FARNHAM Rugby Club supporters started to arrive at the Monkton Lane ground as early as 8am on Saturday ahead of the RFU Senior Vase final at Twickenham.
After media interviews, the squad was greeted on the first-team pitch by some 500 well-wishers and Bollé, one of the club sponsors, presented each player with a pair of sunglasses.
It resembled some sort of Mafia reunion, but spirits were high as the players were applauded off the field and onto the team bus, closely followed by a flotilla of coaches and cars. The most important day in the club’s history was underway.
Twickenham was awash with colour, plus all the razzmatazz and loud music of the modern game, for the four scheduled matches on this RFU Cup Finals Day – the Junior Vase, the Senior Vase, the Intermediate Cup and the National U20 Championship Final.
The whole operation, with eight sets of supporters, committee lunches and drinks areas and receptions, was run with military precision. ‘Camp Farnham’ in the North Car Park, erected by John Wickens’ team, was swamped with excited supporters who gathered for pre-game drinks.
The Farnham followers were massed in the cavernous West Stand when the Senior Vase finalists were presented on the pitch to England RFU vice-president Chris Kelly and the two club presidents, Farnham’s Geoff Bond and Droitwich’s Paul Smith.
As kick-off approached, the noise from both sets of supporters was deafening.
Interestingly, the two club presidents had once played together at Harlequins, so there was much banter before and after the game. The Farnham party who were guests of the RFU president were Geoff Bond, Geoff Robins, Andrew Rubio, Steve Tomlinson, Julian Frost and Mark Weeks.
* Farnham enjoyed support from several quarters, not just club members. The crowd included Chris Storey (Mayor of Waverley), David Gill (Farnham Sports Council Chairman), Ian Lynch (Farnham Town Clerk), members of other rugby clubs and some Aldershot Town FC supporters. A party from Haslemere Rugby Club included stalwarts ‘Digby’ Daly, keen to see how his son performed on the big stage, and ‘Tiger’ Newell amongst others.
* Farnham’s 37-15 victory over Droitwich in the ?Senior Vase final can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfnL-V-Y77A
All four finals are shown in full and the Senior Vase game starts two hours into the recording.