Woking Narrowly Win in Pre Christmas Derby Away to Chobham

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Woking Team: 
First XV
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With Christmas looming Chobham and Woking met for a jovial run around on a wet and windy winters day. From the off joviality was replaced by the usual rivalry between the two local clubs, and a good old fashioned hard game of rugby ensued. With a vast majority of Woking players unavailable for the game, the team selection was varied, with possibly only the front row and no.10 starting in their usual positions on the field. Chobham took advantage of the disarray early on, returning a kick back the length of the pitch to score under the posts. As if Woking needed a wake-up call, Chobham capitalised once more on poor Woking defence to take an early lead of 12-0.

Strong words from pack leader Jon Hursthouse spurred the big fellows on to start trundling. Excellent work in the backs line between captain Mike Aitchison and club captain Richard Grady put Tom Smith into space, as he scythed down the wing only to be held up. The first scrum of the game saw the Woking front row in their element, surging forward and providing an excellent platform for the returning John Stedman to pick at 8 and drag a number of Chobham players over the try-line with him to pick up Woking's first points of the day.

Some excellent touchfinding kicks from Aitchison and Dougherty kept the territorial game ticking nicely, as Woking kept Chobham camped in their half for the remainder of the second half. An injury to Steve Rhodes forced the Woking front row to be separated as Marc Riddell stepped on the field at hooker. The impact was immediately positive as Riddell thundered his way over many an unfortunate soul, and desperate Chobham defence conceded a penalty on the 5 meter line. As if possessed, Riddell and fellow props Hamilton-Wilkes and Pearce, powered the scrum over the line, and John Stedman, thoroughly enjoying his return to the Woking no.8 shirt, controlled the ball excellently for a calm and collected push-over try.

The 2nd half started much as the 1st ended, with plenty of kicking to space from Aitchison, Grady and Dougherty. Chobham returned into the Woking half but a few times, only for Tom Eker to dance the ball back deep into opposition land. Woking's defence stood firm, the poor tackling of the 1st twenty minutes long forgotten, notably Richard Grady, cutting players half his age down to size on many occasion.

Consistently sound game management, and a powerfully dominant forward pack kept Woking's heads held high. Chobham frustration boiled over and a series of offside penalties lead to a yellow card for the Chobham flank. Woking instantly took advantage, driving yet another solid scrum over the line for Stedman to pick up his hat-trick.

The traveling Woking support out-roared the Chobham home support as a fiercely contested last ten minutes saw Woking hold on to take the victory 12-15. Captain Aitchison beamed after the game, "What a pleasure today was. Heads could very easily have dropped as we went down early on, but some real heart and passion from all our players made it an absolute pleasure to stand on the pitch with them today. A great result to carry us on into the New Year!"