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Maidstone

Below par performance, but still a good win...

London League Two South

Saturday 4th October

Maidstone 6 - Cobham 22

Following last week’s strong performance against Tunbridge Wells, Cobham were initially looking forward to a potential try-fest away at Maidstone on Saturday. The hosts, Maidstone have suffered two huge losses in their early outings, conceding 85 points to Dorking and 111 to Chobham, and despite a much improved performance against Thanet last week, form would have suggested this encounter would be comfortable run out for Cobham, before more testing tasks ahead.

However, a series of injuries and unavailibilities left Cobham with 3 changes in the forwards and a completely new back line, with only one additional positional switch; last week’s full-back Cowell having a run out at centre. With such a raft of changes, it was therefore perhaps less of a surprise that Cobham found it difficult to replicate their form from last week.

Cobham hit the floor running when Maidstone winger Sullivan failed to deal with a speculative kick through which Cobham quickly recycled for fly-half Crankshaw to run in after only three minutes of play, which Cowell failed to convert. 

Despite forward domination, Cobham found it difficult to develop any rhythm; making too many mistakes and finding Maidstone’s willingness to give away penalties whilst disrupting Cobham’s possession hard to deal with. Eventually, the referee had to deal with this spoiling tactic himself, dispatching centre Bacon to the sin bin on 30 minutes; with Cobham rifling the resultant penalty through the posts for an 8 point lead.. A man down, Maidstone were always going to struggle to keep Cobham out, and despite getting on the scoreboard with a penalty goal, just before half time the versatile Alex Cook, this week wearing the hookers jersey, crossed, Cowell adding the conversion, for a 15 – 3 half time lead.

When skipper and No. 8 Jack Davison then added a further converted try three minutes into the second half, many would have thought the rout was about to start; however, to their credit Maidstone never gave up, and Cobham failed to exercise the control and creativity necessary to add to the score. Despite playing the majority of the second half in Maidstone’s part of the field; Maidstone added the only further score and the game bumbled on to a close at 22 – 6.

Given the wholesale changes, Cobham will be pleased just to have secured the result; a win, after all, is still a win; and playing below potential and still winning away from home is without doubt better than dropping valuable points. After three wins from their first four matches, Cobham now lay a close fourth in the table behind Dorking, Chobham and Basingstoke; all of whom have yet to meet each other.

Next week Cobham entertain fellow League two new boys, Dover, at Fairmile lane; and will be looking no doubt for a much improved performance after this ultimately disappointing display.