- Cobham dominate to take Shield trophy
- Nine different try-scorers help them to 66-0 victory
Cobham eased to the National U17 Shield title following a dominant 66-0 triumph over Barkers Butts at the home of Sale Sharks, the AJ Bell Stadium.
Tries from Tom Eelman, Henry Mason, Charlie Spawforth, Tom Prigmore and Joe Jelinek eased the Surrey team into a comfortable 33-0 lead at the interval.
Barkers failed to stem the tide in the second half and further touchdowns from Will Stephen, Alec O’Connor (twice), Jacob Turley and Alex Taylor rubberstamped the win.
The Surrey-based outfit have dominated the Shield competition this season, racking up impressive victories over Beccehamian, Thurrock and Swanage & Wareham along the way to the final.
In contrast, Barkers’ wins have been nervous affairs, overcoming their previous two opponents both by the same scoreline, 13-12. It therefore appeared a difficult task on paper and so it transpired.
Cobham controlled every area of the game and comfortably broke down a rearguard which had been the Midlands side’s best facet leading into the showpiece event.
Eelman opened the scoring with a superb score before his forward colleagues displayed their expertise in the tight exchanges.
A driving maul sent Barkers into reverse gear and Mason touched down, which Taylor Burnett converted for his second of eight successful kicks.
That moved Cobham 14-0 ahead and it soon got worse for Barkers when Spawforth produced a piece of individual magic, matching Eelman’s effort for its sheer audacity.
A further try from Prigmore made it 26-0 and then a wonderfully worked team score, which once again involved their openside flanker, gave them a comfortable buffer at the break.
The one-way traffic continued in the second period with Stephen and O’Connor – the second after a superb Burnett run and pass – going across the line.
Then came the try of the encounter as the ball went through a number of pairs of hands before it landed in the arms of Turley at the bottom of a ruck. All the scrum-half had to do was evade the final defender and touch down to take them past the 50 mark.
Barkers attempted to get something from the game in the latter stages but Taylor and O’Connor went over to complete the rout.
INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE SETS COBHAM ON THEIR WAY
Eelman was excellent throughout, causing their Coventry opponents a number of problems by linking play and carrying hard.
It was his superb individual try which opened the floodgates as the flanker picked up the ball, weaved his way past several would-be tacklers and powered across the whitewash.
Spawforth followed suit using wonderful footwork, balance and pace to touch down and, even at that point, put the result beyond doubt.
FORWARD POWER MATCHES BACKS’ EXCELLENCE
Although they scored some excellent tries, Cobham controlled the battle of the packs. Whether it was the scrum, lineout or particularly the breakdown, they were in the ascendency.
The locks, Jamie Yates and Tom Prigmore, were especially difficult to shift over the ball and it allowed them to relieve any potential pressure and counter-attack at will.