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Havant 35 Cobham 35

Report: Saturday April 11th 2015, London South 1

Cobham travelled to Havant on Saturday for this London 1 league match. The Cobham side showed one change from the Hove game, Harry Mobbs on the wing replacing Luc Jones with Dave Baker and Dave Flower on the bench in place of Doug Rodman and Harry Mobbs.

 

This was the penultimate match of this difficult season against a side that Cobham were confident of repeating a home victory achieved in December of last year. The added bonus of a win would mean that ‘league safety’ had probably been achieved as our last opponents of the season, Twickenham, were playing Guildford a side fifth in the league. However this as we shall see was not achieved but it was not for want of a supreme effort by the whole squad.

 

The match started in bright sunny conditions on a firm pitch with Cobham facing a strong breeze which ultimately determined the play of both sides. In the early stages of this half Cobham had the better of the play with backs and forwards combining well to set up good attacking positions and to defensively test the Havant side. This pressure brought the reward after 4 minutes with a penalty converted by the dependable Sam Watkinson, who throughout the whole match was a tower of strength both in attack and defence.

Cobham 3 Havant 0

 

From the kick off Cobham continued to threaten the Havant try line with good line breaks from Sam Watkinson, Rob Flemming Jean Louis Gravier and Matt Cornish. A number of attacks were halted by a determined Havant defence with the try line only feet from being crossed. Scoring chances were not taken when it seemed that an early advantage would be achieved. Credit to the Havant defensive effort in repelling these incessant attacks. At this stage the play can only be described as ‘frenetic’ with both sides striving to gain ascendency. Eventually Havant were able to force play, with the aid of the breeze, deep into the Cobham half and threaten the Cobham goal line. A number of plays eventually saw Ben Brierley, the Havant centre, stroll unopposed over the goal line to score a try converted by Jake Reynolds.

Cobham 3 Havant 7

From the restart Cobham continued to attack the Havant goal line with skilful controlled play, again forcing their opponents to show their defensive skills in order to prevent a score. A Havant maul offence drew the penalty converted by Sam Watkinson.

 

Cobham 6 Havant 7

 

This score produced a positive reaction from the Havant side again and with skilful use of the wind were able to pin Cobham in their own half. Cobham were reduced to ‘break outs’ from defence only to be forced back on the defensive. Eventually the defensive line was breached allowing the Havant flanker Mike Brook to score a converted try.

 

Cobham 6 Havant 14

Immediately from the restart Cobham were forced back into their own half. Dave Flower, on the field as a blood replacement for Arron Cowell skilfully ran out of defence before passing to Harry Mobbs who carried on a flowing movement taking play into the Havant half. A Cobham penalty was

the result but failed as the kick struck the upright. Havant renewed their flowing attacks scoring a converted try by Mike Brook.

 

Cobham 6 Havant 19

In this ‘topsy turvey’ game Cobham persistently attacked the Havant defence. From a series of strong rucks and mauls Cobham had good retention of possession eventually allowing Joe McVey to beat a number of defenders to touchdown halfway out which was converted by Sam Watkinson.

Cobham 13 Havant 19

 

With very little time of this first half left Havant again forced play into the Cobham 25. A series of attacking mauls by the Havant side saw their centre Grant Morris score an unconverted try.

Cobham 13 Havant 24

 

Half time

 

Within one minute of the Havant restart they were awarded a penalty which was converted. With a large points deficit this was now an uphill struggle to turn this game around.

 

Cobham 13 Havant 27

 

To their great credit Cobham now ‘upped’ their game and forced Havant into desperate defensive positions. Several penalties were awarded to Cobham which were used to mount attacks from line outs and mauls not kicking easy penalties. Cobham’s persistence was rewarded with a try from Dave Baker from one of these mauls. An excellent conversion from Sam Watkinson added the two points.

 

Cobham 18 Havant 27

 

The attacks on the Havant defensive line continued from the kick off. This display of attacking possession rugby by the whole Cobham side belied their league position. Such attacking skilful play was now being rewarded. Good possession from an attacking line out saw Sam Watkinson grubber kick behind the advancing Havant defence allowing the excellent and elusive Jean-Louis Gravier to show a marvellous turn of speed to score a try converted by Sam Watkinson. Game on!

 

Cobham 25 Havant 27

 

This period of play appeared to galvanise the Havant side determinedly taking play into the Cobham half with good ball retention and strong running from their three quarters. Despite good line kicking out of defence by both Jean Louis Gravier and Sam Watkinson Havant continued to vigorously attack the Cobham try line. After 22 minutes of this pulsating second half the Havant wing Ed Wilkes scored an unconverted try.

Cobham 25 Havant 32

 

This ‘frenzied’ style of play continued for almost the final 20 minutes of this second half. Play was mainly confined to midfield with both sides looking for the score that would finally put a seal on this

pulsating match. The mould was finally broken by a Havant penalty with only 9 minutes remaining until full time thus denying, at this stage, a bonus point for Cobham.

 

Cobham 25 Havant 35

Cobham’s response was emphatic after a series of attacks the inevitable penalty was awarded and kicked by Sam Watkinson.

Cobham 28 Havant 35

 

Only the referee knew what time was left of this compelling match between two committed amateur sides which the large crowd appreciated. Time for at least one more attack from this committed Cobham side. Surging runs from many players that broke the Havant defensive line took play deep into the Havant allowing Max MacDonald to cross the try line unopposed to score a deserved try which was converted by Sam Watkinson.

 

Havant 35 Cobham 35

 

Cautious play from the kick off by both sides for the minute remaining was ended by the referee ending this exciting match. Congratulations to both sides.

 

  • Final Score. Havant 35 Cobham 35.

 

Cobham need your wholehearted support at Fairmile Lane next Saturday. Be there!

 

Squad.

 

Dan Walsh

Matt Cornish

Luke Charlton

Joe Goddard

Joe McVey

Richard Trepant

Rob Flemming

Alex Stout

Christian Disley-May

Sam Watkinson

Max MacDonald

Arran Cowell

Pierre Soucasse

Harry Mobbs

Jean Louis Gravier

Josh Brown

Dave Baker

Dave Flower

 

Report - Dick Blackman