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Hove 16 Cobham 17

Report: Saturday December 6th 2014, London South 1

Cobham 1stXV finally achieved their first away win of the Season, seeing off Hove 17-16 . The boys have now won two in a row, proving that a week off wasn’t going to stop their momentum and moving them two places off the bottom of London South 1.

Hove’s ground is nicknamed ‘The Fortress’; which may be down to their sloping grounds to hinder any away teams attack, but it took just 12 minutes for Cobham to capitalise on a well worked set piece with a faultless backline  move. Proving practice really does make perfect centre Pierre Soucasse set up James McDonald to go over under the posts with a brilliantly timed run. Dave Flower converted making it 0-7 to Cobham.CRFC_061214_dsc01695

This first score raised morale and Cobham were making breaks here, there, and everywhere; with great support lines and attacking threat and a further score was only prevented by desperate defence from the home side.  However after 25 minutes it was Hove who used their possession wisely who slipped tackles down the right handed slope of the pitch and they dived in for the score in the corner. The conversion was missed. 5-7

This seemed to pump up the home side, and relentless pressure ensued. Cobham had been working on defensive line speed and organisation at training, and this showed as there seemed no way through. However, a fortunate line break forced Joe McVey to seemingly take man without ball leading to a yellow card, and penalty, calmly slotted over from just outside the 22. Hove 8-Cobham 7.

Losing the lead after starting so well and going a man down left Cobham looking flustered but the there were no further scores in the first half.  Half time, Hove 8-Cobham 7.

For the second half, Cobham had the advantage of playing down the slope.(hill)  but into a blinding sunset. Five minutes in Cobham were required to make a temporary substitution with try scorer Macdonald coming off, forcing scrum-half Harry Mobbs onto the wing, and replacement Jonny Mills into the halfback position.CRFC_061214_dsc01692

Hove now took advantage of a lucky break down the right, despite efforts of flankers Josh Brown and Dave Baker to hold up scored. The conversion was missed. Hove 13-Cobham 7

After this momentary lapse of concentration for Cobham, and they replied in great fashion. A late challenge from Hove on fullback Tom Gwynne, gave Cobham another chance to showcase a set piece. A well executed lineout move in the 22 left them guessing where the ball was and the chance for Dave Baker to crash it up through the centre of the pitch. As Hove tried to scramble a defence, Mobbs marshalled his forward pack and set up Joe McVey to make amends for his yellow card and go under the posts. With the conversion successful Cobham were back in it leading 13-14.

Hove and Cobham began a game of kick for territory, and when fielding a kick and looking to counter, wing Max Macdonald was pinged for not releasing the ball. This would be his last play of the match, as he was injured in contact, resulting in Jonny Mills coming back on to resume role at scrum half. Hove opted for the posts and from 35m out, slotted the penalty over. Hove back in front. 16-14.

Cobham then enjoyed spouts of pressure, and eventually forced Hove into ill discipline, coming in at the side of a ruck, and allowing Dave Flower to slot a penalty from 28m out. Hove 16- Cobham 17.

The slope of the hill and the physicality of the game began to take its toll and Hove were eventually caught offside. From 44m out Cobham went for posts, but the kick didn’t quite have the accuracy.CRFC_061214a_dsc01682

In the last 10 minutes, Hove threw everything at Cobham, trying to claw themselves a victory in front of their home crowd. The tackle count was huge, alongside the amount of turnovers, leaving spectators very edgy as it could go either way.

The tension wasn’t helped for the Cobham supporters when in the 75th minute prop Luke Charlton was red carded for an infringement and this gave Hove an ideal opportunity to achieve their objective. Thankfully, the ensuing penalty kick although straight, was just short, and allowed Cobham to clear their lines.  A late challenge on Tom Gwynne gave Cobham a penalty and a chance to play down in Hove’s half. Despite Hove being awarded a penalty for holding on Cobham’s defence held strong to the final whistle.

Securing their first away win will have given Cobham confidence in their final home match of the season against Havant this weekend

  • Final Score Hove 16 Cobham 17