Farnham's second half power too much for Exiles
Heavy weight probing attacks by Farnham forwards countered by pacey attacks from the Exiles backs
After paddling around in the lower reaches for the last few years, Farnham at last seem to be finding their feet in the upper echelons of London 2. No doubts the game is a notch or two faster and the opposition backs encountered in all of the games have asked serious questions of the Farnham defence.
High speed raids have been the weapon of choice and like Camberley and Tonbridgians before them, London Exiles possessed a tasty back division with, once again, an explosive back three combination.
In this high -speed encounter, however, the tide turned and by the end the Exiles were starved of ball as their pack was repeatedly pummelled. Farnham eventually ran out winners by 24-41 but for an hour the match was contested at pace with power.
Again warm and dry conditions welcomed Farnham to Barnes in the shadow of Fulham's Craven Cottage. The visitors had more meat up front with the return of Devonian Daniel Williams, the eventual man of the match, sharing the smash up ball responsibility with Pete Daly and very effective it proved eventually forcing the home pack into submission
The pack had a different look - Jonny Davidson back at hooker - Joris and Naisbitt at prop, Adams and Daly in the row with Williams at 8 flanked by Jordan Frost and the ageless Jemi Akin Olugbade - the difference in age of the two flankers some 22 years - but boy did they all get through the day with flying colours.
Williams evident from the off - pick up and hard yards on to Oli Brown, Davidson and Frost held five metres short of the line - the first signs and the home try line cleared by the silky Exiles fly half. Farnham regroup through Corlett and Weeks in the centre prompted by the human dynamo that is Toby Salmon, sniping outside to free up Jemi burrowing over for the openers. 5-0 with a wide out conversion missed.
Glimpses of the pace of the Exiles backs started to appear and with 12 minutes gone they changed up a gear or two, shredding the initial Farnham defence with their right wing scoring two tries out wide. 12-5.
Farnham were in danger of being overrun but the response was quick, another Jemi burst up the left flank and flying winger Luke Jermyn at pace jinking in from the 22. This time no mistake from Toby Salmon 12-12. Farnham back in it.
The tempo high and getting higher, the Exiles threatening with ball in hand and the Farnham defence stretched time after time - something had to give. Another sweeping attack and an outrageous dummy by the Exiles flyhalf shimmying over in the corner 17-12 with no extras as half time approached.
A half where no quarter was asked and none given as the two sides threatening in different ways.
The second period much like the first - heavy weight probing attacks by Farnham forwards countered by pacey attacks from the Exiles backs.
Farnham then launch a series of attacks combining forwards and backs. Corlett direct on to Chalker who is held up the Exiles knock on at the ruck. 5 metre scrum and Farnham turn the screw. A huge shunt and the home eight is on the retreat - great control from Daly and a pushover try in the corner. 17-17 and all to play for.
Farnham were in the ascendancy and apart from one break-out score late on, this was to remain the case for the rest of the match. The tiring home forwards were just no match for the Farnham pack.
Another break out, Jemi on from Ed Weeks’ well-timed pass, held but offloaded to the charging Jonny Davidson. Try under the posts. Salmon conversion 17-24.
Time to close the game out. Penalty to Farnham on the hour is coolly slotted by Salmon from 40 metres 17-27.
The Exiles are becoming increasingly rattled and the Farnham eight once again surge. Williams, Joris and Naisbitt all make inroads and then onto the backs. Chalker to Daly wide out who, with an sumptuous dummy, is over for the try of the day. 17-32 plus difficult extras for Salmon.
Farnham now in control and from a Pete Daly pick up, Oli Brown goes on one of his scampering runs. On to Ed Weeks and Corlett - both enjoying fine seasons so far - through to the ever-improving Ben Jones to put Alex Chalker over for a try. Easy conversion by Salmon 17-41 and the game running down.
Exiles have the last word too late as the referee, who had a mixed afternoon, misses an obvious knock on allowing the home left winger in for their bonus point try - which over the match they deserved.
Are Farnham at last finding their feet in the new league? The signs are starting to show and there is momentum developing across the senior sides. Over on the far pitch at Barnes’ Elms playing fields, Farnham’s 2nd XV secured their first win of the season beating Exiles 2s 21 – 24.
Next up Effingham at Monkton Lane .
Podium as judged by Chairman Geoff Robins and coach Jamie Salmon after a big 5 points and a 24-41 win:
Dan Williams 3
Pete Daly 2
Ed Weeks 1
Well done boys!!