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Woking, sponsored by Kwik cash took on local team Weybridge Reedonians in the league on Saturday in freezing conditions. The dusting of snow from the morning fall was melted by kick off at 3pm but the wind was biting and there were patches of the pitch that were very boggy. The game was on, and Woking were keen to make up for the disappointing cup exit that they had suffered the week before at the hands of Merton.
The conditions were not well suited to elegant back play as hands were cold and the ground was slippery. Hence the early stages of the game were dominated by forward exchanges that were pretty evenly contested. In the scrums an area that Woking often get the upper hand over their opposition- the strong Reeds pack was not getting pushed around. If anything it was the other way round with Woking under some pressure. At the line again matters were pretty even, though Woking lost some good possession with wayward throwing in.
Presented with a number of penalty opportunities in the Reeds 22, Woking strangely avoided the 3 point opportunities and instead opted for running penalties – all of which were poorly executed and appeared confused. Reeds were able to clear their lines in all cases. It took until late in the first half for Woking to finally break the deadlock when the forward drive that has characterised much of the Woking game structure this season provided Matt Edwards with the opportunity to spin off the back of a ruck and score a well taken try that brother Dan converted.
The second half was pretty similar although there was some end to end play as both sides kicked long and then struggled to defend against the counter attack. Woking got frustrated and were penalised repeatedly in the second half and to make matters worse poor discipline saw them chirping to the referee only to concede another 10 metres on three occasions. Woking’s Chris Wallis who is enjoying his role at fullback since the return of Thomas Pedrona to France put in another strong performance at full back in attack and notably defence. Second row Jon Hurtshouse was strong in the pack, putting in a load of work that secured him the Woking man of the match award, and Phil Robertson was the most effective Woking forward in the ground he made in attack and on the counter attack.
The second half stalemate did not give Woking any space for breathing and poor handling from Woking saw them ‘butcher’ at least 3 tries in the backs. Likewise as Reeds mounted their attacks Woking repeatedly avoided the simple catch and clear running the ball and putting themselves under intense pressure when their wayward passing and handling let them down.
Despite all this Woking hung on for what was just about a deserved victory.