Farnham Falcons Academy team (U18 Women) took part in their first ever National Cup Pool game this Saturday 20th November, away, against local rivals Guildfordians RFC. Against powerful opposition, the team were down 27-7 by half-time but fought back in the second half to score a further unanswered six tries and, despite 2 late scores from Guildford, in a thrilling finish, managed to hold on to win 37 – 43.
During the first half, and playing uphill on an ‘agricultural’, and steeply sloping pitch, Farnham struggled to implement their game plan, with Guildfordians’ powerful runners breaking through to score 5 tries. Farnham could not retain the ball sufficiently, conceding knock-ons and turnover penalties whenever they started to build momentum against a well-drilled opposition who took advantage at every opportunity. Farnham’s sole first half try came from a ‘tap-and-go’ penalty from No 7 Rosie Peet.
The Half-time huddle enabled the coaches to re-group the team, and, now playing with the slope in their favour, the Falcons started to assert their natural game plan as the Second Half commenced. Captain Tegan Larvan as playmaker at No 10, kicked deep to the corners to put Guildfordians under pressure, and they, trying to play from deep, dropped the ball, enabling Farnham (Rosie P) to pounce and score. Further tries came from: a blind-side break from Becca – ‘the Gazelle’ – Grogut, playing on the wing; a fantastic long kick (Tegan L) and chase (Becca G); chip kick (Tegan L) and chase (Rosie P); a direct powerful run from Centre Iley Bailey; and, following receipt of a Guildfordian kick-off, a smart off-load by Tegan L and arcing run from Rosie P. Guildfordians, to their credit fought back, retaining the ball well through multiple phases, and despite heroic Farnham tackling (Joss Barraud with a stand-out crunching tackle) managed 2 late tries before the final whistle was greeted with cheers from Farnham supporters.
Final score: Guildfordians 37, Falcons Academy 43. Of note, both teams scored 7 tries, but Tegan L, for the Falcons, converted 4 of the Farnham tries, compared to the one opposition conversion – this ultimately being the difference between the teams. As pleasing as the final result was, and the multiple strong individual performances, Head Coach Etienne Van Den Brink rightly highlighted the collective team spirit, self-belief and determination, summarising how proud he was of each and every single player in defeating such strong opposition having been 20 points behind at half time.
It was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable afternoon for players and spectators alike – we are always looking for new players with or without previous rugby experience – please get in touch if you want to have an amazing rugby experience at Farnham.