Combe get the better of a free running London Cornish side
By Mark Ley
Westcombe Park RFC 52-26 London Cornish RFC
London Cornish brought an exciting brand of Rugby to Goddington Dene and
Combe responded in kind to give the crowd a 8 try spectacular. The
score line to some extent flatters the home side as Cornish had brought
themselves to within 3 points of Combe with the final quarter having
just started. Combe got a bit of a scare, but turned on the gas after
that and ran in 4 tries in a 14 minute period to bring a smile to the
faces of the home support.
Man of the match AD Foster set a marker from the kick off, crunching
into the first of a raft of tackles he made throughout the match.
Combe's scrum was looking strong and all the play was taking place in
the visitors' territory. Returning winger Lewis Harte also put down his
marker with a storming run on the left featuring three "Samoan
sidesteps". 9 minutes were on the clock when stand in stand off Charlie
Harding broke the gain line, recycled to Cassius Deschamps who put
Harte in at the corner. The conversion was chipped over by Deschamps.
A couple of minutes later the lead was extended via another Harding
break, continued by Saffrey and finished off by the prolific Dan
Hamilton. Captain O'Sullivan got in on the act with a pickup from the
base of a dominant Combe scrum, crossing the line virtually
unchallenged for a try converted by Deschamps to give Combe a 19 point
London Cornish had a fair degree of pace out in the backs and were
prepared to run the ball from deep. Good support lines also helped the
visitors gain a foothold in Combe territory. Combe could only stem the
pressure illegally and, although the first of three penalties was missed
by the visitors, they slotted the next two to narrow the gap.
Combe came back hard and, on the stroke of halftime, Hamilton showed
strength and sleight of foot to bounce and evade a series of attempted
tackles to score his second. Matt Harrison kicked a successful
Halftime: Westcombe Park RFC 26-7 London Cornish RFC
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw Combe revert to some of the
behaviour which had cost them dearly in the match against Thurrock.
Cornish started strongly and scored their first try close to the posts
after a period of pressure in the 22. They added a penalty on 50 minutes
when Combe saw yellow for an illegal clear out at the ruck. Harding
relieved the continuing stress on Combe with a good clearing kick and
Deschamps, along with Foster, were prominent in defence.
The gap narrowed further when Cornish drove over with Combe's maul
defence standing off. The kick was missed but on the 60 minute mark
Combe were yellow carded for a high tackle, the penalty kicked and the
gap down to three points.
The home team needed to get their focus back and a charge from Foster as
well as a yellow card for the visitors seemed to stabilise things. Combe
were also winning the breakdown and winning penalties. O'Sullivan scored
his second of the match from a pick up when Combe opted to take a scrum
when Cornish were penalised deep in the 22. Combe's lead was now 33-23
but Cornish kept fighting and won another penalty to narrow the gap.
Dan Hamilton then produced the run of the match gobbling up at least 50
metres before the ball was kept alive for flanker Milligan to score.
Combe were now pulling away from a tiring Cornish defence who had given
their all. Deschamps flicked the ball to Pohlen who fed Harte for his
second and then, with only a few minutes remaining, Harte turned
provider breaking the defence to feed Deschamps for the final try which
he converted himself.
An enjoyable win for the home support but, as ever, lessons to be
learned which Rob Lawrence and his coaching team will drill into the
team during the week. Westcombe Park are away to Chobham next week.
Travelling fans need to make sure they set their Satnavs correctly!
Eestcombe Park RFC: McKeown, Foster, Simmons, Pass, Delderfield, Pohlen,
Milligan, O'Sullivan, Harrison, Harding, Harte, Deschamps, Saffrey,
Replacements: Fernandez, Novell, Church-Mills
Man of the match: Foster
Report: John Vallely