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Having travelled over to Reigate and losing 31-21 at the back end of last year, Woking were looking to get back on form against one of the teams doing well in the league this year. Phil Robertson back from injury provided a boost in confidence for Woking’s forward pack, and from the off the big boys looked up for a game, at last.
Steve Rhodes lead the charges with a number of line breaks early on and Reigate conceded a number of penalties in the first 10 minutes, obviously rattled by the pace at which the game had set off. Using inside options of powerful ball carriers such as Adam Smith, John Stedman, and Nathan Buckley, Aitchison created a space for himself on the outside to dart through for the first points of the game, running in for 5 under the posts, promptly converted by Dan Edwards.
The game evened up as Reigate began to get some structure to their game, but with the new coaching of Pete D’Cruz, the Woking defence around the fringes looked solid. Reigate were repelled a number of times from the Woking try line, and one such excellent turnover from a lineout gave Dan Edwards some space to inter-link with Aitchison, who beat a number of defenders to go the length of the pitch and take Woking comfortably clear at 12-0.
A final flurry from Woking in the first half saw some wonderful phase play, the good weather obviously suiting the Woking backs flowing style of play, something that has been noticeably lacking in recent times! A sleight of hand from Aitchison placed the charging Phil Robertson over the white-wash, converted by Edwards to take the sides in at 19-0.
The second half could not have been more different if it was scripted. A poor kick off from Aitchison put Woking under un-necessary pressure, and the until now solid Woking scrum crumbled. Reigate felt the change in momentum and as their confidence increased, the Woking defence was stretched beyond repair, and Reigate squeezed into the corner for 5.
The game became very open, gaps appearing on both sides, but last ditch defence from Chris Wallis, Shaun Gilbert, and Phil Nash kept Reigate at bay time and time again. With a final attempt for a bonus point Woking’s Dan Edwards, Mike Aitchison and Phil Nash combined beautifully to go the full length of the pitch, only for no.9 James Bannister to drop the final pass in obvious surprise that it had found his hands. The game closed at 19-5.
Captain Adam Smith had mixed emotions, “A wonderful first half performance, but we took our foot off the gas too early and let them back into what should have been entirely our game. That said, over the two fixtures, a 40-36 victory to Woking, against a team challenging for one of the top league spots is a great indicator of how unlucky we have been with some of our injuries to key players this year. Now we have a great platform to start work towards next season, and still have a cup to challenge for in two weeks' time!”