Farnham topple fourth placed Reigatians at last
By Mark Weeks
In six years home and away Farnham had never beaten the ORs
Farnham travelled to Reigate on Saturday to take on one of their bogey clubs - Old Reigatians. In six years home and away Farnham had never beaten the ORs and on the corresponding day last year Farnham had been demolished by 45-17.
All to play for then.
After a splendid lunch which highlighted the rugby family at large - Reigatians had offered all of the proceeds of the lunchtime raffle and entertainment to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) the charity closely associated with Rich Brember the Farnham 2nd XV captain who sadly died in July.
The main event began.
Playing into a swirling wind, conditions were otherwise perfect, Mike Salmon launched a monstrous kick deep into the home 22. The clearance kick skewed into touch and Farnham were immediately on the front foot. Davidson into Ben Adams with skipper for the day Buster Bond in for the drive, with ground made new scrum half Harry West demanded the ball to start seven explosive phases of play. Forwards and backs interchanging and all making yards with each phase. Toby Salmon on to brother Mike then James Corlett to free up flying winger Reece Stennet. Try inside five minutes 0-5 Farnham as the conversion held on the breeze.
Farnham played at pace throughout, their progress only hampered by self imposed mistakes, poor passes and the odd breakdown decisions by the young referee. Three successive penalties to Reigatians pushed Farnham deeper into their own half.
Play was held up as debutante Harry West suffered a shoulder injury which brought Eliot Rich into scrum half and substitute winger Joe Wigmore on to the right wing.
No respite as Farnham conceded two scrums in a row, the second giving Chesterton the ORs No.8 an easy pushover try. Floyd with the conversion 7-5.
Reigatians increased the pressure and a chip and chase with second row Franklin-Talbot, who resembled a human battering ram all game, on the charge. Ben Jones caught by no less than three maurading back rowers forced to attempt a clearance kick.
The charge down was inevitable Williamson over in the corner. 12-5.
Farnham had to reignite and did driven on by the back row of Comley, Bond and Mitchell. All at pace Farnham are fortunate that in loose play because of injuries they field five breakaway flankers with Jonny Davidson at hooker and Ben Adams in the row, the pace and support around the pitch provides advantages at the breakdown and out wide. And so it proved.
A line out 15 metres inside the ORs half was driven on by Azevedo, smashing a further 10 metres in field, quick ball through Rich, the Salmons and Corlett to free up Wigmore who, still with three men to beat, jinked his way through for a superb try. 12-10.
If anything the pace and intensity ramped up. ORs kicked for territory only to be bounced back by the Farnham defence and then attacked through the pick and drive supporting play of the visitors. The Farnham supporters willing their boys on.
With the interval approaching Farnham found themselves under the cosh and two successive penalties gave Floyd the opportunity to kick at goal. With the last kick of the half success and 15-10.
The wind had increased over the afternoon so the advantage was now with Farnham. Raking kicks from Toby Salmon pushed the visitors forward. Farnham were on the rampage at pace with the Reigate boys battering back the sweeping Farnham attacks. Frustration as Farnham were denied a scoring chance under the posts as the referee stopped play for an injury to ORs centre Williams who was already being treated by the Physios - Health and Safety now rules!
From the subsequent attack - success - as Toby Salmon floated a sumptuous cross field kick to the flying Joe Wigmore who sliced through the desperate cover to finish under the posts. 15-17.
Reigatians launched attack after attack to get back into the game. The Farnham defence held firm, is well drilled and effective, two and three man tackles are increasingly commonplace. The game changer at one such incident as Reigatians winger Forsyth was tackled on the Farnham 22 Toby Salmon snapped the ball away with a rip tackle, looked up at the 80 metres to the try line and sprinted for the score. Breathless for players and supporters alike. Having recovered as much as he could Salmon chipped over the touch line conversion to move the score out to 15-24 and important 9 point margin.
The final five minutes were tense and frenetic Reigatians desperate for a score repelled by swarming kitchen sink defence from Farnham. With the clock running down a line out to ORs five metres out, the catch and drive willed over the line 20-24 and a squeaky last three minutes.
A special win for Farnham their first over the Reigate team. A special day for rugby as well with the wonderful gesture from ORs in respect of the Rich Brember CRY appeal.
Podium as selected by Geoff Robins, Benjy Weeks and Bondie
Toby Salmon - 3 points - literally snatched the winning try and sprinted 80 yards to score it.
Buster - 2 - no nepotism here led from the front and drove the troops on from the off to the end.
Joe Wigmore - 1 - two tremendous tries.
Great game - enjoyed by all.
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone, volunteers, bar staff, caterers, car marshals, RAF Cadets for helping to make the Firework Night a tremendous success. The Club should be very proud. So many compliments from everyone.
A great day!!