Farnham U14As deliver victory against Camberley
By Steve Ratcliffe
The U14s welcomed Camberley to Fortress Farnham this afternoon for their second Round Robin league match and delivered a superb 4 try performance to win in style
The U14As turned out today to play the Camberley U14s. Our last encounter with this side was in January 2016 in the U13 League Premier division when the rain had prevented us from playing a home league fixture but Camberley offered a pitch at Yateley Manor school which somehow was still payable. Fortunately the conditions then allowed us a 31-5 win and hopes were high that we'd repeat the performance today.
Boys in this age group all grow at different rates and by the looks of the Camberley side warming up by the First Pitch, some of them had certainly shot up. This might be a very different encounter after all.
U14A match Captain, Chris Ratcliffe won the toss and elected to kick. Finlay Anderson showed the ball a solid boot and the game was on. Camberley were quick off the mark and attacked with vigour. As is their want, the Farnham boys looked half asleep for the first 10 minutes and only some staunch defending kept Camberley from the whitewash. Soon enough though the boys found their feet and began to probe with ball in hand. Aston Ulisse and Tom Garner made some great runs and the forwards started to break the gain line. Max Campbell-Harris was up to his combative best making some barnstorming runs. The pressure on the Camberley boys was beginning to tell and the cracks were showing.
13 minutes into the game, The forwards set up a ruck on the 22 and set the ball back for Dylan Milner (deputising at scrum half for George Guy who'd taken a knock to his knee) to make a beautiful pass to Tom Garner who ran a genius line, breaking through the Camberley defence with a shimmy to put the ball down in the far corner. Tom then attempted a difficult conversion of his own try to leave the score at 5-0.
The Camberley defence strained on for another 10 minutes before Max C-H, having an astonishingly good game, broke through once again and backed himself to score a super solo try moments before the half time whistle. 10-0 was a good way to go into the second half.
The boys once again looked asleep in the early part of the second half and suddenly the pressure and the territory were all Camberley's. 8 minutes in, the Farnham defence was desperately sucked into defending a ruck 5m from their own line and with too many bodies committed to saving the pushover try, the narrow defence was easily outwitted leaving an easy score for Camberley under the posts. Suddenly the 10 point advantage had fallen to only 3 and the game was very much on.
A Camberley score might have dented the Farnham pride but it got the attention of our boys who put pressure on from the restart. This soon proved too much for a shocked Camberley who couldn't contain a barnstorming Campbell-Harris who broke through the line for his second of the day. 15-7 was a more comfortable scoreline.
By now the Farnham boys really had the bit between their teeth and some amazing rugby was being played. Charlie Cochrane, who was having a storming game, even managed a deft behind the back flick reverse pass to Max C-H - a move which could have come directly from the All Blacks training ground. Click here to watch the Video
Charlie's amazing move lead to a beautiful overlap and, with 3 minutes left on the clock, Tom Garner slipped through the Camberley defensive line and offloaded to Wil Geeves who applied the gas and skinned the Camberley defence to put down in the corner for a 20-7 win.
The boys were tired but ecstatic to have won and with a 4th try bonus point too.
In his post match interview, Chris Ratcliffe said "Camberley are a quality side and Farnham had to deliver a great 18 man effort to win. I think that we played well as a team and the difference between the two sides was in our ability to deliver offloads to keep the ball moving quickly and this got the ball to the try scorers Max, Tom and Wil. Our defence was very strong and we turned Camberley away on many occasions when they were camped on our line."
Can't say fairer than that. The boys play Weybridge Vandals in three week's time. Let's hope for a similarly good performance.
Congrats also go to man of the match, hooker Jake Epps, for winning so much ball against the head - Brian Moore would be proud!