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1st XV Cobham v Staines match report

Report of the Staines match on 21 December 2013


Cobham’s first half dominance sinks doughty Staines


Cobham 24  Staines 5


Cobham continued their run of good form with their third consecutive win, this time against bottom of the table Staines.  But it was a tough match, the poor weather conditions of horizontal driving rain and a soggy pitch made handling very difficult and the visitors raised their game to a level which belied their league status.  Cobham had the advantage of the wind in the first half, scoring four tries in all, two coming from hooker Richard Hutton who made an impressive debut.  The conditions worsened in the second half and despite having the wind at their backs and the majority of possession and territory Staines were unable to break down a resolute Cobham defence and no points were scored in an all-out battle for supremacy in the second half, Cobham’s excellent first half performance winning the day.

Cobham kicked off at the start of the match but immediately suffered a set-back when winger Max MacDonald was injured and had to leave the field.  Staines were penalised in their first attack of the game and Cobham used the wind to win a lineout deep in the Staines 22.  Alex Crane powered his way through the first line of defence and Richard Hutton provided good support finishing off the move with a try in the corner (5-0).  The adverse conditions were ostensibly in Cobham’s favour but the strong wind made any kicks ahead difficult to control and Cobham relied on keeping the ball in hand to make progress.  Initially there was little ground gained but when Staines attacked again they lost possession as the Cobham three-quarters closed them down quickly and Callum Williams seized on the loose ball,  sprinting 40 metres to touch down under the posts for Cobham’s second try, Tom Farrelly converting (12-0).  From the re-start Staines kicked deep for Richard Trepant to run back strongly and make inroads in the Staines defensive line, the ball was kicked ahead from the ensuing ruck and Richard Hutton followed up smartly, beating the cover defence to score his second try (17-0).  Cobham were now in control of the game and the backs were moving the ball well, Jean-Louis Gravier stretching the Staines cover defence with a fine run.  Charlie Rooke came close to scoring after chasing up a deft chip ahead, and from a lineout in the Staines 22 Doug Rodman’s strong charging run opened up a gap for Jamie Powell to carry on the move and run in under the posts for Cobham’s fourth try, ably converted by Tom Farrelly (24-0).  Staines to their credit were far from out of it and showed what they were capable of with a sustained attack on the Cobham line resulting in a  five metre scrum where the visitors scored an impressive pushover try just on the stroke of half time (24-5).

After the interval Staines had the benefit of the wind and although initially the visitors re-cycled the ball well in a series of well controlled phases they were unable to make any significant progress.  The weather then worsened and both sets of forwards found it more difficult to hold on to a slippery ball.  The game swung to and fro, Staines using the wind to force the Cobham defence to turn and the visitors came close to the Cobham line from a chip ahead, only good cover by Charlie Rooke preventing a score.  As the intensity of the wind and rain increased, both sides tried manfully to break down the opposition defence but without any success; there were line breaks but the cover defences were too alert to let them develop. With most of the play having taken place on or around the halfway line, the second half ended without any addition to the half time scores and Cobham ran out winners having won the battle of the first half.  With seven wins out of fourteen matches Cobham have now established a strong mid-table position in the league and given their current good form should do well in the new year.

Cobham: Nunn, Hutton, Mayer, Sears, Crane, Rodman, Fleming, Trepant, Kennard, Farrelly, MacDonald, Williams, Mortimer, Rooke, Gravier.    Subs: Elbourne, Powell, Walsh


Scores: Tries:-  Hutton (2), Williams (1), Powell (1);  Conversions :- Farrelly (2).