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Woking sponsored by Events that Matter faced Merton in the quarter final of the Surrey Bowl on Saturday keen to avenge the defeat they had suffered at the hands of Merton a few weeks before in the league. Woking started brightly but rather than taking the ball on much of the play was lateral and they failed to get going in the backs with some poor handling letting them down.
As Merton took the turnover ball back to Woking, Woking were strong in defence but Merton drove deep into the Woking 22 and there was desperate defence from Woking’s Chris Wallis to prevent the try. Securing the scrum in their 22 Woking tried to run the ball out from deep but they were penalised and Merton took a quick penalty and ran in for a try.
From the restart Woking improved their game and minutes later Neil Murphy burst over the Merton try line close to the posts for a morale boosting score. The conversion was missed.
Merton chased the restart well and pressed Woking deep into their 22. Woking failed to clear the ball and were penalised at the breakdown. Again Merton were sharp off the mark and they spun the ball wide creating a simple overlap to score on their right wing. The conversion was missed. From the restart Woking secured the ball and scrum half James Bannister kicked the ball wide to the right when a mores simple pass might have lead to a Woking try. Instead the Merton full back claimed the mark and the cleared the ball out of their 22.
Regaioning poseesion from the line out where Dan Hills was having a good game Woking drove the ball up on nthe right then spun the ball wide on the lefdt. Maintaing the pressure Woking drove for the line but when 5 metres out they were penalised for holding on and Merton cleared their lines and the half time whistle sounded.
In the second half Merton began to step up the pressure and through several good handling moves were threatening a further score when Neil Murphy intercepted the ball for
Woking and started off on a sprint the length of the field. He was chased down metres froim the Merton line an the ball went loose and Merton cleared their lines. Merton were awarded a penalty in front of the Woking posts minutes later and they slotted the kick.
Woking put together a good passage of play which buoyed the side and they were further encouraged when Phil Robertson ran a cracking angle off Mike Aitchison in the Mewrton 22 and scored a good try that was converted. Merton raised their game as Woking began to lose their shape in defence running in a couple of tries through the backs. Minutes later as Woking began to rather uncharacteristically fall off their tackles Merton scored a further try wide on the right. Woking were dejected at the three rapid tries that had been scored, since whilst they never dominated sufficiently in the second half, they did look as if they could spring a surprise.
Merton’s hat trick of tries proved a killer set of punches that put paid to any such turnup however Woking went close when Dan Edwards ran 60 metres and passed right to James Bannister on the wing who couldn’t grab the ball and a certain try was missed. As the game drew to a close, Woking again pressed deep into the Merton half and secured a scrum 5 metres from the Merton line. A powerful scrum from Woking allowed No 8 Adam Smith to pick up at the base of the scrum and drive over for a consolation try.
Adam commented after the game ‘We are a bit deflated after this match – things just did not work out for us, we did some things well but didn’t have the all round game – notably in defence.’