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U21s Win 2015 Surrey Cup

Cobham retain trophy after 24-21 victory over Richmond...

Current Surrey U.21 Cup holders Cobham, travelled to Farnham on Easter Monday to take on Richmond, their most frequent final opponent. 

The young Cobham charges approached the game battle hardened following 5 solid performances to reach their 3rd final in 4 years. In contrast, Richmond overcame Reeds on Thursday evening and may have felt underdone approaching what looked set to be another dynamic final.

The game commenced in glorious spring sunshine at a furious pace. Cobham, playing into a stiff breeze, found themselves on the wrong end of the pitch in the early exchanges. Richmond’s sizeable and abrasive pack making ball retention and tight yards hard to come by. Despite this Cobham’s pacey backs looked threatening during the early exchanges.
The deadlock was broken by Richmond who took 3 points from a well struck penalty. This was followed shortly by a well worked try giving the black, red and golds a fair 8 point lead after 20 minutes.

Despite making punchy line breaks, Cobham were struggling to build phases and repeatedly found themselves on the wrong end of the referee’s whistle far too often at the breakdown. Without the required continuity to set their backs free, Richmond started to gain set piece success. This led to a further penalty 10 minutes before the break. Cobham 0-11 Richmond. This seemed to spark the young Cobham side and after strong running from Yannis Loizis and his pacey back 3, Cobham camped in the Richmond 22. On the stroke of half time following combative drives from the pack Lawrence Couling smashed over to put Cobham deservedly on the board. Cobham 5-11 Richmond.

Going into the sheds at halftime Cobham would have been content with the score line. The half time brief would surely be to use the wind and territory to their advantage in the next 40 minutes. 

It seemed coach Robbie Kennard’s halftime words had been heeded as fly half Oli Weir and scrum half George Taylor began to move the Cobham forwards into strong positions. As Richmond’s heavy pack began to fade, Cobham’s backs started to create space...Speedy wing Alex Aves was first to prosper from broken field and scored out wide 10 minutes into the half. The tide seemed to be turning Cobham's way. A second try followed shortly as Yiannis Loizias touched down under the posts following the quick ruck ball Cobham had been denied in the first stanza. Cobham 17- Richmond 11. 

Following this score many would have thought Cobham would go on to close this frenetic contest out. It seemed a further score would see the flagging Richmond side broken. In contrast, Richmond cracked off the shackles and put together their best phases of the game. This culminated firstly in a penalty kick and then shortly afterwards a try, following a series of line breaks and sharp hands. Game on. Cobham 17-21. 

With 4 points separating the teams with 10 minutes to go, the crowd sensed the cup was in the balance. Cobham would need to stay controlled and focus and Richmond needed to keep the game tight. 

Showing maturity and control, captain Hutton steeled his men and through Weir’s boot, Cobham pinned Richmond back into their 22. Pressure led to penalties but with Richmond's strong defensive lineout disrupting ball, Cobham chose to tap and go. After 2 penalties Richmond were reduced to 14 for not releasing. Cobham continued to roll the dice and after a further tap and a cool pass, the Richmond dam was broken as the excellent Rory Anderson crossed to score.  

24-21 to Cobham with five minutes to go. In keeping with the previous 75 minutes this proved as fast paced and electric as ever. As the crowd counted down and the referee gave the nod, Weir launched the ball towards the Farnham balcony. This sparked cheers from the large Cobham crowd and elation and relief from the players and staff.

U21s April 2015 

Once again, this final showcased the very best of Surrey's young talented players. Both clubs should be hugely proud of their sides. For the second season running, Cobham U.21’s were crowned Surrey Champions. Huge credit must go to Chris Melton, Robbie Kennard, Dan Walsh, Ed Knights, Chris Gibbons and Dave Silver for coaching and managing the side throughout the season.