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Cobham 15 Basingstoke 6

Win for 1sts on November 1st 2008

London League Two South Rugby

In truly vile conditions, with constant rain throughout the match, a bitingly cold wind, and a wet and slippery pitch, this eagerly anticipated clash between second placed Basingstoke and third placed Cobham was eventually won by the home side – with a try by 2nd row Ben Pickett right on the final whistle finally sealing the win.

 

Cobham kicked off the game with the wind behind them, and immediately tore into the Basingstoke defence. Prolonged early pressure saw Basingstoke struggling against the larger Cobham pack, and given the conditions, Cobham’s ambition with ball in hand was to be admired. Teenage tyro Ross Jones-Davies at fly half had another excellent afternoon, ably serviced from scrum half by the ageless Franks, and supported on the outside by the experienced David McCallum.

 

McCallum opened the scoring after fifteen minutes when taking a good running line off some slick Cobham handling, he crashed through the Basingstoke defence to touch down under the posts, converted by Jones-Davies. A penalty from Jones-Davies right on the stroke of half time, which just about struggled over the crossbar, saw the half time whistle with the home side protecting a crucial 10 – 0 lead.

 

With the wind behind Basingstoke in the second half, it was Cobham’s turn to display resolute defence in the face of some determined running by the visitors. An early penalty from fly-half Morris narrowed the gap to seven points almost from the kick-off, and only some determined tackling from the Cobham back row of Johnson, Davison and Hahn, and similar good work from the centres McCallum and Cowell kept the try line clear. A second penalty on 60 minutes saw the gap narrowed to four points, and as the half unfolded it became clear just how important the Jones-Davies which had limped its weary way over the bar just before half time would be.

 

Twice, facing a four point deficit, and with time running out, Basingstoke elected to kick to touch instead of going for goal; and twice Cobham’s defence of their line held firm under pressure. Finally, with the clock running out, Cobham broke up field and for the last few minute encamped on the Basingstoke line. Prop Alexander was held up over the line, hooker Bennett, too was unlucky not to drive over as the Cobham forwards threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Basingstoke line. Referee Ms. Ttofa, who deserves credit for her handling of a game in extremely difficult conditions, indicated the last play of the game, Cobham drove for the line one last time off the scrum, and as a mass of forwards collapsed over the line in a muddy heap, second row Pickett emerged from the bottom of the pile, ball in hand and smiling; Jones-Davies’ final conversion attempt falling short from the touchline.

 

All in all this was an absorbing game between two well matched sides. It was a game of few chances – perhaps no more than three real try-scoring chances a-piece – partly due to the weather, but also due to two miserly and determined defences. In the end, Cobham came out winners having taken two of their scant opportunities, whereas Basingstoke were ultimately unable to put their chances away; one would expect, however, that they will yet have some considerable influence on the placings towards the top of the table as the season progresses.

 

Next week Cobham visit Beckenham, before taking on league leaders Dorking the week after, at Fairmile Lane.