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Woking welcomed a young Reeds Weybridge side to Byfleet Rec. on Saturday. Having watched a glorious England display against Italy, Woking took the field inspired by both the international game and the weather. From the kick off big Nathan Buckley caught and charged at the opposition, their faces a picture of terror as they dived to get out of his way! The Woking pack cleared out any remaining opposition leaving a simple, but well executed wide pass from Aitchison to Dan Edwards, who crossed the line for an immediate 5 points, converted also by Edwards.
The following passages of play were very much the same as Adam Smith, John Stedman and Steve Rhodes lead the Woking pack up the field, sucking in all of Reeds' defence. This gave the Woking back line some space to play in and the rugby was almost as champagne as the weather. Ryan England made some strong carries in the centres whilst Evan Marchant was on form with some hazy, meandering runs. If not for Reeds' nimble 9 and 14, Woking would have put the game beyond reach in the first 20 minutes. But a number of last ditch tackles prevented the 5 points on a number of occasions, until captain Smith decided to take penalty points and re-group. Dan Edwards slotted his kick to go 10-0 up.
The Weybridge team lacked any real conviction in attack, and with ball in hand Woking were thoroughly enjoying their day, stringing phase after phase together. A wild pass from James Bannister inadvertently found the hands of Steve Rhodes, who all but fell over the try line in surprise. Again converted by Dan Edwards making the half time score 17-0.
Woking continued to dominate the second half. Adam Smith charged over unopposed for another 5 points in the opening minutes and Dan Edwards, clearly enjoying the perfect conditions slotted yet another conversion, 24-0. Things looked to be going swimmingly until Steve Rhodes was deemed to be killing the ball and sent from the field for a 10 minute break. Woking held out for the 10 minutes even slotting a further penalty off Dan Edward’s boot to take a 27-0 lead. However the lack of a man had taken its toll and this proved the turning point of the game. Woking's attack gradually ground to a halt as energy levels dipped and play became scrappy. The Woking forwards lost their shape leaving the backs to defend with some great up front tackling from Aitchison, Shaun Gilbert and Chris Wallis, but ultimately the holes became too large to plug. A fractured knee-cap for big Nathan Buckley completely took the wind out of Woking sails and they looked to crumble conceding 27 points in as many minutes!
A last ditch effort to rally the troops led to a great re-start from Aitchison which was gathered by an eager-to-make-amends Steve Rhodes. A sublime passage of interlinking play between the entire of the Woking team was finished off in style by skipper Adam Smith, dragging several Reeds players over the try line with him. This was converted by Dan Edwards to complete his 100% tally. The final score killed the game and Woking ran in victorious at 34-27.
Adam Smith commented, "For once a really gutsy performance. We ran ourselves out covering for our missing man and the young legs of the Reeds team nearly got us. Some great determination showed by all and despite his yellow card, Steve Rhodes really was the difference between the two sides today. A great man of the match performance, but also a great team effort in general!"
Woking 2's also had a successful day with Andy Hussey slotting a last minute penalty against Guilfordians to win 22-19. This leaves them clear top of the merit table. A great day all round for Woking rugby!