Both Cobham and Camberley went into Saturday’s (21 December) league contest wanting to finish the first half of the season with a win, but none of the supporters who had assembled at the Memorial Grounds were prepared for the intensity shown by each team to achieve that result. A recent victory over league leaders Westcombe Park and a draw against Medway gave Cobham confidence to display their skills against third placed Camberley, culminating in a nail biting win being secured in the final few minutes.
From the kick-off, Cobham took the game to the visitors and for the opening 15 minutes Camberley could not get out of their half. The pressure eventually told when fly half Tom Farrelly delivered one of his trademark deft kicks behind the back line defence, for winger Tiernan White to collect and score out wide. Wind hampered the conversion but Cobham had secured the all-important opening score (5-0).
Stung by this, Camberley responded and exerted their own pressure resulting in Josh Thundercliffe driving over for a try that fly half Tommy Dunn converted (5-7). An exchange of penalties took the score to 8-10 before Cobham back row forward Olly Fox was sent to the sin bin. As they showed against Westcombe Park, Cobham fought back despite being a man down. Rodman set-up White down the wing and the ball was then fed across the line to Yannis Loizia, who outpaced the defence to score an unconverted try. This gave the hosts a 13-10 lead at the interval.
Neither side could initially make a breakthrough after the restart, but with the home side again down to 14 coupled with an injury to captain Ryan Saunders, Camberley's winger Ash Wright burst through to score that Dunn converted which put the visitors back in front (13-17). Cobham immediately responded with their third try of the afternoon, this time from Max Macdonald and although Farrelly couldn’t convert the hosts were ahead once again (18-17).
The next quarter of the match saw both sides vying for control, which resulted in numerous missed opportunities. McQuade, Buffini and Zakakiotis were outstanding with their driving runs but this was very much a Cobham team effort. Despite having a try overruled and Camberley then regaining the lead with a well taken Dunn penalty (18-20), the home side did not relent. Despite facing a resolute Camberley defensive line and with the clock running towards the 80-minute mark, Farrelly stepped up to secure the crucial final score as he calmly converted a penalty to put Cobham ahead that secured a one-point win (21-20).
The result was a fitting way to celebrate Luke Flower making his 100th appearance for the 1st XV. In front of family, friends and teammates, Luke received a presentation from Club President Lionel Frewin to mark the occasion.
Director of Rugby, Steve Pope said: “Well that was nearly the result the boys deserved. I think on reflection I'll probably be happy with a one-point victory. Straight after the final whistle it felt like we were two scores better than Camberley.”
“Credit must go to the whole of our squad over the last few weeks; the guys have really started to show just how good they can be. We, as a collective coaching group, are very proud of the boys and how they are playing, so are excited to see what next year has in store. With lots of rugby still to be played in the second half of the season, we have a great opportunity to build on this great momentum and push for the top end of the log. I do hope the lads can continue to enjoy their rugby on and off the field.”
“As we head into the Christmas break I'd like to thank all of the players that have represented the club so far this season; we have a great group of lads and a pool of players more than capable of pushing any team in this league.”
“Our aim is to be the very best amateur club in Surrey and play enjoyable, exciting to watch winning rugby, across all of our teams.”
Cobham 1st XV Squad
1 Luke Bliss
2 Theo Buffini
3 Mario Zakakiotis
4 Doug Rodman
5 Joe Goddard
6 Louis Porter
7 Olly Fox
8 Jake McQuade
9 Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10 Tom Farrelly
11 Max MacDonald
12 Luke Flower
13 Yannis Loizia
14 Tiernan White
15 Rory Penfold
16 Andrew Murphy
17 Ali Porter
18 Ant Braithwaite
No 14 - Tiernan White x 1 Try
No 13 - Yannis Loizia x 1 Try
No 11 - Max MacDonald x 1 Try
No 10 - Tom Farrelly x 2 Penalties
Man of the Match (Sponsored by George & Dragon, Thames Ditton): Theo Buffini