Farnham down Eagles by 53-0
The pace and support of the Farnham boys was superb throughout.
A chilly breeze greeted the teams and the spectators for this special local derby. Farnham versus Effingham and Leatherhead (the Eagles) is one of the town’s longest running local rivalries. Surrey pride is at stake.
At the pre-match lunch, the former CEO of London Wasps and a genuine rugby man, Effingham and Leatherhead Chairman David Armstrong praised his hosts for the day. “Farnham are looked on as the blueprint on how to run a local club”. High praise indeed. With these accolades ringing in the assembled crowd’s ears the teams took to a firm, dry pitch.
Farnham’s squad is stronger as each week goes by and they enjoyed the advantage in the early sparring exchanges. Pace was to be the order of the day. The Farnham coaching team of brother’s James and Ross Chisholm - both Harlequins - had set the team up well. Attacking four-man pods led by the considerable bulk of Pete Daly and Dan Williams made immediate inroads. The visitors were slow off the mark and were caught cold. After six minutes a five-metre line out, catch and drive and Daly over for the openers – the swirling wind too much for Toby Salmon’s conversion attempt. 5-0.
From the kick -off Farnham break out with centres Corlett and Weeks to the fore. Toby Salmon and Jemi Akin Olugbade join the attack at pace to free up the flying full back Ben Jones. Try and 10-0. The crowd is sensing a long afternoon for the Eagles.
Another swarming attack from the kick of is stopped by a thunderous tackle on Farnham winger Reece Stennet. Scrum and the Farnham pack trundle E& back 15 metres. Salmon kicks the penalty to the corner where another line out, catch and drive puts Ben Adams over 15-0.
The Eagles are contesting at every breakdown but their untidiness is their undoing. Time and again the ball is knocked on or fumbled to Farnham’s advantage. Farnham are scoring at a point a minute and have already missed a number of scoring opportunities. Great entertainment and the crowd wants more.
The Farnham front row of skipper Andy Naisbitt, Jonny Davidson and Jules Joris are having a field day. Again the Eagles eight is shunted backwards from a 5 meter scrum and the predatory Akin-Olugbade is there to burrow over under the posts. Easy extras for Salmon, 22-0, and the try bonus point secured after just 25 minutes.
The attacking pods work in tandem to devastate the Eagles defence. The dual pronged attack pulls the visitors from one side to another creating pressure and space all over the pitch. Corlett and Weeks, prompted by the ubiquitous Oli Brown, slice through the visitors freeing up Ben Jones. He’s in under the posts and again easy for Salmon, 29-0.
Half an hour gone and close on a point a minute. The Eagles regroup and having their best period of the match mount a concerted multi-phase attack. This is met with fierce Farnham defence. Phase after phase is repelled on the line before the Eagles knock on. Playing the advantage, Toby Salmon puts in a huge clearance chased up hard by Farnham’s swarming blitz defence. The desperate Eagles are penalised for holding on. Salmon kicks for the corner. This time the line out catch and drive is held so Oli Brown fizzes a long pass to Salmon whose pop pass lets Ed Weeks cut in against the grain of the defence to score. 34-0 and half time.
Phew!! A breathless first half! Farnham’s best period of the season so far. Coaches pleased with the pace of the game and the support play. Surely more to come?
The Eagles rally and the first fifteen minutes of the second half produces a toe-to-toe slugfest. Its end-to-end stuff with neither side able to make a killer blow. The referee is quick to punish at both the breakdown and for the slightest handling error. Patience is required of both sides.
Farnham are first to settle and complete an attack. A stand out tackle on Eagles flying winger Turner allows Ben Jones to win the ball. Salmon on the burst and on to impact replacement winger Connor Rumpson, enjoying his league debut. Its a text book example of slick hands and support running that puts Rumpson over for his first try. It’s the game breaker. The conversion is superb from Salmon out wide - 41-0.
The Eagles do not lie down. They batter away at the Farnham defence. 20-25 phases repelled by the Farnham defence. It is dogged, gnarly and downright frustrating for the visitors. A turnover and the home lines cleared but back come the Eagles with another swarming sortie. But this is held, turned over and the Effingham spirit is broken.
A speculative, long-range clearance by Eagle full-back Ellis is tidied up by Salmon who initiates another mass break out. Across the field to Chalker, back in field through Jordan Frost and now virtually the entire Farnham squad on the charge. This 90 -meter break out culminates in a superb try for Toby Salmon and equally accomplished conversion wide out 48-0. There’s still time for Farnham to add salt to the wound. Another multi-pronged break out and Salmon to Rumpson for him to complete his pair and the fifty up for Farnham. 53-0 the final score.
This was a superb Farnham display against an established, spirited Division 2 squad. The performance was marred only by untidy restarts and poor protection of the scrum-half from a wily opposition back row. The pace and support of the Farnham boys was superb throughout. Let’s hope for more against Beckenham in the cup game next week.
Podium Points awarded by club stalwarts Andrew Mortimore, Trevor Cowan and Jimmy O’Sullivan
James Corlett – 3 - superb in both attack and defence – enjoying his best season.
Dan William – 2 - big shift from the big man on both front and back foot.
Ed Weeks – 1 - pace, power and immense in the tackle throughout