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With the weather finally clearing to allow play, spirits in the Woking camp were high in anticipation of the game. The teams’ positive attitude provided a dominant start, with strong tackling and running testing the visiting side all round the field. The pressure proved too much to fend off and after several very solid scrums Woking drove over from the 5-meter line for skipper Adam Smith to start the scoreboard rolling.
Woking kept the opposition pinned back with a series of kicks to maintain territory and after some great chasing up from Eker, Wallis and Miller a penalty was awarded and Edwards stepped up and slotted the 3 points. From the restart Woking gathered and the back row of Smith, Hills, and Robertson combined to take the ball back deep into opposition territory. Further defensive pressure from Aitchison, Murphy and Dan Edwards forced turn over ball that Matt Edwards sublimely dummied through the utterly confused opposition defense before setting up a rolling maul, which was collapsed. From the penalty Woking’s pack drove over twice for Smith’s 2nd try. The new front row line up of Hamilton-Wilkes, Pearce and Hood was nothing short of sensational in the tight.
Whether tired from a lot of scrummaging, or a lack of general fitness after the recent bad weather, Woking’s pack went to sleep, getting very sloppy around the fringes. This weakness was quickly spotted and the opposition went through several times from the back of the ruck and scored a try to put them back in the game. Incensed by the lackadaisical attitude of the pack, Robertson and Smith went to town with a tirade of analytical criticism, to which Woking responded with elegant running from Aitchison, Murphy and Miller backed up by at least half of the forward pack that had woken up. An excellent training ground line out within the 22, caught, and driven, provided another 5 points for Woking as Robertson scored the third try of the game just before half time.
It’s a testament to how things currently are at Woking RFC that no one was happy with winning at half time. Despite some excellent phases of play the lack of training was resulting in sloppy errors, errors that needed to be stopped for Woking to reach full flow. The second half provided some such flow, with Hills breaking the line, a quickly recycled ball, a wonderful pass from hooker Hood and a perfectly executed wingers run, Miller taking the ball from Aitchison at depth, and at pace. There was nothing the opposition defense could do to get even close to stopping Miller from scorching over the try line. A true glimpse of what Woking are capable of when the whole team wakes up.
Unfortunately Woking went to bed again, a very similar situation to the first half, with a lack of protection at the break down and a lack of commitment to making tackles. Woking conceded a further five points having almost literally been run over. Yet again Robertson’s strong words and Smith’s leadership on the ball got Woking ticking, with some great work from Hurthouse, Bennett and Stedman securing ball and Edward brothers linking nicely at 9 and 10. The new lease of life released Murphy, Aitchison and Wallis into space and Woking’s back line, getting clean ball, danced their way all over the field.
A huge tackle from Murphy, closely followed by an equally sized tackled from Wallis really picked Woking’s spirits up further. Not to be outdone, Hills decided to smash a boom town of a tackle, and from the resulting knock on and scrum Woking powered deep into opposition territory and Adam Smith drove over for his hat-trick try. Woking finished the game strongly, and if they continue the last 20 minutes style of play into next weeks cup game, it could be exciting times down at Woking RFC. Final score 32-10.