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Cobham 27 Hove 3

Report: Saturday March 28th 2015, London South 1

On Saturday, March 29th, Cobham were hosts to visitors from Hove for this London 1 South League match. With three games remaining of this season Cobham find themselves in the relegation zone but having a 7 point advantage over the visitors to Fairmile Lane this afternoon. A win this afternoon would give this hardworking side some breathing space and the confidence to face difficult opponents in the last two matches of this season. 

The match kicked off on fine afternoon and a firm playing surface, with Cobham facing a blustery breeze. These conditions were to be a factor in this afternoon’s result. With both sides requiring a win it was no surprise that the first half was littered with mistakes as dominance in all phases of play was sought by both sides.

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On many occasions Cobham made great inroads into the Hove half only to lose possession and territory to mistakes and the eagerness to get points on the board. These were punished by long kicks out of defence by the Hove side using the strength of the breeze to force Cobham back into their own half. Sporadic attacks by the Hove side were confidently dealt with by a determined and aggressive defence.

The first score of the afternoon came after 8 minutes following a period of sustained pressure from the whole Cobham side. A scintillating break through most of the Hove side from the skilful and dependable full-back Jean Louis Gravier had another solid game  resulted in a penalty confidently converted by Sam Watkinson.

                                                                                                                                Cobham 3 Hove 0

The same pattern of play continued with the hard working Cobham side making good ground out of defence only to be let down by handling  errors and positional mistakes when threatening the Hove defence. Hove to their credit defended stoically using the wind to gain good ground and cause Cobham to be at their best to avoid conceding a Hove score. This style of play drew penalties from the Cobham side one of which was converted to even up the scores after 20 minutes.

Cobham 3 Hove 3

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The game was now on a ‘knife edge’ with both sides searching for the all important scores that would go a long way to decide this bottom of the table encounter. Cobham’s defence was to hold firm with the back row of Rob Fleming, Alex Stout and Richard Trepant being conspicuous both in defence and attack. Due to a leg injury Rob Fleming was replaced by Doug Rodman. Several long distance Hove penalties were missed whilst the reliant and solid Sam Watkinson at fly half kicked one of his two chances to give Cobham a slim lead.

                                                                                                                                Cobham 6 Hove 3

This scrappy and nervy style of play continued to the half time whistle with a golden chance for a Cobham score being spurned after another brilliant run out of defence by Jean Louis Gravier which would have had a dramatic effect on the Hove side.

With the half time whistle being blown Cobham could in the second half build on the gained confidence of defending their line well whilst against the breeze and a determined Hove side also threatened with relegation. This half had all the hallmarks of a battle for both sides to retain their league status next season.

 

  • Half time Cobham 6 Hove 3                 

 

The second half started with a determined Cobham side playing good attacking 15 man rugby forcing Hove to defend a constant wave of attacks.  Hove belied their league position with a solid defence and were able to put Cobham under considerable pressure with a period of sustained attacks and territorial advantage. Cobham defended the aggressive and obstinate style of play from this spirited Hove side.  Cobham’s pack were clearly winning the battle of the tight scrummage winning many heels against the head and on many occasions able to disrupt the Hove lineout.

With 20 minutes left before full time Cobham began to play in the style that we had only seen sporadically for most of the season. With backs and threequarters combining in a display of open  and entertaining rugby  Hove’s defence was being tested to the limit. Play very rarely left the Hove half who were reduced  to relieving kicks out of defence which made little distance against a stiff breeze. This style of play produced the first and probably the decisive score of the afternoon.  Following a storming run in the heart of the Hove defence from Joe McVey and a yellow card to a Hove player the resultant mauls and rucks ended with Joe McVey crossing the try line unopposed for a well deserved try converted by Sam Watkinson.

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Cobham 13 Hove 3

This score was the catalyst for this Cobham side. Confidence soared with the knowledge that they were two scores ahead  against a side that were visibly tiring as a direct result of the positive style of play of this Cobham side. Play returned to the Hove 25 where a grubber kick over the Hove try line was touched down for the second try and conversion of the afternoon by Sam Watkinson.

 

Cobham 20 Hove 3

From the kick off Cobham returned to the attack with great effect allowing Hove only brief incursions into their half which were skilfully dealt with. Using the advantage of the breeze play returned to the Hove half. A failed kick to touch was expertly fielded by Joe McVey on the Hove 10 metre line followed by a decisive run and several hands ending in a try scoring pass being given by Matt Cornish to Luc Jones to cross the try line unopposed for the third try of the afternoon sweetly converted by Sam Watkinson.

Cobham 27 Hove 3

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With ten minutes remaining the fourth try bonus point was now within Cobham’s grasp and would become the subject of debate when the result of the Twickenham game became known.

Following this third try Cobham continued to threaten the Hove try line. With about two minutes left a decisive break from an attacking line out saw Joe Goddard being tackled just short of the Hove try line. Possession was retained and the resultant maul was grounded over the try line. A try was not immediately awarded, but an attacking Cobham scrum appeared to have been given. Before the scrum could be formed the Cobham flanker Doug Rodman was red carded for a remark to the referee. A penalty award to Hove was followed by the referees whistle for full time.

  • Final result          Cobham 27 Hove 3

 

With two matches remaining of the season, against Havant and Twickenham, this side deserves the full support of all Cobham members particularly the last game of the season against a Twickenham side also battling for survival in this very competitive league.

 

Squad

Dan Walsh

Matt Cornish

Luke Charlton

Joe Goddard

Joe McVey

Richard Trepant

Rob Fleming

Alex Stout

Christian Disley-May

Sam Watkinson

Max MacDonald

Arran Cowell

Pierre Soucasse

Luc Jones

Jean Louis Gravier

 

Subs

Josh Brown

Doug Rodman

Harry Mobbs                                           

 

  • report by Dick Blackman
  • photos by Chris Brown