to have lost their momentum although front row Sean Shepherd drove over for a converted try to hint at a comeback (36-28). However, a penalty infringement at the scrum enabled man of the match Farrelly to add his second penalty to take Cobham to a commanding 39-28 lead.
Havant had scored 39 points in their last two matches to win but on this occasion the points were thoroughly deserved by Cobham. The win puts the team mid table with their next match being played on Friday night (11 October) under the floodlights away at KCS Old Boys.
Director of rugby Steve Pope said after the match: “Very pleased for the boys; after a very tough start to the league programme we showed today just what we are capable of when we get things right. As always, the Havant boys are great value on and off of the pitch. We really enjoy playing against them, as it is always a very physical and good contest. It was nice to come out on top on this occasion, as we expect them to be up the top end of the table and are in my personal opinion consistently one of the best teams in the league.”
“So today's performance is very pleasing. After a number of weeks of playing well in parts of each game, we managed to play for a full 80 and our game management against a very competitive team was as good as I can remember.”
“From 1 to 18, the boys were first class today and it is very hard to pick out individuals. I have to mention a few - skipper Ryan Saunders led from the front, both the Porter brothers, Jake "Cake" MacQuade, Max with a hat-trick and Theo Buffini who, again having played across a number of positions, was outstanding wherever we put him, as he has been over the last few weeks. A debut for young Dan Alchurch I believe and on the anniversary of Matt Craggs death, it was a fitting tribute that both on and off of the field the boys did him and the club colours proud.”
“Lastly, in a busy week, I would like to mention the arrival of One Mast Victor Thomas Moss Silver. To the Silver family, Dave and Jenny are a huge part of the Cobham family and we would like to share our delight in this fantastic news. I believe Mum and Victor are doing well and we will make sure Dad has a great evening after such a big week!”
1st XV Squad:
1 Chris Lippiatt 2 Theo Buffini 3 Mario Zakakiotis 4 Sam Matcham (VC) 5 Doug Rodman
6 Louis Porter 7 Ali Porter 8 Jake McQuade 9 Ryan Saunders (C) 10 Luke Flower
11 Max MacDonald 12 Tom Farrelly 13 James MacDonald 14 Tiernan White 15 Rory Penfold
16 Luke Bliss 17 Nathan Spratt 18 Dan Allchurch
No 11 Max MacDonald x 3 No 2 Theo Buffini x 1 No 1 Chris Lippiatt x 1 Conversions:
No 12 Tom Farrelly x 4 Conversions
No 12 Tom Farrelly x 2 Penalties
Man of the Match - Tom Farrelly
Senior Club Result:
Cobham 3rd XV 46-17 Camberley 3rd XV