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Sat 12th Oct – Cobham 3XV Vs. London Irish Amature Nomads 4XV

Cobham 3XV Vs. London Irish Amature Nomads 4XV Third league match of the 2013/2014 season, played at London Irish RFC. Score London Irish 37 Cobham 7

Looking for our first win of the season Cobham 3XV travelled to London Irish. Things didn’t begin well and after taking account of illnesses, injuries and prior commitments we only had a scratch squad of 15. That we were even able to turn out fifteen was testament to the persuasive power of Chris Melton and the length of his contact list. As so often the Vets provided some willing bodies and valuable experience. At the other end of the age spectrum Sam Smith from the U19s and Ryan McQuade days after his 17th birthday answered the call.

Things were further compounded when David Price turned his ankle moments before kickoff, with little choice but to play through the pain  he took to the field with the rest of the team.

A slow start from Cobham saw Irish score in the corner. This however proved a wakeup call and Cobham enjoyed a good period of possession and territory thanks to some early dominance in the scrum. This dominance was largely due to two factors, the grunt in the second row provided by Tim Davey and Richie Marshal combined with Spratty doing what Spratty does best.

Unfortunately this period of pressure didn’t yield any points and a breakaway saw Irish score out wide again. The game then stagnated into a bit of an arm wrestle with neither team able to impose themselves on the other. Despite some enterprising play from our backs orchestrated by young Ryan McQuade both defences clearly had the upper hand. This was characterised by the textbook tackling of both wingers David Price and Tom Royle, unfortunately this took its toll and after struggling on Tom soon had to leave the pitch unable to carry on. As we didn’t have any subs Irish sportingly dropped a man. Given that we had looked most vulnerable out wide we elected to move James Carter from the pack out to the wing, never the sort of switch a forward wants to make.

Just as the half was drawing to a close we cleared a ball into touch from deep in our 22. Irish cheekily took a quick throw with a different ball and we were caught napping expecting the ref to call them back. He didn’t. They scored. The age old lesson of “play the whistle” obviously needed to be relearned.

The second half began exactly the same as the first with Irish running in another try. We then suffered another injury with Spratty having to leave the pitch. Irish were clearly pleased to see the back of him and didn’t elect to go down to 13 giving them a man advantage. Ironically it was the following period of play in which we converted some of the promise of earlier.

Picking from the base of the scrum Chris Dack made the hard yards as he had all game before releasing Phil Hunt. Phil moved the ball on and quick hands from Ryan found Pete Bartlett coming into the line from fullback. Pete rolled back the years to draw two defenders and give James Carter a few inches of space to accelerate down the wing. As the cover defence came across a delicate chip sat up on the tryline and was seized upon by the ever present Phil Hunt for the score.

However it didn’t take long for the extra man to take its toll and Irish were now making too many linebreaks. We still made good yards with the ball in hand, particularly from the elusive running of Sam Smith but where we didn’t capitalise on these breaks Irish were able to make the most of theirs and ran in a few more tries.

Thanks to everyone who pitched up at short notice but a particular mention must go to Ryan McQuade who had an outstanding performance in his first senior game.

Cobham Squad:

15 Peter Bartlett

14 Tom Royle

13 Matt Sanderson

12 Sam Smith

11 David Price

10 Ryan McQuade (17 y/o 10)

9 Phil Hunt

1 Chris Melton

2 Ian Snead

3 Richard Spratt

4 Tim Davey

5 Richard Marshall

6 Andy Taylor

7 James Carter

8 Chris Dack


Match Report: Andy Taylor