Combe’s Christmas comes early
Sidcup 7-10 Westcombe Park
Combe enjoyed a well-deserved win away at local rivals Sidcup, reversing the result of the previous meeting at the beginning of the season, and ending the recent run of disappointing results. Some Christmas cheer for players, management and supporters alike. A late kick-off meant the game was under lights, yet under leaden skies it was dark and damp, cold and gloomy anyway.
Combe were still injury struck which meant some changes as well as some re-shuffling. The big difference this week was the much improved first-up tackling and the two-on-one tackling. Indeed the sound defence kept the Sidcup backs at bay and was the key to Combe’s success. At the same time Sidcup were equal to the task, so much so that the electronic scoreboard did not move until the last quarter. Combe in attack put the home side under pressure, who had to concede three kickable penalties in the first half. Unfortunately for Combe none went over, and the long wait for any points was extended. Sidcup’s line-out was not always working. Tom Christopher
pinched one and led a charge upfield. Ben Hennah back for his first game of the season had a couple of breaks, Will Robinson was kicking well for position, the scrum looked comfortable, and the Sidcup backs who could look lively were held. Bradley Bateup
was off injured so more re-shuffling, but no let-up in intensity or commitment. Half-time 0-0. All to play for.
The mood of the travelling support on the rails was positive. Combe were impressive. They had to endure a siege on their line at the re-start, and the home side missed their one penalty shot at goal. Gradually Combe were away from danger. Combe’s counter-rucking was also productive. Into the last quarter Thibaud Calohard
made for the corner, very quick ball and with the Sidcup defence back-pedalling Ben Hennah steamed through to score by the posts. James Cameron
converted. 0-7 to Combe. It’s still desperately close. A clean break up to Sidcup’s twenty-two by No. 8 Charlie O’Sullivan and additional thrusts brought a penalty for Combe as the home side came under more pressure. James Cameron
slotted it over, 0-10. This must be injury time. For once Sidcup’s full back broke clear and scored under the posts for a converted try, but for them time was running out, their one last attack was spilled. It was still close at the finish. Combe had to hold on, which they did, for a well-deserved win. So, back to the clubhouse for a swally.
It is now the Christmas and New Year break. We pick it up again at Combe on 6th January, when the Towcestrians visit.
Westcombe Park XV : B. Saffery; D. Hamilton, B. Bateup, B. Hennah, J. Potter; W. Robinson, J. Cameron; N. Porter, J. Bonner, J. Forsyth, T. Calohard, T. Christopher, T. Clarke, D. Fox, C. O’Sullivan.
Bench: J. Saunders, L. Jackson, L. Delderfield.
Match reporter - Bruce Mackenzie.