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Dover 15 Cobham 20

Report: Saturday January 10th 2015, London South 1

On Saturday Cobham made the long coach journey  to Dover for this London 1 league match. Before this match Dover although winning 1 match less were  two points and places above Cobham  in this very competitive league therefore the result of this match would be massively important to both sides. The lack of bonus points is an important element greatly effecting Cobham’s league position.


Dover’s pitch is situated on the old Kent County Cricket ground which at this time of year the playing surface is on the heavy side. Heavy rain during the 24 hours before kick off ensured that the playing surface was very heavy. Dover play a game suited to these conditions with the big and aggressive pack attacking from all points to set up try scoring opportunities. It was vitally important that Cobham ‘ hit the ground running’ from the very first whistle to ensure that Dover did not cash in on the long coach journey made by Cobham.    


The match started on time, Cobham kicking off after losing the toss with the floodlights on even though the conditions were bright  with Cobham having the advantage of the slope and a strong wind. Cobham started very strongly with the forwards gaining good possession allowing the backs to mount a number of attacks on the Dover line. Dover responded with an aggressive and determined defence but for the first quarter were pinned mainly in their own half occasionally making ground into the Cobham half but long defensive kicks from the Cobham threes returned them to their own half. Cobham needed a score from this possession and territory but none came.


Gradually Dover become more organised and were able to penetrate Cobham’s defence to gain good territory and threaten the Cobham line. It was now Cobham’s turn to show their defensive skills to thwart many aggressive Dover attacks. They were kept at bay by an organised and skilful Cobham defence which drew penalties from the Dover attacks to gain good ground. It was from one of these that saw Harry Mobbs break the Dover defensive line on the halfway line to sprint almost half the length of the pitch only to be tackled on the Dover 5 metre line  thus preventing the first Cobham score. A penalty at the ensuing ruck saw Dover clear their lines.


This break out galavanised Cobham’s attacks and they attacked the Dover line with renewed vigour. After 30 minutes of the first half good possession from the forwards enabled Dave Flower to create an overlap for James McDonald to skilfully round two Dover players to score near the touch line. The kick was not converted by Dave Flower.
                        Cobham 5 Dover 0


From the kick off Cobham again attacked the Dover line with good pressure from both forward and backs. On one of these attacks a maul was formed 20 metres from the Dover line and was driven with great skill to produce a try for Rob Fleming which was excellently converted by Dave Flower from an awkward angle. This score came six minutes after the first score.
                        Cobham 12 Dover 0


Dover replied to these two scores with renewed vigour driving play to the Cobham try line. Cobham’s defence was tested to the limit. After several mauls on the Cobham line a penalty was awarded to Dover which was quickly taken and a try scored. The kick failed.
                        Cobham 12 Dover 5


The referees whistle blew to announce half time.
The second half  started with Cobham now facing the elements of the slope and the unabating wind which was not the position they wanted to be in with only a 7 point advantage. Dover being on their home ground knew exactly how to play the conditions  and attacked the Cobham line with strength and aggression. Quick penalties in kickable positions were run but Cobham’s  defence held with both forwards and backs determinedly defending their line. After 8 minutes the Dover consistent pressure eventually drew a penalty in a kickable position which was converted.
                        Cobham 12 Dover 8


It was now ‘game on’ with Dover scenting victory. Cobham had other ideas. An aggressive Cobham defence saw James McDonald after 15 minutes beat his opposite number and kick deep into the Dover half. Good backing up by the Cobham side saw the inevitably penalty being conceded by the desperate Dover defence which was converted by Dave Flower.
                        Cobham 15 Dover 8


Dover continued their attacks on the Cobham line but were becoming desperate when they were met by an equally aggressive and controlled defence from all the Cobham side. The Dover kicks to gain ground were confidently fielded by Jean Louis Gravier on his return from injury and returned the game to the Dover half. The penalty count against Dover was high as Cobham nullified the Dover attacks.
From one of these attacks on the half hour Patrick Williams intercepted a pass and ran from his own half to score this opportunist try which was not converted by Dave Flower.
                        Cobham 20 Dover 8


Although two scores behind Dover continued to attack but again were met by an excellent defence from all the Cobham players. However with two minutes to go  a  Dover threequarter at last eluded the excellent Cobham defence to score under the posts.
                        Cobham 20 Dover 15        


It was now imperative for Cobham to hold the expected Dover attack from the kick off. A crunching tackle on two Dover backs from the excellent Pierre Soucasse saw the inevitable attack nullified and from the ensuing scrum Harry Mobbs put the ball out to ensure a hard fought and deserved win for this talented Cobham side.

 

  • Full time.   Cobham 20 Dover 15

This match was an excellent team effort from the whole squad with the forwards well led by Joe Goddard and the backs by Dave Flower.


Next Saturday Cobham face Guildford at Fairmile Lane with confidence gained from this victory in very difficult circumstances.