Berkshire Shire Hall travelled to Farnham Royal on a miserable Saturday afternoon looking to build on a good result last week against Faringdon. The away side travelled with a strong squad and with options on the bench that could change the game, they fancied their chances of victory.
Shire Hall started well with a deep kick from Rhys Stewart putting early pressure right from the off. The forwards established a dominance from the lineout early on and the backs once released were able to run well with the ball and make good yards. It was only a matter of time until Alex Webb found Rhys Stewart with a kick chipped over the defensive line allowing him to score the first try in the corner.
A fight back from Farnham was expected and they were able to put some pressure on the scrum. The game was beginning to get scrappy and following a period of sustained pressure Farnham were able to level the scores. Shire Hall regrouped and tightened up the defence, a break from the centres Stephane Margot and Luke Jellicoe opened up some space down the right wing and freed Rhys Stewart to score his second try of the game and this time the conversion.
Shire Hall started to put more pressure on Farnham Royal and continued to create good chances down the wings. Eventually the third breakthrough came once Shire moved the ball across the pitch well and then once the space opened up swung the ball back across the pitch to allow prop Matthew Margot to dive into the corner. Shire Hall went into the break with a 17-5 lead.
A slow start to the second half with some sloppy defending allowed Farnham Royal to score another try to bring it to 17-10. A spell of pressure from Farnham Royal was soaked up following the score and eventually Shire Hall got the game back under control when Rhys Stewart slotted a penalty to give a 10 point margin. The Shire Hall discipline was slipping and Farnham Royal were able to make good yards following a number of penalties, taking the three points proved to be a smart decision as Farnham Royal went over with another try.
A number of good chances fell to Shire Hall but good defensive work from Farnham Royal prevented further scores from the away side. Eventually the final breakthrough came when a rarely overthrown lineout fell into the arms of DLW at the back of the line who was able to smash the ball through a couple of defenders to wrap up the bonus point. Rhys Stewart slotted the conversion for a 27-15 win.
A great result for the Shire Hall lads, putting to rest the poor performances against Farnham Royal last season. With momentum continuing to build Shire Hall will be confident of a decent result when hosting Harwell next week.
MOTM: Luke Jellicoe
DOTD: Eric Murray (for having a punchable face)