Farnham beat Chobham 50-35 at Monkton Lane on Saturday in the opening round of the Papa Johns Community Cup.

Both teams finished seventh in their Level 6 leagues with both teams accumulating a sack full of try bonus points. With two attacking sides looking for a good cup run to round off their seasons, the sizeable crowd anticipated a ding-dong battle.

Chobham kicked off with the wind behind them. The visitors started the game well. Using their strong set piece to gain forward momentum, there were soon within touching distance of the Farnham line. They patiently kept it tight and powered over from close range for their opening score.

Farnham looked threatening with ball in hand. The pack was bolstered by the return of Oscar Henderson. Barrelling runs by him and Harrison Horner made early inroads into Chobham territory. Farnham had a scrum five metres out from which the initial carry from the base was held short. The ball was recycled and shipped to Toby Salmon who sliced through to open Farnham’s account.

Farnham wrestled the momentum in their favour when Jack Scullion and Reece Stennett combined well to put Farnham in behind the Chobham defence. Harry West spun the ball away to find Henderson running a good line. He burst through the defence to dive over for Farnham’s second try.

Chobham came back quickly as Farnham failed to clear their lines at the restart. The Chobham scrum dominated. Their mighty shove was stopped just short from where the Chobham scrum-half slipped through two tackles to dive over for their second try.

Farnham were next to score. Jemi Akin-Olugbade broke through a couple of tackles before offloading to Jack Bemelmans, who found flanker Jack Haylett on his shoulder to run in under the posts.

Chobham were determined to get to half-time on level terms and were gifted good field position by some unforced errors from Farnham. The ball was kept tight before the Chobham centre powered over from close range.

Farnham had the wind behind them in the second half and used it to pin Chobham back. A penalty in front of the posts gave Salmon the chance to give Farnham the lead, which he took.

An injury to Callum Jones meant Joe Wigmore came on for his first appearance since rejoining the club. Loose forwards Mike Mizzi and debutant Tom Hammond also came on with Jeff Leybourne bolstering the front row. Wigmore made an immediate impact, earning a breakdown penalty 40 metres out. Salmon opted for the posts and an accurate strike extended Farnham’s lead.

Farnham dominated possession as Chobham’s pack tired. A well-worked lineout move saw Scullion break through and draw the last defender to put Toby Simmons away, and he passed to Henderson who dotted down.

Farnham pinned Chobham back and earned a penalty 25 metres out which Salmon converted to extend Farnham’s lead. Chobham refused to throw in the towel and another poor restart exit from Farnham gave Chobham a chance to kick to the corner. Although the initial drive was stopped, their forward pack found space in the corner to score their fourth try.

Chobham had the momentum. A Farnham scrum on their 22 provided the Chobham pack a good opportunity to earn a scrum penalty. However, with his pack being shoved smartly backwards, Henderson cleaned up the ball from the base and got Farnham out of danger. He then beat two defenders on the blindside before offloading to Bemelmans, who reached the Chobham 22. The ball was recycled through Akin-Olugbade and Salmon and Scullion finished in the corner.

The game opened up as Chobham tried to stay in the game. Having unloaded their bench, their young replacement fly-half put in an audacious cross-field kick. This was gathered by their winger who skinned the defence and ran in under the posts.

With five minutes left on the clock, Farnham had a penalty just over 40 metres out. Salmon sent the ball through the middle of the posts to extend Farnham’s lead. Minutes later, Farnham won a penalty in the same spot and Salmon repeated the process with aplomb.

For the next round, Farnham make the long trip to South Gloucestershire club Thornbury RFC on Saturday.