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Beckenham 7 Cobham 29

A quick search of the famous people born in Beckenham reveals an fascinating list: Kate Lawler - distinctly average and slightly curve-less Big Brother winner and ‘star’ of Celebrity Wrestling – apparently spent her formative years in the town, while two ‘famous’ musicians – Peter Frampton (a mulleted 70’s rocker who almost certainly has a place on Ben Pickett’s Tape Collection), and Carey Blyton (composer of Bananas in Pyjamas) also call this Kent town home.

Compared to the list of who was born there, the list of people who DIED in Beckenham is a veritable Who’s Who…W.G Grace anybody? Given the weather which greeted Cobham it was perhaps poetical that one of Beckenham Cemetary’s most auspicious inhabitants is no less a luminary than Thomas Crapper – Godfather of British plumbing and a man who invented such brilliantly named toilet-related devices as the floating ballcock (although he didn’t invent the modern toilet as is widely believed).

It was therefore fitting that the weather was crap and the rain p**sing it down in Kent. Some of Cobham’s players arrived in a particularly luxurious coach – others eschewed this to take the train, but all were agreed that a Viking Longboat might have been more appropriate given conditions and the mood of Cobham’s players. Given Dorking’s draw the previous week and the fact that they faced third-placed Basingstoke, Cobham were all too aware of what a win could conceivably mean for their league position. Beckenham came into the game struggling somewhat in terms of league position but on the back of a close game against a Gravesend team that had run Cobham ‘fairly close’ a few weeks earlier.

From the off Cobham were on the front foot, squaring off against what appeared to be a fairly young-looking Beckenham side. The sprightly Richard Nunn had stepped in for the bus-sized Gus Darroch-Warren but the Cobham pack had lost none of their impetus and soon had the Beckenham pack on the back foot. Matt Johnson – replacing Captain Band-Aid Jack Davison at No.8 was also conspicuous early on with some muscular running from the base of the scrum suggesting a gym ethic that will curry a lot of favour with new super-physio Dave Silver.

After concerted pressure in the Beckenham 22, Cobham got the first points on the scoreboard. Good work from the pack gave the Cobham three-quarters the opportunity to work the ball out wide, and some slick handling and a good line from Kevin Jarvis saw full-back Arran Cowell dot down from short range. Pre-pubescent fly-half Ross Jones-Davies then slotted home the conversion from wide out with a degree of ease that surely riled the Beckenham back-row into later (futile) attempts to ‘sort him out’.

Shortly afterwards, Matt Hahn was the beneficiary of continued good work from the pack when he barrelled over from short range following a catch and drive from the pack. Eyeing up a similar conversion to the first one, Ross Jones-Davies put on a blindfold and threw knives at his spinning female assistant to up the difficulty level while slotting the conversion to give Cobham a 14-0 lead.

Proving there is undeniable magic in his boots, the young fly-half then showed he can even cut his own teams’ defence to shreds. Spotting the opposition centre hurtling towards him Ross Jones-Davies inadvertently chipped the ball perfectly into the hands of the onrushing opponent who took the interception all the way to the Cobham line for an interception try very much against the run of play. A simple conversion left the scoreboard at 14-7 in Cobham’s favour with the visiting team perhaps surprised that their dominance had only translated into a 7 point lead.

By now the heavens had well and truly opened and conditions were difficult for all the players. Beckenham had the wind blowing in their faces which made clearing their lines particularly difficult, but the wind and rain made handling difficult. An infringement at the break-down from Beckenham gave Cobham three points through a Jones-Davies conversion and then shortly before half time the young fly-half scored out wide after Cobham’s married couple in the centres - Disco and Fish – had taken the time to stop berating each other and play some rugby. Cobham went into the break 22-7 up after Jones-Davies uncharacteristically missed a conversion attempt.

The second half failed to spark into life – playing with the wind Beckenham had more territory and ball to work with but Cobham’s defence held firm. Shortly after half time scrum-half JP O’Reilly replaced the ever-lively Spencer Franks, and it was the newly introduced scrum-half’s try that provided the final points of the game. Matt Johnson picked up from the base of a scrum at around midfield and drew the first defender before popping to JP. He sidestepped the first would-be tackler before throwing a number of thoroughly unconvincing dummies, all of which Beckenham defenders fell for. “Someone tackle him!” shouted Beckenham supporters. “For the love of God – someone tackle him!” shouted Cobham’s players, but the chirpy number 9 dived over the whitewash for a well-taken try.

The final score was 29-7 – perhaps a fair reflection of a fairly disjointed and scrappy game which Cobham nonetheless won comfortably. Leaving Beckenham and waving farewell to Thomas Crapper – Cobham’s players were flushed with satisfaction at a job well done, faeces beaming with pride and looking forward to taking the strain against Dorking next week.

For The Bromley Times' view on the match click here.