Farnham’s Last Hooray to Surrey 2.
Last Saturday saw the end of this year’s league endeavours with the last game of the Season against The Law Society at King Collage’s ground at Maldon. A confident and expectant crowd of 60 plus had followed the Farnham team to south London, many packed onto a team coach, unfortunately the playing kit had not been invited or had not brought a ticket and was left at home. Skipper Toby Comley was given much amusing abuse as we sat in a lay-by on the dual carriageway trying to find someone to chase after us with the kit.
After an eventful drive up the A3 which I slept most of the way, feeling the effects of the previous day’s Sportmen’s Lunch event, we climbed out of the coach at Maldon to see ideal playing conditions with a cross wind, but a nice flat pitch with a good amount of grass.
As usual Farnham allowed themselves to be put under pressure early, with a large Law Society pack pushing the Farnham forwards up the pitch. The crowd watched and waited and a couple minutes later the Farnham three quarter line cut loose with Jim Corlet making a powerful break up the middle before fading right and linking with Comley for another typical try in the corner. Farnham kept up the pressure and from a subsequent line out on the 22, Corlett again bulldozed over between the post. Chris Penn was back in his comfort zone now and kicked the conversion, one of seven that were to follow. The game had hardly started when the ball went back to full back Gabe Hills, who despite an incredibly tight pair of shorts tiptoed through the opposition at incredible pace to score his first of the day. Farnham finished of the first half with another try for Skipper Comley after a super mid field break from loose head Trodden who fed Chas Penn out wide, a magnificent scissor move off the wing saw Comley run in under the post, and the subsequent conversion sent the team in to half time 26 points to nil. A dominating first half marked by huge powerful runs from no 8 Pete Daley, and titillating manoeuvres from Gabe Hills, and accurate kicking from Chas Penn.
The first 15 minutes of the second half had the large and passionate Farnham crowd whooping with joy and cheering loudly as first Gabe Hills ran through a failing defence line, and then Tom Foster did a fantastic controlling job at the back of a rolling maul after James Franklin won a great line out. Gabe Hills had his third after another powerful Trodden break. A minute later Chas Penn broke from his own half, kicking forward and picking up a graet ball and scoring a hard won try. On 15 minutes Chris Penn made a great break feeding Comley who fed back inside for Scrum half Alex Carlsson who ripped the defence apart. The first half of the second period was ended with another Gabe Hills try 20 minutes into the half, when he ran in a 50m try skinning the opposition. Even with a badly strained groin his blistering pace was far too hot for the defence. During this try fest Law Society scored in the corner, and even though the touch judge had a flag waved the ref allowed the try.
A score of 73-5 looked enough to see Farnham top of the table with 20 mins to play, and even the site of Pete Daly running 30 m through most of the Law Society team only to drop the ball after crossing the line did not dampen the feeling in the crowd. For the last 20 minutes of the game Farnham brought of their subs, and the game took a remarkable turn. Law Society who were possibly bigger and stronger up front, made a decision to keep the ball in the forwards and then proceeded to score 4 unanswered tries against a team that all game had had their measure, but seemed to fall apart and had no answer to powerful mauling and forward driving. The end was announced to a huge cheer from Farnham and a sigh of relief from the team. Both sides were warmly applauded off the pitch, with an actual score of 73-25 being recorded by the match reporter, but only 66-25 being announced by the referee.
Farnham who had gone into the match with a 20 point advantage over Old Cranleighans, narrowly missed heading the league as Cranleighans won by 71-0 finally winning the league on equal tallies with 3 points difference. Farnham look forward to a cup game next against Whitgiffs, possibly being played next Saturday.