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Cobham win Boxing Day Match

The Ebenezer Cup is Cobham's

Old Tiffinians 12 Cobham 33

This traditional Boxing Day fixture had been resurrected after a gap of many years, so many in fact that no one was quite sure, however the last entry on the Ebenezer Cup was 1999 when Chris Melton, Billy Davison, Spencer Franks and Martin Green would have been in their prime. Rolling back the years they joined a Cobham team comprising members across the Senior and Youth sections for this game played at Old Tiffinians’ ground. The weather conditions had calmed but the pitch showed evidence of the recent storms with puddles and the odd pond, so no one was in any doubt that if any of the backs started as 'pretty boys' that wouldn’t be the description by the end of the match.

The match kicked off a little later than scheduled to give the senior members of the squad a good opportunity to warm, up but the muddy conditions and wind proved to the main opponent in the first half as both sides sought that ever important first score. Cobham had the territorial advantage for the first 25 minutes but cold hands conspired to prevent them from using that to their advantage. Full back Owen Ashton demonstrated how treacherous it was underfoot when he caught (well it hit his head) the ball lying literally on his back.

The large contingent of supporters from both sides were looking for some ‘champagne’ rugby to round off the Xmas festivities but they would have to wait a little longer for that, so there were instead some 'Cava' moments from young Josh Brown as he steamrollered through the opposition, running down the sidelines to put Cobham on the 'virtual' score board 0-5.

Old Tiffs had put out a strong side for this game reinforced by a number of substitutes and they had some opportunities to run through Cobham and it needed the wiles of Billy and Jack Davison to prevent them drawing level. Indeed it was a run from Billy Davison that ultimately set up a Cobham drive over the line for Captain Callum Stott to emerge with the ball as Cobham doubled their lead to 0-10, Smedley converting to 0-12.

The traditional half time oranges were to have been replaced with Jaffa cakes but manager Tommie Schofield had his thoughts elsewhere as he prepared to be launched into the fray. That substitution didn’t happen straightaway instead young Christian Disley-May ( age 17) replaced his coach Spencer Franks at scrum half to significantly reduce the average age of the team down and  immediately  made his mark. As he came off Spencer, who was not to know he would be given another chance later on, was heard to rue an opportunity he felt had gone begging with the very honest assessment 'If I was quick I would have been in'.

Instead the next score went to Old Tiffs as stalwart wing James Fentiman poached his 268th try for the Club, which was well converted to bring the score closer at 7-12.  Although the conditions underfoot had deteriorated, the players were adapting and the handling improved and with Frosty ( The Snowman) coming on as substitute he surprised the opposition and probably himself with a searing run to extend the lead to 7-17, and with winger Nick Whiteford completing a well worked backline move to score in the corner, Smedley converting, both tries occurring suddenly, the score line was 7-26 and all looked to be over. However  Old Tiffs centre Kapilan Balasubramanium or 'Kaps', as everyone likes to call him, finally hit his winger target and McNicholas dived over the line. Dived was the appropriate word as the Cobham try line was within a lake that had now formed (12-26).

With fly half Robbie Kennard coming off, Spencer Franks got his second opportunity to impress, this time as fly half to his youth protégé Disley-May. Although there was a 26 year age difference between them, they linked up well. It was also felt the right time to introduce Schofield onto the wing and with no fresh shirt available he keenly took on Campbell-Smiths shirt, the same Campbell-Smith who had washed himself in one of the ponds!

There was a fleeting moment where we thought Schofield would score but instead the final try went to Josh Brown who made another of his driving runs, resulting in a try under the posts. With the clock running down Captain Stott gave the ball to Schofield for the conversion. A hush from the supporters soon turned to cheers as Schofield sailed the ball between the posts for a final score of 12-33 and the Ref blew the final whistle.

After three cheers for a match played in exactly the sort of spirit it required, the Ebenezer Cup was presented to Cobham and there must be no doubt that this match will now be back on both Clubs’ fixture lists.

Team: Melton, Stott (Captain), Mayer, Smyth, Davison (B), Green, Brown, Davison (J), Franks, Kennard, Campbell-Smith, Smedley, McQuade, Whiteford, Ashton

Subs: Disley-May, Frost, Schofield

Tries :-  Brown (2) Stott, Frost ,Whiteford.  Conversions:- Smedley ( 3)  Schofield (1)

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