Camberley class just too much for Farnham
Oh, how fortunes change!
This 17-44 loss to a classy Camberley team highlighted the joy and the sadness, the ups and downs of sport. The headline on Dec 14th 2014 read ‘Farnham crush Camberley in 10 try romp’. Oh, how fortunes change!
On a bitterly cold day at Monkton Lane both sides started the second half of their league campaigns. With 11 fixtures out of 22 played, the reverse fixtures began with Camberley at the top of the league with 50 points from 10 wins. Farnham in 6th position with 30. How wins in those four close encounters would have made a difference!
The Bristol Society referee commenced proceedings and Farnham were forced into defensive mode immediately. Ball retention was key and Farnham remained camped in their 22. A scrum awarded to Camberley and their heavies managed to shunt Farnham back - a similar tale throughout the match. No.8, Mac Duaibe, who caught the eye as the game progressed, went over under the posts and fly-half Matt Smart gobbled up the extras. 0-7.
Camberley are not league leaders by default. They are a slick, talented, hard-working squad. From the kick off fast hands put the ball through the Camberley backs, orchestrated by half backs Dunn and Smart. The referee, who enjoyed a fine game, spotted a Farnham infringement five meters out. Duaibe required no further invitation and battered over under the posts. Again easy for Smart. 0-14.
The next score was vital if the beleaguered Farnham XV were to get into this match.
At last Farnham managed to clear their lines. Camberley were deemed to be offside and a thunderous kick from Scullion moved Farnham into the visitor’s 22. Quick ball from Ben Adams at the line out freed up scrum-half Oli Brown who gained those important few metres. The ball transferred to Toby Salmon and the young tyro jinked through the league leaders defense to release elder brother Michael for the all important first Farnham score.
The sizable home crowd responded in decibels. Toby Salmon was successful with the conversion. 7-14.
More action from the home team followed. Farnham smashed into the Camberley half and a flowing move saw Comley in under the posts. But no! The referee had blown for a penalty having spotted a high tackle by Watson, the Camberley No 6, who was yellow carded. No real consolation for Farnham.
A full pace break-out by Camberley and the Home defense dented. Easy pickings for the pocket battleship of a winger Oyoni Gbla. 7-19.
Undeterred Farnham immediately reshaped and spear headed by their eventual man of the match Pete Daly continued to drive towards the Camberley line. With the Camberley defense ragged, a delightful off load from Daly frees Toby Salmon to dot the ball down under the posts. What should have been an easy conversion for him was pushed wide. 12-19.
Farnham’s purple patch continued as, after a flowing multi phase attack, winger Jack Scullion managed to pick the ball of his toes to score out wide. 17-19 as the conversion drifted by on the wind.
With the first half evened out, Camberley cranked up the pressure and in an eight minute period up to half time managed to break through some brutal Farnham defense to dot down four tries through Gbla (30 min), Duaibe (35), Emerton (38) and Voight (39). The Farnham boys defended each wave of attacks but the pressure told. And the story at half time reflected the bitter truth 17-36 and Camberley had killed off the game.
With a slight breeze now at their backs Farnham needed to start well. The first twenty minutes of the second half was a heavy weight contest with successive Farnham attacks followed by equally impressive Camberley break-outs.
Despite gaining the territorial advantage, successive Farnham attacks were thwarted by a poor last pass, hapless knock-ons or just the wrong decision. The home side’s kicking also went awry and the line outs, normally a Farnham feature, failed to function under pressure from the Camberley pack.
Time and time again Farnham strove forward only to fall at the last hurdle.
The second-half game changer was to be an innocuous looking Farnham defensive tackle that was deemed to be speared. Smart took the easy three points for Camberley. Perhaps Farnham deserved the bonus-point score, but were gradually suffocated and penned in by the ball hungry visitors.
This was backs to the wall stiff. The Champagne Moment of that torrid period for Farnham was when their diminutive scrum half Oli Brown stripped the ball from the sizeable Camberley 8, Duaibe. This extraordinary moment was acknowledged by the 8 with a wry, slightly embarrassed, grin to the crowd.
His embarrassment was eased after he scored the only try of the second period. 17-44 and still Farnham battled for the fourth try and a bonus point.
It was not to be and a penalty for accidental offside allowed Smart to close out the game 17-47.
Not a bad performance but Camberley showed why they are league leaders and what Farnham have to do to improve and compete in this league. Oh for the clock to turn back three years!
Pete Daly – 3. Immense in defense and attack. Deserved more support.
Ben Adams – 2. Excellent line out work and tackled himself into the ground.
Toby Salmon – 1. Another all-round performance – so consistent.