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Woking travelled down to Aldershot on Saturday for the first round of the RFU junior vase against a confident Aldershot and Fleet side buoyed by their promotion to Hampshire division 1 at the end of last season. The conditions were good for running rugby though it was very hot.
Woking started brightly and were in the ascendancy for the first 20 minutes as they surprised their hosts with some running rugby and committed play at the break down. As the second quarter got underway Aldershot began to stretch Woking who were feeling the pressure and heat. A couple of missed tackles from Woking in the backs proved costly and Aldershot progressed deep into the Woking 22 metre. Continued pressure saw them barge over from close in to the posts and score a good try that was converted. The score was not against the run of play but Woking were pretty unlucky to concede after a bright start.
Woking No.10 Mike Aitcheson produced a spark of magic with a chip and chase from within his own half that he re-gathered and then surged past the defence to score the try. As half time approached Aldershot were stretching the Woking defence and scored on the right wing and between the posts quickly on 38 minutes and 40 minutes.
The second half opened the way the first finished for Aldershot with a try on the left through the backs and then from strong scrummaging they scored a push over try in Woking’s right corner. Woking were competing well in most aspects of the game – the lineout went pretty well, but Aldershot were well drilled and had a few set piece moves and drills that gave them the edge over Woking. Further the Aldershot defensive line was strong and when Woking got the ball wide to wings Tom Eker, Evan Marchant and fullback Chris Wallis they made little forward progress that threatened Aldershot’s line. One concerted period of play from Woking was rewarded with points as a break by the backs was latched onto by the forwards and back row Phil Robertson drove over from close and Aitch converted. Aldershot had the last say though with a well worked try off the lineout down the short side. The conversion of the try proved to be the final score of the game. Woking Captain said after the game ‘ This was tough but educational for Woking. A hard close game against Chobham development squad last week, and this game have provided us with something to benchmark ourselves against. There are positive signs but there is much to do.’