Cobham and Chobham have a long history of close fought encounters with last seasons matches reflecting a win for Cobham away 20-22 and Chobham responding with a win at the Memorial Grounds 17-19.
Both sides supporters were therefore expectant as the teams met for this local derby and as always there were not to be disappointed in a game where the lead changed six times and what feels like the inevitable two point differential between them was sustained.
Director of rugby Steve Pope had made six changes to the team from the previous week however eleven of the team had featured the last time the two teams had played.
It did not augur well for Cobham with the game hardly started for Chobham number 8 Ben Whale to storm down the touch line breaking tackles for the first score 5-0 but within minutes Cobham had responded when a well judged penalty kick to touch saw a line out success turn into a rolling maul for prop Ben Joyce to go over 5-5. Tom Farrelly wasn't able to convert from wide out.
Chobham were stung by the ease with which Cobham had drawn level and their retained possession and territory to grind Cobham down until winger Josh Levitt broke down the touch line once again to take the points 10-5.
The next twenty minutes saw the ball move from end to end as both sides attempted to rest control of the game and there were some crunching tackles from both sides but Cobham were stronger in the scrums and it was from a turnover scrum penalty and resulting line out that back row Jake McQuade drove over 10-10 and Farrelly added the extras 10-12
Chobham cheered on by their home supporters regained territory moved the ball down the line and winger Levitt scored his brace 15-12 but Cobham were not prepared to let the game slip away as the first half drew to a close and fly half Luke Flower provided winger Max Macdonald with an excellent flat pass into space to enable him to put down in the corner 15-17.
Cobham turned around looking to extend their led but instead the home side released Levitt once more to burst through the visitors defence and take the lead again 20-17 with the conversion adding two points 22-17.
Cobham secured three points from a penalty infringement 22-20 and looking sharper in the second half they came within inches of a crucial try as Macquade fed Mitchell only for him to be held up by Kiwi Ben Whale for a scrum five.
The visitors were not to be thwarted as they achieved another scrum turnover and substitute Theo Buffini scored against the posts 22-25 Farrelly adding the extras 22-27
With the clock running down Chobham increased the pressure forcing Rodman to infringe and be yellow carded and with just minutes to go the pressure told and Chobham ran in to the corner to take the scores level 27-27
Chobham fullback Harry Guy must have felt the responsibility on his shoulders as he shaped up to take the key kick of the game and to the delight of the home crowd it sailed the ball between the posts 29-27
And as if it wasn’t hard enough for just two points to differentiate the First XV the Second XV also had to endure a similar style defeat 31-29 as they also went down.
Director of rugby Steve Pope said after the games
1. Ben Joyce
3. Sam Matcham
Tries: Ben Joyce, Max MacDonald, Jake Macquade, Theo Buffini
Conversions: Farrelly (2)