FARNHAM RUE MISSED CHANCES IN GALE FORCE GAME
Brian plays his part in narrow defeat - by Geoff Bond
Autumn Storm Brian was always going to play a huge part in this encounter played on the seashore at Gosport. The wind didn't just whistle down the Pitch at times it was assisted by horizontal driving rain. This was sailing weather to commemorate the 212th Anniversary of Trafalgar.
Farnham were edged out by 23-19 in a game of distinctly two halves – playing into the wind first up with Coach Ross Chisholm pulling the strings – the plan to keep the ball – retain, retain, retain – in old fashioned speak – just look after the pill!!
From the kick off Farnham execute the plan – Daly and Williams on the charge, Corlett recycle and repeat the plan through the front row of Jennings, Davidson and skipper Andy Naisbitt. Conditions dictate and protecting the ball is paramount – turn over and one clearing kick costs 70-80 metres.
Back come Gosport through their half backs – Farnham not releasing – penalty and 3-0.
Farnham are enjoying the bulk of the possession, battling their way out of their half. Close support works and the communication to make it work is vital – Ollie Brown and pack leader Pete Daly direct the drives. The patterns are encouraging – Farnham are eating up the yards. A sweeping attack sees winger Connor Rumpson released by Jemi Akin-Olugbade – the big attacker too much for the home defence and a superb inside pop pass to Toby Comley gives the flanker his first points of the season. Easy for Toby Salmon 3-7.
The catch and drive from the kick off eats up the yards but again at the end of a multi phase attack Farnham spill the ball, Gosport relieving kick and hack and chase heaps pressure on the visitors – try wide out 8-7.
Playing the conditions is notoriously difficult, time consuming ( you are trying to run down the clock until you have the wind advantage), tiring and has to be exact. Take one out of the equation – punishment in the form of a huge relieving kick. Gosport surge into the Farnham 22 – phase upon phase beaten back. The pressure continues until Newton bursts the defence 15-7 with an easy conversion.
The wind is the driving force – penalty against Farnham winger Alex Chalker – offside and ‘advising the referee’ – Yellow Card on 24 minutes. Gosport winger Henry attempts and audacious goal attempt from 52 metres – just short.
This is turning into a gruelling affair – attacks and defence controlled by who plays the conditions better. Farnham checked – penalty not releasing. Gosport and Fareham enjoying their purple patch. Flyhalf Webster over for the points 18-7 with half time approaching. G and F enjoying a slight numerical advantage as the wind quickens.
Back roar Farnham with their best period of the match. Mass break out spear headed by Daly and Williams, on through backs and forwards alike – Salmon inside to flanker Jordan Frost, Toby ComLey out to winger Rumpson – forward pass – the defence split and the opportunity butchered.
Comley repeats the charge, crossfield and isolated and the home side clear their lines through flyhalf Newton 70 metres and compounded at the line out – penalty and the half time break.
Farnham have missed their opportunities but with the wind at their backs an 11 point deficit should be easy to overcome. Gosport play keep ball for the start of the second period. A mass breakout and winger James over for, what turned out to be the match winning score 23-8.
The worst possible start for Farnham and the catch up race is on. Wave after wave of attacks beaten back by the home defence. Multi phased charges to clear their lines. Bond and Williams tackling themselves to a standstill, the Farnham attack is predictable, Daly charge – Salmon cut back, Jemi strangely impotent, time after time a close scoring chance is wasted.
Daly on the charge and home prop Griffiths takes the brunt – groggy and a 15 minute stoppage. The rain comes in the form of a squall, hard to exaggerate 40 mph gusts with heavy showers – perfect conditions for both sides.
The Farnham Faithful are rewarded with two back to back tries – Buster Bond over after shepherding a driving line out maul, followed by a Toby Salmon squirming effort from five metres out under the posts 23-19 with ten minutes to play.
Credit to Gosport and Fareham they defended as if lives were at stake – the home win was vital for them after three defeats. Farnham just could not unlock the defence. Did white line fever distort? Missed chances would rue the day.
Corlett – enjoying a purple patch season 3 points
Daly – 2 points – massive presence all afternoon
Comley – 1 point – getting back to his best.