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1sts Back on Track

That's more like it...

London Division 3 South West

Cobham 38 Winchester 0

After last week’s hiccough against Purley, this re-played league match against Winchester was a welcome early opportunity for Cobham to regain their early season form and re-establish a gap at the top of London League 3SW.

The original home fixture with Winchester was deemed to have been abandoned as a consequence of the visitors losing two prop forwards through injury in the first half; thus forcing the game to be played out with unopposed scrums, and although the result was an emphatic win for Cobham, the competition regulations did not permit the score to stand.

After heavy rain at the back end of last week it was a pleasure to see the Fairmile lane pitch is such good condition, and with very little breeze and a liberal dose of winter sun, it was an ideal afternoon for Cobham to get back to winning ways.

From the start, Cobham signalled their intention. Last week’s retreating scrum and non-functioning line-out were a distant memory. The return of Will Mealin at prop and Jack Davison at 8 added steel in both tight and loose play; and as the game progresses, Winchester’s scrum could not cope with the pressure, being driven off several of their own put in’s at the scrum. Even the departure of prop Darroch-Warren to the sin bin at the end of the first half did little to ease the pressure, with replacement Paul Mayer proving an able deputy. Matt Hahn enjoyed a highly productive afternoon in the lineout, and in the loose, the back row combination of Mills, Davison and Creed worked tirelessly to disrupt what little clean ball Winchester did enjoy.

However the major difference between the two sides was in the backs. Five well taken tries from the backs, three in the first half and two in the second, ensured a comfortable win for the home side. Man of the match Tim Green at inside centre contributed 18 points with a try, a penalty and five conversions and was a consistent threat throughout; the only black mark being a high tackle on the Winchester full back; which although accidental, was nonetheless perhaps fortunate not to result in a 10 minute rest from proceedings. Winger Ritchie Blackmore scored twice from long range, proving that there is no substitute for pace; full back Sutton and scrum half and Captain JP O’Reilly also crossing to complete the scoreline. Winger Blackmore could easily have scored two more in the first half, had full back Sutton, after two superb breaks from deep, not left the final pass too late.

There was also a very welcome return to the pitch for Spencer Franks as replacement scrum half late in the second half, after missing most of the season to date with a broken ankle.

Winchester, to their credit, never gave up trying; and the fact that they failed to record a score was testament to Cobham’s excellent defence, which was tested to the full during one long spell of pressure shortly before half time, and proved to be unyielding.

Cobham now have the return match next week at Winchester to look forward to, followed the week after by a local derby at home to Effingham. With the injury list which has plagued the last couple of months finally easing, Coach Bill Davison’s biggest problems could well be who to leave out; and if the form shown on Saturday can be replicated, the remainder of the league season should hopefully be just as successful.