‘Combe overcome the conditions, and S & E
Westcombe Park 35-3 Sutton & Epsom
Conditions were awful: rain, mud, cold. A day for only the brave, foolhardy or committed, to include also the supporters who had answered the President’s call. They were rewarded. Combe put on a great performance mixing attack with stern defence, and holding onto skills in such testing conditions. The visitors, Sutton and Epsom, barely had a sniff and looked the shadow of the side who had won the first encounter of the season by a whisker. At the same time, Combe needed a win after last week’s showing in order to regain confidence and work their way away from the wrong end of the league table.
Combe had the better of the opening minutes. Cassius Deschamps
made ground after Combe’s scrum had won on S & E’s put-in, Jordan Saunders
was close, and Sammy Sema closer still. Dan Hamilton
had a run. Will Robinson was pegging the visitors back. S & E eventually put some possession together and made a brief foray into Combe territory but direct and effective Combe tackling from far out meant the visitors could make little headway. Combe were pinching line-outs and getting the shunt on at scrum time. That’s the first quarter. A Combe penalty outside the visitors’ twenty-two, quick thinking and jinking, Dan Hamilton
was through and over by the posts for a converted try. The re-start. Tom Christopher
and James Lindfield
break clear, Scott Pursell is on hand and has the gas to beat the back-tracking visitors for a second converted try for Combe. 14-0 within a matter of minutes. S & E do get on the scoreboard with a penalty from Jacob Knight, but are soon back on their own try line as Combe mount a series of short range attacks, then go wider with darts from Cassius Deschamps
, Dan Hamilton
and Sammy Sema. S & E are holding out, until into injury time Combe spin the ball left, quickly, allowing Sammy Sema to beat the defence and score on debut. Another conversion for James Cameron
. Combe ahead at half-time 21-3. Very satisfactory in the circumstances.
It’s still raining for the second half. There is not a dry seat in the stand. The crowd is enjoying it. Combe come back with a change and clean strip – not for long. The persistent rain has turned the pitch into a mud bath which will sap the strength of the players and test their fitness. Cold hands mean mistakes on both sides. It’s all a bit scrappy. The visitors enjoy a brief period pressing the Combe line, but otherwise with limited possession they are again confined mostly to their own half. Will Robinson and James Cameron
with their positional kicking are making sure of that. Last quarter. Dan Hamilton
on an arcing run, follow up, ball goes left to the corner, skipper Joe Bonner is short of the line but from the ensuing maul it is Jordan Saunders
who forces his way over for Combe’s bonus point fourth try. Of course it is converted. 28-3. Last ten minutes or so. The crowd are staying to the end. There is time for Sammy Sema to make a break up the wing and for S & E’s winger to do the same but with neither run turning to points. Jamie Forsyth
pinched a line-out and with a delicate off-load found Will Robinson to kick to the corner. S & E back-track at the scrum, so with another scrum and with Combe’s put-in, it is a straightforward No. 8 pick- up and over for Charlie O’Sullivan. James Cameron
is not missing his conversions. 35-3, final whistle.
Combe did well in atrocious conditions, and a bonus point as well. There are still plenty of tough games to come but Combe proved to themselves they know how to win and can win, and enjoy doing so. Next week they are away at Guildford. The next home game is February 3rd when Tunbridge Wells visit, kick-off 2.00pm. There is a supporters’ lunch beforehand. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Westcombe Park XV : W. Robinson; D. Hamilton, C. Deschamps, S. Pursell, S. Sema; J. Cameron, M. Zanirato; J. Saunders, J. Bonner, J. Forsyth, T. Christopher, T. Clarke, J. Lindfield, T. Sullivan, C. O’Sullivan.
Bench: N. Porter, L. Delderfield, E. Durkin.
Match reporter - Bruce Mackenzie.