Farnham signed off for their Christmas break in style with an emphatic 68-10 win against Newbury in Regional Two South Central.

Farnham welcomed Newbury to Monkton Lane for their last game before the festive season.

The hosts handed a debut to young hooker Chris Ratcliffe who was back from university and the team was bolstered by skipper Toby Salmon and defensive powerhouse Josh Watson returning from injuries.

Farnham kicked off into a cool breeze and maintained their usual home fast start.

An early penalty gave them a chance to kick to the corner. With the rolling maul held short, the powerful, in form Harrison Horner powered over from close range.

The conversion was successful and Farnham led 7-0 within the first two minutes.

The Newbury squad was plagued with injuries and the visitors therefore had a number of players playing out of position. Nevertheless, they had come to play their good brand of rugby.

Farnham’s Max Williams was a handful in attack as usual and his break got Farnham close to the line. The ball was recycled with Fin Basil running a good line to go in under the posts. The successful conversion made it 14-0.

Farnham were full of confidence, claimed the kick-off and chose to run the ball out.

Toby Simmons started the move before offloading to Fin Anderson who drew the last man. He found debutant Ratcliffe on his shoulder to score his first first team try. The successful conversion made it 21-0.

Anderson was involved in the next try when his audacious offload somehow found Williams who broke through the Newbury defence. He offloaded to Salmon who sprinted under the posts. The conversion was successful and the try bonus point was secured in the first 15 minutes with Farnham 28-0 up.

Despite the home side’s dominance, Newbury managed to get their hands on the ball and came back strongly.

Farnham had to empty their bench on the 30-minute mark with backs Anderson and Williams hobbling off as well as prop Dan Sweeney.

Raoul Larkins came on for his first team debut along with Jack Bemelmans and Harry West. A backline reshuffle saw loose forward Oscar Henderson joining the backs at centre.

Newbury opened their account after a few close carries drew the Farnham defence in and a long pass found the Newbury winger to dive into the corner and make it 28-5. The conversion attempt was missed.

Almost immediately thereafter, a scrum on the Newbury 22 gave Farnham a good attacking position with Ollie Brown using the presence of Henderson to dent Newbury’s midfield defence before offloading to West who scampered under the posts for his first score of the season. The conversion was successful and Farnham led 35-5 at half-time.

Farnham now had the wind behind them and looked to continue this dominant performance. They had to be a bit more patient as Newbury fought valiantly.

However, the scoreboard resumed when Brown pounced on a Newbury handling error and the ball was moved wide to Simmons to dive into the corner. The successful conversion made it 42-5.

Newbury were next to score when a Farnham scrum was turned over and their replacement winger broke two tackles to break down the left and finish well in the corner to make it 42-10. The conversion attempt was missed.

With 20 minutes to go, Salmon had to be replaced with a back injury and moments later Nathan Phillimore suffered a bad leg injury when trying to score a try and was carried off.

Play resumed after a lengthy delay with Farnham continuing to dominate. The next score came when Ben Jones fizzed a pass to the speedy Simmons who beat his opposite man and scored his second try. Jones took over the kicking duties and converted to make it 49-10.

Despite all the injuries, loose forwards Marcus Lambert-Parsons and Basil had plenty of energy and were resilient in defence. Henderson was enjoying himself in the backs and another strong carry provided a good platform for Jones to get in behind and find prop Marco Azevedo lurking on the wing to score in the corner. The successful conversion made it 56-10.

Newbury were reduced to 14 men after a high tackle on Henderson. More slick attacking phases by Farnham created space on the left wing for makeshift centres Ratcliffe and Henderson, who ran in under the posts to make it 63-10. The final score came in the closing minutes with Larkins finding Henderson who broke through a tackle before finishing off well in the corner for his hat-trick. The conversion was missed but Farnham ran out convincing 68-10 winners.

A good number of young players performed well to set up this dominant Farnham display. It is hoped the Christmas break will give time for the injured to recover and the side will be in good fettle to face the challenge of the season when they visit runaway league leaders Jersey on Saturday, January 6.

Mark Weeks