After two stiff encounters in the two previous weeks Cobham came into this match looking for a win and maximum points and whilst they achieved those objectives they found- lets call it - an 'alternative' way to do so.
Back row Doug Rodman achieved his 150th cap for the first team joining Josh Brown in that record but Director of Rugby Steve Pope was still unable to put out the same side for consecutive weeks through lack of availability and injury.
Gravesend are having a hard season and although they have also only won three times they have the lowest total points in the league and the highest points differential so they had something to prove and as we shall see they probably achieved that.
It was Gravesend that got the first points on the board when Cobham infringed from early play 0-3 but once they got ball in hand the home side looked far sharper and in the first twenty five minutes went over three times. First Max MacDonald leaving the defence standing to run in for a try in the corner then keeping it in the family James MacDonald collected a cross kick from fly half Luke Flower to maintain the pressure and finally Ollie Fox charged down a clearance kick picked up from his boot straps and ran in . Tom Farrelly's usual accuracy with the boot eluded him so none of the tries were converted but at 15-3 Cobham had given themselves a great start.
Gravesend caught their breath and having gained territory they looked to use the crash ball to get across the line and they were only held up by Cobham's strong defence. When Cobham got back into the visitor's territory they used their strength in the scrum to turnover and provide scrum half Ryan Saunders with an opportunity to dive over for a bonus point try 20-3.
Gravesend then lost their prop to a yellow card infringement and taking advantage of the extra man Cobham converted a line out into a trademark truck and trailer and give Doug Rodman an opportunity to score on his special day. This time Farrelly converted so the first half ended with Cobham 27-3 ahead
Gravesend stayed on the pitch for the half time chat and it would be interesting to know what was said because what then followed was a wholly different performance from the visitors as they took the game to Cobham and denied them possession and territory.
In the first half Cobham had only incurred three penalties but as frustration mounted a series of infringements saw Cobham suffer four yellow cards from thirteen penalties. Firstly hooker Murphy followed by Fox, Porter and Matcham. Cobham were playing seven in the scrum and six in the back line at various stages of the half as they looked to withstand the onslaught that came from Gravesend. Inevitably even the strongest defence cannot withstand numbers and the visitors went over twice and converted to take the final score to 27-20 and a bonus point for Gravesend
So the game finished with both teams having halves they will be have been pleased with and those they would not want to repeat.
Director of Rugby Steve Pope said 'Very much a game of two halves, is an understatement!..
Onwards to the derby match at Chobham next week, that's the game we all really want to win.
8.Adrian Van Der Ploeg
18. Alex O'Connor
Tries:- M. MacDonald,J MacDonald,O Fox,R Saunders,D Rodman