Farnham snatch victory from jaws of defeat
To keep the cup dream alive
After the disappointment last week losing in the final play to Twickenham, this week, in what was almost a carbon copy finish to last week, Farnham found themselves on the right side of the scoreline after a quite extraordinary comeback to defeat Gosport & Fareham in the Intermediate Cup 31-29.
It was only a month ago that Farnham were last visiting Gosport in the league. Whilst Storm Brian dominated that day, the grey blustery weather greeting the teams still had plenty of say in the final outcome. Farnham, with a whole reel of changes due to a lengthy injury list, played some terrific rugby, encouragingly with no less than 4 debutants and 2 others making their first appearances of the season.
Gosport with their influential number 8 and captain starring, had the wind and slope in their favour in the first half and started the brighter of the two teams. They secured an early penalty after a Farnham error, however straight from the kick off, the Farnham backs spread the ball wide and Connor Rumpson went over in the corner with the conversion missed.
Another Farnham mistake led to another penalty for Gosport. Having a lot of the possession and territory, mistakes frequently crept into the game for Farnham who could not take advantage of the lengthy periods they spent in the Gosport half. A yellow card for Gareth Yeomans for a deliberate infringement after a quick tap, and Farnham were starting to get frustrated. After another penalty, Gosport then scored a well-worked try to move further ahead. Farnham retaliated with a penalty try off a maul – an area Farnham dominated for much of the game, but suffered when a costly pass inside their own 22 led to an intercept try for Gosport. The half time score – 19-12.
With the wind now behind them, Farnham knew they had a good chance of overturning this deficit. They started the second half brightly, but could not capitalise on the numerous chances they were creating. Time after time Gosport escaped before they themselves started to turn the screw midway through the half and scoring another well worked try in the corner to go 24-12 up. From there, the game went back and forth with neither team finding the finishing quality the game needed.
Another Farnham driving maul engineered by Ben Adams gave them hope, but Gosport may have thought they had the game won when a few minutes later they scored in the corner to make the score 29-17 with about 15 minutes to go.
Captain Andy Naisbitt rallied the troops to go for it– it was a knockout competition after all and Farnham were spurred into action. Their finishing, that had let them down all game, then started to be capitalised upon.
A charge down the wing by David Hurley was deemed to be held up by the ref. The scrum followed and a solid platform allowed the ball to be given to stand-in fly half Mike Salmon to barrel over. 29-24 with only a handful of minutes to go. The comeback was on. The momentum was all with Farnham now and with a penalty in front of the posts, a kick for touch was the decision taken. From there, another well worked driving maul marshaled by the excellent Adams and Farnham were over with that man Peter Daly scoring again. With the blustery wind on his back, Mike Salmon kicked a superb conversion to put Farnham ahead 31-29 with 4 minutes to go.
With the game suddenly turned on it’s head, Gosport were stung back into life and pressured Farnham heavily. With the last play, they won a penalty in the Farnham 22 but bizarrely decided to go for touch instead of the expected kick to win it. Perhaps the wind played a factor in the decision. Their fly half - mostly excellent with the boot all day did not give the kick enough and landed straight in the arms of the welcoming visiting full back Ben Jones. A quick ruck and Farnham clear their lines to the tune of the final whistle. A great result for Farnham as they are well on the road in the hopes of another return to Twickenham! Next week Farnham travel to KCS Old Boys in a crunch league encounter.
Ben Adams 3
James Corlett 2
Mike Salmon 1