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Woking travelled to Whitely Village to play Reeds Weybridge in the league for the first time in several years. Despite having played against them in a charity match last April, they were an unknown quantity. Possibly aiding by the slope of the pitch, it turned out to be a classic example of a game of two halves, with Woking dominant in the first half, but under the cosh for most of the second.
The first half saw Woking playing down the slope and dominating in terms of territory and possession. Reeds were tackling well, though and Woking's first forays through backs Thomas Pedrona and Chris Wallis were thwarted. With the scrum working very well, Woking's forwards came to the fore. A Reeds knock-on on the try line gifted Woking a scrum five metres out, the pack held firm and captain Adam Smith peeled off the back to barge over the line and open the scoring. Chris Wallis added the extras to make it 7-0. Reeds replied quickly from the boot; Michael Aitchison went offside and the resulting penalty was hit straight between the posts, with just enough legs to get over the bar. That got Reeds back into the match, but Woking's pack were soon given another chance to assert their dominance. A scrum was driven over the try line at the second attempt, leaving the Reeds defence unable to prevent scrum-half Steve Workman from scoring Woking's second try.
Woking's backs continued to probe, and on the twenty minute mark Michael Aitchison off-loaded to Ryan England who stormed through a gap to score next to the posts. 19-3 and Woking were on the hunt for a fourth try that would give them a bonus. It came ten minutes later; Neil 'Dorothy' Murphy clicked the heels of his sparkly, red boots together, drew two Reeds players in and set free Thomas Pedrona to run in a try near the corner. The try was much celebrated as it was Thomas's last game for the club before returning to his native France. Woking pressured the Reeds backline with a series of kicks, chips and chases, but could not get close to scoring again. At half-time it was 24-3 and had been quite a one-sided affair.
Whether it was the effect of playing up the slope or not, the second half was completely different. For long periods Woking struggled to get out of their own half, whilst Reeds attacked time and again. The pressure seemed like it had to tell, but Woking defended stoutly, if desperately at times. Twice, Woking broke away through good runs from Phil Robertson and Adam Smith, but the final pass always seemed to go astray and nothing came of them except some brief respite from being on the defensive. With less than ten minutes to go, the breakthrough finally came when Tom Bennett, imagining himself a scrum-half rather than a lock forward, went for a box kick on the Woking try-line but mis-hit it. The ball fell kindly for Reeds, who powered over. There was not much time to overturn a fourteen point deficit, but Reeds were in the ascendancy. This state did not last long. Ryan England showed brilliant anticipation to intercept a pass in the middle of the pitch and ran through unopposed to score Woking's fifth try. Though the easy conversion was missed, the Woking lead was back up to nineteen points, which seemed unassailable in the fading light. Though there were a few minutes left, little of note happened in them and it finished 29-10 to Woking.
The 5-point victory sees Woking close the gap to the top two slightly; Met Police and Old Glyns both won, but didn't pick up bonus points. It's the halfway point of the league season which will resume again on the 5th of January 2013 (unless the weather intervenes) when Woking entertain Wandsworthians.