CHOBHAM RFC will be hoping to pull rank on bank holiday Monday (1 May ’17) when they take on Battersea Ironsides in the final of the FM Incentive Surrey Trophy at Esher RFC, writes Andy Fitzsimons.
After a convincing 38-25 win against Camberley in the previous round, Chobham will be hoping to put their league form behind them in a bid to secure some much-needed silverware in their 50th year.
Chob player-coach Ryan Gregory is hoping to welcome back four players who were absent from home defeat against Gravesend last Saturday.
Fans’ favourite Ollie Smith looks set to return after pulling his hamstring a few weeks ago. Tom Riley, Ollie Wakefield and Dan Mays are also expected to be named in the squad.
Whilst Gregory has been disappointed with his side’s 10th place finish in the London 1 South this season, he believes that the club’s recent league form won’t have any bearing on the trophy final.
He said: “Playing in cup [trophy] competitions requires a different mindset; and although a number of our performances have been disjointed this season, I don’t believe that mindset will be an issue.
“We blew Camberley away; especially in the first half, to progress through to the final last month.
Camberley are a decent side; however, we imposed our style of play on them; something that they hadn’t experienced this season. We need to do the same against Battersea on Monday.
Despite playing two levels below Chobham in the London 3 South West, Gregory is not underestimating the task ahead after Ironsides’ beat Old Reigatian 15-8 to book their place in the final.
Although he can draw some comfort from the fact that Ironsides’ league campaign has, at best, been inconsistent with 11 wins and 11 defeats.
“Battersea have got a very good fly half and some good forwards, so I’m not underestimating the challenge,” confirmed Gregory, “but I believe that, if we play like I know how we can play, we’ll win the game.
“We’ve got the opportunity to finish the season in a positive way – to give something back to our fans who have been superb this season.
“We won the Surrey trophy four years ago – and the club wanted to win some silverware in its 50th year anniversary – so what better time to win it.”
To help focus and motivate this players, Gregory believes that the infamous words of former British and Irish Lions captain Paul O’Connell will help his players over the line.
“I was listening to Paul [O’Connell] the other day and he said: ‘you need to be the best on the things that require no talent’, which is right.
“We know what we’re good at, so we just need to be better than Battersea on the things that we’re not so good it,” confirmed the Chobham player-coach.
This year’s Surrey trophy final takes place at Esher RFC in Hersham (1 May), Surrey. 1pm kick-off.