Following two close defeats, this was a welcome return to form for Cobham’s 1st XV against KCS Old Boys under the floodlights on Friday evening (24 January) at Fairmile Lane. Indeed, the 40-15 victory was their most comprehensive win and highest point score of the season, although the hosts didn’t dominate the whole game. The emphatic margin of victory was predominantly down to a 8-minute 'try fest' in the first half, which saw Cobham tear the opposition apart. Credit is due to KCS Old Boys for the manner in which they responded.
Cobham dictated play from the kick-off, with a precision kick to touch from Max MacDonald that was followed by a searing run from Louis Porter. When he was infringed, fly half Ant Braithwaite kicked the resulting penalty. KCS responded strongly with an interception that created a try out wide for Matt Anthony, but Cobham restored the lead with a second Braithwaite penalty (6-5).
In what was an evenly contested match, nothing could have prepared the supporters for what was to follow. Firstly, a precision cross-field kick from Braithwaite was collected by Max MacDonald for him to run in (11-5), before Goddard broke through the defence and fed captain Ryan Saunders for a score that Braithwaite converted (18-5). Within minutes, Porter offloaded to prop Mario Zakakiotis to score under the posts and with Braithwaite adding the extras, the hosts had raced into a 20-point lead (25-5).
Shell-shocked, KCS stemmed the flow to prevent it becoming a rout, with Cobham missing another opportunity just before half-time. The home side knew that they could not be complacent, having lost their previous home match against Horsham with a commanding half-time lead, and as if to demonstrate that point flanker Theo Buffini scored a break away try almost immediately after the restart, which Braithwaite converted (32-5).
Any thoughts that Cobham would race ahead were dented by two scores from the visitors (32-15) as they took the game to the home side. Other than a Braithwaite penalty, it was only as the final whistle beckoned that Cobham added any further points as Jake McQuade celebrated his birthday in style by crashing over, making the final score 40-15.
"I have to say I really enjoyed the game, as some of the rugby the boys played was top draw in both attack and defence,” said Director of Rugby, Steve Pope. “After last week’s narrow lost at Havant, where I really felt the guys deserved more from that performance, we had lots to focus our frustrations on during the week. It felt like lots of that came out in the exhilarating rugby the team delivered.”
“All 18 played their part in that performance, including our 19th man who warmed up but didn't play having covered some injury concerns before the match - thank you Ryan. Some of the inter play between forwards and backs was exceptional and led to some great tries. For much of the match we played with real purpose, tempo and control.”
“When we get it right for a full 80, someone is in for a real shock. I can see lots of upsets along the way in the remaining games of this still very competitive league season. I hope a number of them come from us as we aim to push those above us as hard as we possibly can.”
“So I’m massively proud of the boys again this week and it was lovely for Jake (Cakey) McQuade on his birthday to get the last try of the evening. It’s now onto next week and a tough away match at London Cornish.”
“I would like to finish by wishing Fish our best wishes and hope the long lunch on Sunday was a real success.”
Cobham 1st XV Squad
1 Luke Bliss
2 Andrew Murphy
3 Mario Zakakiotis
4 Sam Matcham
5 Louis Porter
6 Olly Fox
7 Theo Buffini
8 Doug Rodman
9 Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10 Ant Braithwaite
11 Max MacDonald
12 Jonny Holmes
13 James MacDonald
14 Rory Penfold
15 Dan Allchurch
16 Jake McQuade
17 Joe Goddard
18 Tiernan White
Tries: Max MacDonald, Ryan Saunders, Mario Zakakiotis, Theo Buffini, Jake McQuade
Conversions: Ant Braithwaite (3)
Penalties: Ant Braithwaite (3)
Man of the Match (Sponsored by George & Dragon Thames Ditton): Theo Buffini
Other Senior Results:
Weybridge Vandals 7-21 Cobham Allstars
Kingston 2nd XV 7-35 Cobham XV