Farnham’s Monkton Lane pitch was deemed too dangerous for a first-team match last weekend.

But that didn’t stop the fourth team from enjoying a game... on the same playing surface.

Chichester’s first XV had warmed up for their Regional 2 South East match and 100 guests – swelled by a gathering of some 20 players from the 1980s – had enjoyed their pre-match festive lunch and were looking forward to the match.

The sun spent the morning taking the hardness out of the Monkton Lane pitches.

Yet 15 minutes before kick-off the referee – who had come all the way from Sunderland on an exchange visit – declared it unsafe and the game postponed!

Farnham’s fourth XV The Barbarians were scheduled to play a local derby against Farnborough on the second pitch.

Their referee and the players had no reservations about the state of the ground and took the rare opportunity to play a match on the first pitch before a sizeable and boisterous crowd keen to assuage the disappointment of the main event’s cancellation.

While the match may have lacked the pace, accuracy and skills of a first XV encounter, it lacked none of the commitment and proved highly entertaining.

To get a full season of matches, Farnham’s Barbarians compete as a Hampshire side while the Vikings (seconds) and Warriors (thirds) play in Surrey.

The first XV, of course, are elevated to what was the London league and is now referred to as Regional 2 South East.

On Saturday, weather permitting, they travel to Reeds Weybridge to battle it out with the side with whom they are neck and neck in that league.

Farnham were convincing 30-10 winners in the opening encounter back in September, but Reeds’ recent form suggests this game will be a lot closer.

Farnborough – who field only one team and so this is essentially their first XV – top Counties 5 Hampshire North with eight wins and one loss. Farnham Barbarians prop up the league with one win from their nine games.

Not that the spectators could spot the disparity during the opening exchanges.

Farnborough have recruited the obligatory Fijians from the Army to bolster a side with potential across the pitch. Farnham were able to bring in a couple of Vikings and Warriors to make a game of it – and so they did.

The first half was even with two tries from Chaz Martin and a conversion from Alec Thomson to match those run in by Farnborough’s Fijian centre.

However, with Farnham scoring just once through Owen Johnstone – who converted his own try – Farnborough stretched away in the second half to run out 38-19 winners.

The grounds at Monkton Lane were rock hard on Sunday morning and did for any junior rugby, but not for fun and frivolity at the club which was visited by none other than S Clause Esq.

Over lunchtime, some 50 children had a chat to let him know what they wanted for Christmas and left with a special gift – which was, would you believe it, a rugby ball!

The Farnham casino night on New Year’s Eve is set to maintain the strong social momentum at the club.

This classy event features the full array of gaming tables, a buffet supper and dancing to a live band.

It is open to all – not just FRUFC members – and the £45 tickets have sold well. But for those yet to make plans for seeing in the new year in style, there are some still available and can be bought online at https://farnhamkit.co.uk/

Doors open at 7.30pm and the party continues well into the new year!

Mark Weeks