In a special interview with Sport In Surrey’s Alex Lambe, the Farnham captain looks forward to a mouth-watering match.
Farnham prepare to take on second-placed Eastleigh this Saturday, in a top-of-the-table clash that leaves skipper Mike Salmon in no doubt about its importance.
The Surrey side remain one point ahead of their visitors at the top of London 3 South West, and head into this weekend’s potential title-decider looking to avenge their only defeat this season, which came at the hands of their Hampshire rivals back in October.
“There’s a big hype about this game, for obvious reasons. There is a big hype about it and that’s playing on people’s minds,” says Salmon.
“Since we lost to them away back in October it’s been on everyone’s minds that this is the crunch game for the season.”
Despite the importance of this weekend’s fixture Salmon has said the team are preparing for it as they would for any other game: “Today we’re training as per usual, I think we’ve got a few things to work on specifically in preparation for them as an opposition.
“We’re trying not to put too much onus on it, or any unnecessary pressure on the guys.”
The men from Monkton Lane have won their last 10 consecutive league games, whilst accumulating an astonishing 263 points in their last four, conceding only 43.
Salmon says the points tally in recent games will give the squad confidence ahead of Saturday’s showdown: “At Bognor away we scored the best part of 70 and Teddington the other week we scored 80 which is our biggest win of the year. We’ve never won there before, [but] we scored 12 tries.
“Conditions are getting a bit worse with the frost and then the rain last week, so we’re very happy with those performances and it certainly has given us confidence for this weekend, to take that confidence and take that performance level into this game, which is what you need to beat quality opposition like Eastleigh.”
Farnham’s team work ethic is proving to be a big factor behind their success. This is highlighted by the fact that every member of their squad has scored a try this season.
The Surrey side like to play an open brand of rugby and this could work in their favour this Saturday.
Salmon is pleased to see tries coming from all different positions: “It’s great to have tries coming from all angles and all areas of the park.”
“It’s not specific to any part of our game, it’s not just the backs, it’s not just off lineouts or scrums, set-pieces or anything like that – it’s a culmination of a team structure that we believe in and everyone buys into. It’s great to have that ability to score from more or less anywhere, in any scenario or any situation.”
Whilst Eastleigh remain unbeaten this season, Farnham are top thanks to a greater accumulation of try bonus points.
Whoever comes out on top in this fixture will gain a healthy advantage over their rivals, and this could prove vital come the end of the season.
Farnham narrowly lost to Eastleigh 19-17 in October despite leading 17-0 at one stage, with a yellow card not helping their cause.
Salmon insists his side can’t afford such lapses in the return fixture: “We can’t afford to get a sin bin, I think that’s paramount. With any fixture, you can’t really afford that.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re disciplined from the outset, try and maintain that… for 80 minutes.”
Salmon also believes his side can build momentum: “We tend to grow into a game and score more points in the second half, so I think it’s about learning from that and how Eastleigh play and how we want to play, trying to dictate the fixture in our favour. We need to maintain that discipline throughout the game in order for us to give us the best chance to score those tries.”
Both sides will give it their all on Saturday as Farnham aim to return to London 2 by continuing to play an open attractive style of rugby.
The game takes place at Monkton Lane on Saturday, kick-off is at 2:30pm.