Farnham Rugby Club captain Toby Salmon was disappointed after his side fell to a narrow 32-29 defeat at Wimborne.
“This was another disappointing day out – we made too many errors and despite a much better second half, we left ourselves too much to do,” said Salmon.
“We will be working hard on the training paddock before a tough away trip to Tottonians on bonfire weekend.”
If the RFU Regional 2 South Central league was measured by bonus points, Farnham would be clear leaders on 11 points – with their nearest rival trailing with eight. However, the Black and Whites sit mid-table with two wins from their first seven games. The accumulation of bonus points shows Farnham have the firepower to score tries and the determination to keep scrapping. However, the errors also keep coming – which makes that winning habit hard to find. Saturday’s match at Wimborne was no exception.
Farnham travelled down to Dorset looking to build on their win against Reading.
A few changes to the Farnham team saw academy graduate Dan Sweeney earn his first start, and an injury in the warm-up to Dan Sullivan saw the backline rejigged with Harry West on the wing.
Wimborne kicked off with the wind at their backs.
Both teams traded early attacking sets but lacked the accuracy to score. On ten minutes, Farnham earned a penalty on halfway and kicked to the corner. Wimborne collapsed the first maul and Farnham went for the corner again. This maul was set up well and Finn Basil powered over in the corner for his first score of the season. The conversion was unsuccessful but Farnham had the lead.
Farnham’s lead was short lived as they failed to clear their lines at the restart and Wimborne applied maul pressure of their own. Their large, experienced pack got to work and powered over to make it 5-5 with 15 minutes gone.
Farnham responded well and gained good field position in Wimborne’s half. Hard carries in midfield from Archie Cleeve and Toby Salmon put Farnham on the front foot.
The ball was moved to Ben Jones, who fizzed a flat pass to Toby Simmons – who finished well in the corner to put Farnham 10-5 ahead.
However, this lead did not last long either. A mixture of ill-discipline and errors got Wimborne back into the game.
By not committing enough bodies to the ruck, Farnham allowed the agile Wimborne back row to get their hands on the ball and a line break from the Wimborne number 13 – one of a pair of powerful centres – was finished off well to level the scores at 10-10.
More penalties allowed Wimborne to kick to the corner and a well-executed training-ground move saw them score in the corner to lead 15-10.
Farnham could not get their hands on the ball to halt the momentum. Moments later, Wimborne were in again as a neat offload from the juggernaut inside centre saw Wimborne’s full back stroll in under the posts to open up a 22-10 lead at half-time.
Matt Chapman came on in the row with West moved to scrum half and Ollie Brown out to fly half. Farnham needed a response and managed to get their hands on the ball and kicked in behind to pin Wimborne on their own line. However, Wimborne’s inside centre – a genuine game-changer for the home side – picked from the base and shrugged off four Farnham tackles to break away.
He offloaded to oncoming support. The Farnham defence couldn’t scramble back, and the try was finished in the corner. The hosts led 27-10.
Farnham responded in the form of a well-worked backs’ move from a set scrum.
The ball was spun wide with Nathan Phillimore drawing the last man for Simmons to finish off in the corner.
Farnham gained some momentum with damaging carries from Jonny Vincent and Marco Azevedo making yards.
West and Brown controlled some slick multi-phase attacks which eventually led to Phillimore stepping inside to score in the right corner.
The difficult conversion was successful, and Farnham were back in the game at 27-22.
Farnham failed to clear their lines from the kick off.
A loose pass and a knock on meant Wimborne had a scrum in prime position.
A well-worked backs’ move saw their blindside winger slice through the defence to make it 32-22. A two-score gap with ten minutes left on the clock meant Farnham had to get their hands on the ball.
Wimborne’s rumbustious inside centre was shown a yellow card following the restart, but it took eight minutes for Farnham to make the advantage pay against a resolute defence. Vincent sliced through a gap and powered over next to the posts to give Farnham a chance. The conversion was good and the score was 32-29 with one minute to go.
Farnham returned the restart in hand with pace and venom and earned a penalty in kickable range. The draw was on, but the ball was kicked to the corner. The maul was set but held. The forwards made several hard carries but then the canny Wimborne defence allowed the Farnham runner to take a few steps beyond his support and their inside centre, just back on the field from his card, was over the ball for the match-winning turnover.