Game of two halves proves positives for Farnham
Esher prove to strong but respectable performance from Farnham forwards sets up next game.
Overcast conditions greeted Esher to Wilkinson Way. The Esher team were close to the top of the league already, so Farnham knew a tough game would be on the cards. Based on the fact that Farnham had a strong set of forwards out, the smaller “Vets” pitch was selected by the home team.
The tactics discussed before the game were to keep the ball in the forwards, play safe and make sure that we didn’t give away the ball unnecessarily.
Despite this prior planning, Farnham did not execute this plan. There were several kicks away that weren’t accurately aimed at the touch line. This was in contrast to the calm and well directed kicks from the Esher fly-half who pinned Farnham in their own half for long periods.
Farnham had two early penalty kicks at the Esher uprights, but unfortunately both kicks sailed wide. Esher then got their own penalty and kicked right up to the Farnham 5m line. From there they caught the lineout and drive over for their first score. The successful conversion made it 0-7.
Dependable prop Jules Joris had to leave the game with injured abdominal muscle and on came new prop Prince Emori. Following this, Esher scored a series of tries that you could perceive to be lucky. Of course you can reflect that you make your own luck, and fair play to Esher for having players in the right positions. One try resulted from the never-predictable bounce of a rugby-ball and another from a kick that ricocheted back and forth off of several players.
A penalty kick from Esher also added to the total, and then another well worked try left the score at 0-27 at half time.
The Hornets coaches and experienced players spoke to the team and rallied everyone around. The score was not a fair reflection on the game. Farnham had played well in parts but hadn’t executed the game plan. The second half would be different. Some substitutions were made and the second half began.
Farnham took the ball into contact immediately and began to rumble forward. The forwards physically stepped up and carries from Johnny Davidson, Dan Greene and Paddy Vasey got Farnham well into Esher territory. The ball was then moved wide and a good delayed pass from Oli Richford put Rex Rakata into a gap. He then passed to Adam Hailstones who scored in corner (whilst also clashing heads with his opposite man, causing both to be taken off to be bandaged up). A great team try.
The lineout was consistently a struggle for Farnham and perhaps this is indicative of a lack of practice and attendance to training. However the scrum was a different story altogether; in the second half Farnham thoroughly dominated this area and used it to gain more territory.
Veteran Nigel Rooney marshalled the troops from the fly-half position and pinned Esher back with a kick for touch. Farnham won a penalty 5 yards out and before anyone else could react, Fijian prop Prince picked up the ball, tapped it and marrauded forwards to get Farnham’s second score. The momentum was now with Farnham and with 20 minutes left there was a faint chance of a comeback.
Unfortunately this was snuffed out when a breakaway try was scored by Esher on the right side of the pitch.
Farnham didn’t give up though and continued to play physical rugby for the remainder of the game. This included another try for Dan Greene, his third in as many games (not bad for a second row forward!).
The match finished 15-32 to Esher but Farnham can hold their heads up. This truly was a game of two halves and the Hornets can take confidence in their forward play into their next fixture.
Written by Oli Richford