News & Press

Old Reigatian RFC

Chobham 2nd XV v Old Reigatian 2nd XV (Friendly)

Chobham 2nd XV 33 v 34 Old Reigatian 2nd XV (Friendly)

As the half time whistle blew, thoughts turned to how the match report could read at all positively – lines such as ‘Some days the pigeon, but today the statue’, or the Latin phrase ‘O me miserum!’ [Woe is me!] sprang to mind.

At 28–5 down, and, for the most part, being outplayed by a robust and well drilled Chobham outfit, the only thing that could have added to the maelstrom would have been darkening skies and a heavy downpour. However, by the time the referee blew to signify the end of the game, sunshine had replaced the wintry elements, and a spring feel was very much in the air.

Our AXV are nothing if not full of character and this was displayed yet again as we chiselled out victory from the jaws of defeat to succeed by one point, leaving Reigatians of a nervous disposition gasping for breath and clutching at chests.

As at Rosslyn Park, within 10 minutes we were two scores adrift, with only odd moments of the Green and Blue personality on show [Ed Bartlett stealing Chobham ball, Nat Keynon hitting a big tackle, Adam Mendoza hunting down a runner and snuffing out an attack, Dan Westley profiling his typical bravery to tidy up loose ball].

After this usual start, it appeared that we were growing into the game when Elliot Anderson broke past three defenders and both Kern Bush Nelson and Lucas Stephens put in useful kicks, followed by an Adam line out gather and ground made by Rob Cheal, who was hauled down inches from the goal line. From this, quick and unselfish ball through the backs gave Alex Leadbetter a score out wide.

As the first forty minutes continued there were further moments of good OR play – Joe Jenner and Harry Smith making purposeful breaks, David Niven showing strength to burst through tackles and Harry Plowman making a nuisance of himself amongst the Chobham forwards, but it just did not feel as though we were firing on all cylinders, and it was no real surprise when the hosts’ pack battered our defence, scoring in the corner. A well-placed conversion made the score 21-5; the afternoon seemed to be slipping away from us.

The introduction of Dan Jones gave a much needed jolt, abrasive attack and defence, alongside his vast experience, showing the 1st XV quality, and other individual plays were effective [Dan W’s grubber to the corner, Elliot continuing his battering ram drives forward, Alex slowing a Chobham break with a courageous tackle], although Chobham increased their lead, having taken a quick line out, to go to the break 23 points clear; the task ahead was looking ominous.

Kern’s hanging restart led to a knock forward, giving possession back to Reigatians, and a sustained period of pressure offered Chris Chalder an opportunist try from an ‘interesting’ Nat pass [Chalder diving like a cricketer to catch and ground the ball all in one movement]. This seemed to stimulate a turning point in performance: a good break and kick through by Chris caused the full back to have to take the ball over his own line and then Jayden Knights [on for Alex] made a superb cover tackle to prevent a certain try. More swift handling [Lucas, Harry S amongst others] showed what this team can do. However, it was the home side who extended their lead – the heavy forwards trundling over from a stolen line out [33 – 10].

The ensuing kick-off put Chobham on the back foot [George Mitchell making a pressure tackle to stop progress], and, despite trying to break out, soon found themselves languishing in their own 22. Quick ball from our forwards gave Kern opportunity to make an individual break and touch down under the posts: a knife through butter. Lucas added the conversion to cut the deficit.

A long clearance kick from our danger area gave Chris a target to chase, their 15 must have been looking over his shoulder every time the ball came into his zone – Chalder duly tracked him down and bundled him into touch. More pressure from both forwards and backs [including a vigorous drive from Will Fry] allowed Dan W a small gap, which he exploited to burst through and score. This presented a chink of light, as the score difference narrowed to 11 points.

The Boys were now putting Chobham under constant pressure, and although they tried to hit back our defence and counter attacking was getting more convincing as each minute passed. Strong forward play [Lewis Freeman, Niv and Joe working hard] followed by clean movement and a beautiful pass from Lucas gave Harry S room and time to outstrip the defence and bring us closer to our opponent’s tally [33 – 27].

Our hosts were beginning to tire and, despite having a large number of substitutes, were making errors, which we capitalised on. Another penetrating kick saw us move deep into opposition territory. Good graft by Harry P secured ball and drove forward with the pack in support. A quick pass offered Rob a clear sight of the line. Working between two defenders, he swerved around the last man to score near the posts – Lucas converted, as the ref blew time, to give the unlikeliest of victories.

Another thrilling spectacle [‘We just love sunshine and mud!’ was Lewis’s summation] and the first victory over Chobham in some years, albeit that this was a friendly fixture. We now sit in fourth spot in our division and are mixing it with the league’s big boys. We have the top side [Farnham] visiting Park Lane in two weeks; it will need an 80-minute performance to be competitive in this fixture, so heads will need to be focused from the off – this self-motivation has to be each person’s own responsibility.

As previously mentioned, there is an AXV Jolly booked for 13 April. Tim has created a Spond link and more details [and a few missing names] will be added shortly. This is open to players, partners and those who have enjoyed being spectators of this exciting side…please spread the word!

More news from ORFFC
Scroll to Top