Farnham defence bristles as Camberley are crushed
Billed as the test of how far Farnham have improved, this encounter against the unbeaten league leaders a Camberley was to set new benchmark.
A testament to club rugby, the match was played at full pace, with total commitment and effort from both sides for 80 minutes. Farnham eventually ran out winners by 20-3 for a bonus point win. But boy, was it a tough contest?
Camberley refused to lie down and full credit goes to their young side. Like many of the Farnham XV they too have come through their junior and Academy sides to the first XV.
Perfect conditions greeted the visitors and the game started like a heavyweight contest with initial sparring, a break-out through the phases to be met by bristling defence from the Farnham Wall. After 15 minutes and an exchange of unsuccessful penalties it was obvious that it would require something special or unusual to break the deadlock.
That came from a penalty awarded to Farnham on the Camberley 22. Number 8 Will Markham took the quick tap-and-go and when held delivered a superb off-load to a rampaging Andy Naisbitt who was unstoppable from five metres out. 5-0.
Farnham err at the restart allowing Camberley to swoop and drive through the phases towards the home try line. The defence holds and the tackles ramp up in intensity. Time and again, the attack comes but the defence snarls in defiance with standout tackling from backs Oli Brown, the Salmon duo of Mike and Toby and co-centre James Corlett. This is becoming a bear pit! The ref spots an infringement and awards the penalty to Camberley. The boot of full back Dan Bright takes the score to 5 - 3.
The first quarter had been a test for the Farnham pack under constant pressure at the scrum. Camberley were on a roll and made for torrid times for the Farnham back row and scrum half Oli Brown. At 15 minutes injuries to prop Jennings and Ian Williams in the second row brings the scrum cavalry to the battle in the form of Andrew Coutts at prop and Dan Williams in the row. What a difference! Allowing Andrew Naisbitt to relocate to his favoured loose-head side and the Farnham scrum begins to dominate.
From the line out Camberley were enjoying more of the ball allowing them to go through the phases but the home defence blitzed aggressively putting increasing pressure on the Camberley fly half and centres. Handling errors started to punctuate the game. The pressure was beginning to tell, but there was no further score in the half.
From the outset of the second period, the tension is palpable. It will be a case of the first to blink. The attacks continue to flow end -to-end. If anything the pressure increase as tired bodies begin to make mistakes and tired minds affect the decision making.
Camberley attack and spin the ball wide. A floated pass is intercepted by Toby Salmon who sprints 80 metres to score in the corner. 10-3.
Farnham go for the jugular and camp in the Camberley 22. Ed Weeks darts in from the wing, gives the ball to hooker Jonny Davidson - who impressed again. He ships it on to No 8 Will Markham who goes over under a pile of bodies. 15-3.
Back come Camberley and again they go for the line. Under pressure, Farnham seize another intercept and Toby Comley covers the full length of the pitch to touch down out wide. The score is 20-3 and a four try bonus point for Farnham.
A superb win for Farnham against a spirited Camberley XV who battled until the final whistle. The Farnham defence and revamped pack won this, bristling with intent throughout. If these traits are maintained this side in this league will take some beating.
No Farnham 1st XV game next weekend, but all are invited to enjoy the World Cup Final on two huge screens at the club house in what will be a great atmosphere.
A very difficult decision for the panel. Standouts from virtually everyone. Naisbitt, Dan Williams were really prominent in sorting out the scrums but the clincher in turning it round was…
Andrew Coutts 3 points - devastating against a previously dominant pack.
Will Markham - big day from the no.8 - 2pts
Toby Comley - ubiquitous throughout - 1 pt.