Although the result reads a little top heavy, the game was evenly balanced for the most part – the opposition only pulling away with two late converted tries to give a more flattering scoreline than was merited. It was, though, the Green and Blues who had the last word with Lucas Stevens and Toby Brann running from deep within our own 22 to give Patch White a mere 80 metres to sprint, outstripping the attempted cover for his second run in of the afternoon: not a bad return for his first match of the season…what a score!
Early onslaught by the Cobham pack was mopped up, but a try was inevitable, and the home side took the lead on 15 minutes. This was in the wake of a nasty head injury that saw Olly Guy have to leave the field – Niall Graham, a very experienced replacement, perhaps not anticipating having quite so many minutes playing time.
Further injuries [Elliot Anderson and Adi Chougle] could have disrupted the balance of the side, but a turnover led to some great interplay out of defence [Joe Wills featuring prominently], and suddenly ORs were causing mayhem through Cobham’s retreating defenders. More pressure, and Adi’s return, saw Andy Green take a quick tap penalty and score a deserved try – Lucas duly converted.
The home side quickly responded to retake the lead, but further strong work by both our backs and forwards gave Patch a thin corridor to beat his man and touch down. Another successful conversion gave us a narrow lead [12-14]. Again, Cobham upped their game, scoring to take a half time lead [17 – 14].
The second period commenced with quality passages of play in the opponents 22, showing that ORs were still in the hunt [strong running from Aaron Courtney Waker and Niall amongst others], but Cobham worked to move defence into attack, eventually creating an overlap and touching down in the corner.
From the restart, Reigatians regained possession, and after several individual breaks and good link play from Jacob Coole-Healey and Ed Cox the ball found its way to Rob Cheal, who ran in from just inside the Cobham half to score near the posts. The conversion brought us back to within one point [22 – 21].
With most of the bench having been used early in the game, we began to show fatigue, which led to further Cobham scores, although we remained competitive and, of course, ended the game with that try!
Overall, this was a really gutsy and high-quality performance, with all showing huge commitment to the team and stepping up to take responsibility for individual roles, both going forward and in defence [‘Not bad for a music teacher!’ quote of the day from the Coach as Alex Leadbetter crashed a Cobham attack]. The inclusion of Aaron, Andy and Niall, as well as a fine performance at hooker from the old warhorse, Si Reid [a special mention from the Coach Steve Pilgrim, as Si was due to only play half a game but showed true Green and Blue passion to complete the whole 80 minutes], helped to bring knowledge and experience, but the youth in the side also played their parts admirably, including Lewis Freeman, looking stronger in the tight, and Adam Mendoza, linking productively between forwards and backs.
A thank-you to debutant Jonathan Lloyd and Jayden Knights, who ran the line and looked after the water for the boys; a speedy recovery to the injured [Elliot, Adi and Olly].
To any aspiring writers – always proofread your work. Autocorrect imagined ’warhorse’ to ‘whorehouse’. ’A fine performance at hooker from the old whorehouse, Si Reid…’ takes on a somewhat different timbre to the original.