After some narrow wins in recent weeks, there was a relatively relaxed atmosphere on the clubhouse balcony as Farnham secured a try bonus point in their 29-17 home win against Old Colfeians in Regional 2 South East on Saturday.

Farnham were looking for revenge after losing the reverse fixture 18-10 earlier in the season. The pitch at Monkton Lane is showing the scars of a long and climatically-challenging season, but it remains even and firm underfoot. There was scarcely a breath of wind as the visitors kicked off from the Town End in ideal conditions for an open game of rugby.

At the first scrum, the Farnham pack had a difficult time, but scrambled the ball away to release the backs. Stennett came off his wing with pace and strength through the tackle to threaten the visitors’ line. In desperate defence, Old Colfeians were caught offside, and Toby Salmon pinged the ball to the corner. Hooker Ben Brown was accurate to Oscar Henderson to set up the drive, which culminated with prop Sam Woodhams powering over for the try. Toby Salmon was unsuccessful with the difficult conversion, but Farnham led 5-0.

After 15 minutes of sparring with Farnham having the edge in the territorial battle, Old Colfeians responded through their larger pack. An error in defence saw Farnham kick the ball straight out to give Old Colfeians a lineout just outside the Farnham 22.

The Farnham defence forced the knock-on, but they were shoved off their ball at the scrum and the visitors’ Andy O’Malley picked from the base and attacked the blind side. The Farnham defence held but conceded a couple of penalties in the process. Old Colfeians spurned the boot for the scrum and while the Farnham defence gathered for the frontal assault, Old Colfeians spun the ball left and right and their pacey winger Estefan Ellis went over in the corner. The tricky conversion attempt dropped short.

From the restart, Old Colfeians attempted to make ground in their own 22 through the phases ahead of the clearance kick. Farnham’s aggressive defence was not confined to their own 22 and they put Old Colfeians under pressure to win a penalty.

Toby Salmon kicked to the corner and the catch and drive worked once again. This time it was second row Tom Dullage’s turn to stand up from the in-goal area with ball in hand and a smile on his face. Toby Salmon made sure of the conversion, and Farnham led 12-5.

Within two minutes Dullage was on the scoresheet again. At the restart, Henderson broke out and Farnham were deep in Old Colfeians territory. Hauled down, the ruck was secured and Harry West at scrum half fizzed the ball to Toby Salmon who dabbed it behind the Old Colfeians defence who scrambled to clear. Their clearance kick was charged down by the rapid Nathan Phillimore, and in the melee Dullage picked up and dived over. The conversion put Farnham 19-5 up.

As the half drew to a close, Old Colfeians attacked and Farnham held thanks to a brilliant Oban Baird turnover followed by a siege gun of a penalty kick by full-back Mike Salmon that took Farnham out of their 22 and deep into the visitors’ half.

The second half opened with Farnham moving the ball sharply by hand between forwards and backs while probing for the opening. Old Colfeians eventually forced a knock on. They won their ball at the scrum, but significantly the Farnham pack held its ground.

In Old Colfeians’ subsequent attacks, Farnham were adjudged to have tackled high and the penalties pinned them in their 22. The defence held and it took a piece of individual skill from Old Colfeians’ Quba Edwin to open Farnham up.

From just inside the Farnham half, he chipped over the cover defence and with electric pace dotted the ball down out wide. The conversion went wide, and the score was 19-10.

The visitors put in some impressive phases from the restart and released Edwin again, only for Stennett to produce a try-saving tackle.

The Farnham coaches shuffled the pack. On came Mike Mizzi and Jack Bemelmans on the flanks, while Henderson joined Rob Mitchell in the row and Jonny Vincent moved from the flank to number eight. Dullage and Toby Comley were brought off.

Bemelmans had an immediate impact, getting over the ball as a Old Colfeians player clung on. Toby Salmon pinged the penalty to the corner where Old Colfeians did not contest the maul and put Farnham players “accidentally offside”. The Old Colfeians scrum was stable and the visitors cleared to the halfway line. From the lineout, Matt Farnes broke the line and forced Old Colfeians to cough up the penalty for not releasing. With unerring accuracy, Toby Salmon widened the gap by taking the three points on offer to make it 22-10.

West was then replaced by Ollie Brown at scrum half.

After a period of cut and thrust, Farnham were penalised for not rolling away. The Old Colfeians penalty arched into the Farnham 22 towards the touchline, but before it got there Mike Salmon fielded and returned the ball back to touch on the halfway line.

Inspired by that brilliant defensive play, Farnham’s attack burst into life and a slick move off the back of a firm set scrum put Toby Salmon clear 30 metres out and his pace and step took him over under the posts for the try bonus point. He converted his own try, and Farnham led 29-10.

From an Old Colfeians lineout 30 metres from the Farnham line, Charlie Baker found the space in midfield to gallop through the defence and score a converted try.

Woodhams was then carded for killing the ball, but the home side held on for the win.

Farnham will travel to Dartfordians on Saturday.

Report: Mark Weeks

Photos: Julian Frost