Farnham 12 Old Walcountians 15

Wimbledon Guardian: Muddy marvels: Old Walcountians hooker Matt Houghton on the charge against Farnham during his side’s 15-12 victory in atrocious conditions  Alun Stockton Muddy marvels: Old Walcountians hooker Matt Houghton on the charge against Farnham during his side’s 15-12 victory in atrocious conditions Alun Stockton

Old Walcountians kept their slender hopes of making Surrey One’s promotion play-offs alive by defeating bottom side Farnham last Saturday.

Despite their opponents’ lowly League position, the Old Boys knew they would face a difficult afternoon.

Farnham have showed improved form of late and the combination of a muddy pitch and persistent rain made attractive rugby a non-event.

Walcountians went out with all guns blazing and immediately drove Farnham back into their own 22 as a rampant pack of forwards, with hooker Matt Houghton, who was to take four strikes against the head, second row Simon Fowler and flanker Scott Cook outstanding, took control of the game.

They were unlucky to have a try disallowed after two minutes when Cook was ruled to have run into team mate Kemlo Longstaff as he touched down.

But Farnham drew first blood in the 11th minute when their number eight wrong-footed Walcountians’ defence for a converted try.

Walcountians had difficulty breaking down Farnham’s tight defence but, after 20 minutes, number eight Gavin Welsh opened things up with a surging run. From the ruck formed after he was tackled, prop prop Llewellyn Wooldridge joined the line to put winger Tom Naylor away for his first try for the Old Boys.

Walcountians finally took the lead after 32 minutes when Simon Fowler retrieved an attempted clearance kick wide out on the left wing and charged through two attempted tackles for the first of two tries.

Farnham regained the lead four minutes into the second half when pressure on the Walcountians line was rewarded with a try for their inside centre following recycling of the ball from a ruck.

But Walcountians’ crucial score came mid-way through the second half when the energetic Fowler scored his second try of the day, breaking from 22m out and holding off defenders to score.

Walcountians had a let-off after 27 minutes when Farnham’s fly-half missed a kickable penalty, but they dug in well during the closing minutes against the relegation-threatened team.

Walcountians host Chipstead, who are one place and one point ahead of them in Surrey One, this Saturday (3pm).

The match will be preceded by a lunch for former players organised by Club President, Brian Nicholls..

Walcountians begin their defence of the Surrey Shield with a quarter-final against Battersea Ironsides under floodlights on March 30 (7.45pm).

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