The last game of the league season was also the last senior game at Wrecclesham and the Hornets were determined to put in a performance worthy of saying farewell to the home of Farnham rugby.
Battersea travelled down in the hope of securing the league title and anticipated meeting a team ready for the off-season. Although having endured an inconsistent season, with games regularly cancelled by the opposition, the Hornets have been a match for any team in the league and today was to be no exception.
Anyone who witnessed this game could attest to the physicality and determination on show from both teams but neither side gained the upper hand for sufficient lengths to cause the opposition major problems. That it took nearly half an hour for any points to be registered shows defences were dominant although both had half chances that they failed to convert.
It was Battersea that got the score when the first missed tackle of the game allowed the winger to edge past the cover defence to score out wide, the conversion was missed. Farnham had two opportunities to respond but both penalties drifted narrowly wide. At half time then the score stood at 0-5.
With wholesale changes it could easily have gone against Farnham in the second half but such is the strength in depth that has developed over the season that there wasn’t any let up in the ferocity of Farnham’s play.
From the whistle, the Hornets were back in the opposition half with big tackles being made all over the pitch. The opposition were left frustrated as the defence put pressure on the ball carrier and stifled the back line. With fifteen minutes gone Battersea gained a penalty in the Farnham half and took the three points to extend the lead to 0-8.
Ten minutes later Ironsides registered their second try when Farnham switched off, thinking they had been awarded a penalty, only to see Battersea play on and score in the corner. The missed conversion made the score 0-13. It was a blow to the home team after all the hard work but it only served to galvanise the team and Farnham were quick to register the next score.
The dominant Farnham lineout continued their outstanding work and a rolling maul, from the opposition 22m, slowly gathered pace and with the opposition left in disarray Chris Harrison peeled off to cross untouched. The conversion was missed and with only five minutes left to play, Battersea kept the ball tight and played down the clock to edge a close game 5-13.
Both teams realised they had been in a battle but Battersea just about deserved the victory although Farnham can be proud of their efforts. Both sides retired to the bar and a lively bit of banter saw Farnham turn defeat into victory winning the drinking games. Some sore heads the next day for both teams were almost guaranteed.
Having been promoted last season the goal of a top half finish was accomplished this year. Next season, the target will be to improve on this performance and if the bulk of this team can stay together, that shouldn’t be a problem.