Having endured the M25 and heavy showers, Cobham RFC kicked off their final league game of the season on Saturday (18 March) at Beaconsfield RFC. The conditions meant both sides faced a tacky pitch, which would make it difficult at times for two teams who both had desires to run the ball. Come the final whistle, it was Beaconsfield who won by two points (21-19) having successfully converted all their three tries, which would ultimately prove to be the difference on the scoreboard.
Cobham started the contest with a short grubber kick, which caught Beaconsfield napping and Fin Savill nearly scored in the opening seconds. The following few minutes was all Cobham pressure but after a dropped pass, Beaconsfield raced away only for their centre to drop the scoring pass. This was a rare incursion into the Cobham half by the home side and the visitors were soon back on the attack. Ollie Horton raced through and after being tackled, Tom Farrelly put a lovely kick through for Rory Penfold to score his 18th try of the season after 12 minutes (5-0).
However, this woke up the opposition who fought straight back and after a series of attacks, their fly half Aled Lewis dummied and went over for a converted try (7-5). The rest of the first half was all Cobham and played in the home sides half, but the visitors did everything except score meaning it remained 7-5 at the break. With an injury right on half-time, centre Fraser Atkinson had to be replaced that put Ryan Saunders into unusual position of centre and George Pickersgill came on at scrum half.
The second half began with pressure from the home side but after a run to the right, there looked to be danger for Cobham. However, a pass behind the man was parried in the air and an alert Ollie Horton collected and ran clear for a converted try (7-12). This lead wasn’t to last long and after various Beaconsfield attacks, they cut to the right and had a two on one which they successfully completed as Matt Brown touched down (14-12). So far this half was very much 50/50 compared to the first, with both sides making it an entertaining game.
Richard Nunn then came on at tight head for Ryan Aujla, before Saunders was deemed to have illegally stopped a potential try and was yellow carded. During this 10 minute period, the home side made their numbers count and a chip over the Cobham defence allowed Dan Lofthouse Smith to score. Another successful conversion made it 21-12 with 25 minutes to go.
Beaconsfield nearly scored again after a great run by their winger but great defence close to his own line by Savill saved the day. Cobham then rolled up their sleeves and their cause was helped by the home number eight being sin-binned for repeated offences in their own twenty-two. Cobham took advantage of their extra man as Horton scored his second try of the afternoon, after collecting a chip over the top from Farrelly.
Two points separated the sides (21-1) with ten minutes remaining, which was mostly played in the home sides twenty-two as Cobham pushed for a winning score. With play on the opposition’s line and despite a fantastic effort from the visitors - and in fairness some fantastic defence from Beaconsfield - the referee awarded the home side a penalty and with it signalled the end of the match.
So the season ended with a narrow defeat against a team who looked far better than their record of only three victories prior to this match. This result meant it was two close defeats for Cobham in a row following the victory of Champions Hammersmith & Fulham that for a while raised the spectre of promotion and all the questions that would have gone with that, but that remains for another day.
Overall, the season in a new league against many new opponents has to be viewed as a huge success with a record of 16 wins from 22 matches, including a club record 12 wins on the bounce. More importantly for the future, we introduced many new young members successfully into the 1st XV squad. Our 2nd XV have also enjoyed a successful season with one final league match left, which could see them finish in second place in their league.
Friday night (17 March) saw Cobham All Stars finish their season on a high, beating Guildford Vets 29-12 before their end of season tour to Jamaica in April.
We now look forward to the draw for the Papa Johns Community Cup, which is due to start on 1st April and also the annual Surrey Cup (U22’s).
Cobham 1st XV Squad:-
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Andrew Murphy
3. Ryan Aujla
4. Luke Westgarth-Taylor
5. Wesley Van Der Ploeg
6. Will White
7. Olly Fox
8. Doug Rodman
9. Ryan Saunders (Capt.)
10. Tom Farrelly
11. Ollie Horton
12. Fin Savill
13. Fraser Atkinson*
14. Rory Penfold
15. James Edmondson*
16. Richard Nunn
17. Alex Blackwood
18. George Pickersgill
*1st XV Debut
Tries: Penfold, Horton x 2
Conversions: Farrelly x 2