Combe victory as stout defence blunts Cobham
By Mark Ley
Cobham RFC 10-24 Westcombe Park RFC
A Lewis Harte double and one try each from back rowers Charlie
O'Sullivan and Ryan Hackett gave Combe their second win on the road and
a bonus point to boot. The weather was pretty grim and it was no
surprise that defence would be key on a day when the ball squirted
about. Combe stood up manfully to the task spending long periods on the
back foot but winning turnovers at crucial junctures.
The home side started strongly but any advance was halted with the first
of those turnovers, this one executed by prop James McKeown. With 10
minutes on the clock Ryan Hackett made the most of an earlier appearance
than he would have anticipated with a crunching tackle which freed up
the ball. It was then swiftly picked up by captain O'Sullivan who
galloped in for the score which Matt Harrison converted.
Cobham came back hard and strong Combe defence kept them out at one
point needing to hold the attack up over the try line. Combe scrummaging
was tested hard after a re-jig necessitated by a nasty injury to Tom
Simmons who needed a hospital trip to check the extent of rib damage.
Pressure was finally relieved via a second vital turnover, this time by
the backs getting in on the act with Cassius Deschamps and Matt Harrison
doubling up to secure possession.
The game was a dour affair due to a swirling wind coupled with driving
rain. Scoring opportunities were scant and, when Combe hands were
spotted in a ruck, Cobham got on the scoreboard with a calmly kicked
penalty and the half ended Combe 7-3 in the lead.
Four minutes into the second half Combe extended their lead. O'Sullivan
made another run which gobbled up the metres. Combe managed to first
re-set their support runners, recycle the ball and then launch Lewis Harte to
run in under the posts. Harrison made no mistake with the extra points.
14-3 to Combe.
That lead was increased when the energetic Hackett charged down a Cobham
clearing kick, then stooped to pick up and cross at the right corner.
Cobham came back hard and again Combe defensive mettle was severely
tested. The home team went through multiple phases in the opposition 22
which WPRFC held out through fair and not so fair means. Ultimately from
a lineout Cobham constructed an effective rolling maul which managed to
outmanoeuvre the defence for a converted try. Cobham 10-19 WPRFC.
Cobham sniffed more than a bonus point but were over enthusiastic in
trying to regain possession and saw a harshish yellow card for a
technical offence in midfield when earlier misdemeanours might have been
more deserving of a sanction. Combe snuffed out any chance of a Cobham
revival as the match entered its closing phases. Replacement James
Cameron kicked astutely and prop McKeown snaffled the ball, showed an
impressive turn of pace this late on in the game to make a substantial
territorial gain. Harte was in support to score on the left to leave
Combe bonus point winners 24-10.
An excellent win for the Goddington Dene side, showing an ability to
tough it out then conditions are not ideal for running Rugby. They now
move to 4th in the table and will face local rivals Sevenoaks in a
couple of weeks at home.
Westcombe Park RFC: McKeown, Onwuka, Simmons T, Novell, Pass, Pitchford,
Milligan, O'Sullivan, Smith, Harrison, Harte, Hitchcock, Deschamps,
Repacements: Fernandez, Hackett, Cameron
Match Report: John Vallely