Late comeback not enough for Hornets
Farnham welcomed Wimbledon Extra to Monkton Lane on a sunny September afternoon. Farnham received the ball and immediately began to attack.
Early probing by the Farnham backs led to a chance for Andrew Freshwater, who thought he had scored in the corner, only to have been judged to have grazed the touchline on his wide run.
Wimbledon battled to get out of their half and some poor discipline from the Hornets gave them the chance to kick penalties to touch. Settled in the Farnham half, strong play from the Extra back-row gave the number 8 space to run into, and he scored to take the visitors 0-5 up.
Robust tackling from Dan Greene stopped a few opponents in their boots, however a break away from the Extra scrum half allowed them to extend the lead. A successful conversion took the score to 0-12.
Sensing the need to steady the ship and slow the ball down, the Hornets took the ball into a series of malls controlled well by Craig Macey. Despite the good work in the forwards, the Farnham backs struggled to get going and turned over through handling errors. Textbook lineout play from Wimbledon solidified their position in the Farnham half, giving them the chance to drive a mall onto and then over the line. The converted try took the score to 0-19, a poor first half hour for Farnham.
Things didn’t get a lot better when the stuttering back play was further compounded when stalwart fly half Andy James was forced to go off with head injury. The Hornets forwards grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and powered down the field, shepherded by scrum half Oli Brown. A series of punishing runs the front row could not quite get over the whitewash, despite shouts to the contrary from the side-line. When the hornets did cross the line, both Adam Telfer and Dan Ross were held up.
As half time approached, the visitors added a penalty to their lead to take the score to 0-22 into the break. A few small changes at half time and the agreement to get back to basics amongst the Farnham players galvanised the boys for the rest of the game. The second half remained scoreless for a long time as both sides concentrated on defence.
A bright spark was the counter-attacking play from the Farnham back three, when Mark Baines started and finished a move that cut from one side-line to the other. Back with the forwards, the ball got to Dan Greene who smashed over the line to score under the posts. This was his second try in two games, an excellent return from the second row.
Seb Murray competed well in the lineout, and the tiring opposition could not keep up with him when he ran down the right flank, setting up Jack Miller for a score with only a few minutes left to go. Freshwater converted to take the score to a more respectable 14-22.
The Hornets will feel down to have conceded their first loss, however there is still a long season ahead. The continuing development of young players alongside the more experienced heads should give the Farnham second team every chance to push on into the colder months.
By Oli Richford