Woking v Haslmere

Match Date: 
12/04/2014
Woking Team: 
First XV
Location: 
Home
Opponent Team: 
Haslemere
Type: 
League

Score

Woking Score: 
25
Opponent Score: 
28

The last game of the season saw the reverse fixture of the first game of the season. Woking previously travelled with a full complement to Haslemere and won 65-0, however the toll of a season meant Woking finished with a much weakened side from the previous encounter missing key men Adam Smith, Phil Robertson, and Dan Hills. Nonetheless, spirits were high, the weather was perfect, and to avoid being reliant on fixtures elsewhere Woking needed a win to secure 4th place.

Woking started poorly, dropping the ball from the kick off and putting the first test of the game down to a scrum. Colin Pearce, back on the pitch after a long leave of absence and relishing the opportunity, turned his man inside out but as the scrum went round a penalty was given and Woking spent the next ten minutes doggedly defending their try line. Haslemere's no. 10 left the pitch through a shoulder injury to be replaced by an unrecognized face, who immediately ran over opposite man Aitchison to score the first try of the game and convert himself. Haslemere's coach could be heard to exclaim, "Oh, he's pretty good, who is he then?" Woking soon found out that some giant men can kick the ball as well as run with it, as the unknown assailant kicked a glorious cross field kick from a penalty for Haslemere to score out on the left flank, promptly converting himself once more.

After briefly leaving the field after a clash of heads with Tom Eker caused a fountain of blood, Aitchison returned and took his opposite number on, stepping around the giant, a sensible option some would say, and weighting a pass to Dan Edwards to open Woking's points tally for the day. Edwards missed the conversion but slotted a penalty shortly after to bring the scores to 8-14 at half time. Strong words from Nick Franchino got the Woking pack fired up, whilst Aitchison discussed with fellow backs how to improve the game play. Whatever was said was taken on board and Woking came out firing on all cylinders in the 2nd half. Franchino and Rhodes led the way with some charging runs causing chaos. James Bannister sniping eagerly around the breakdown, strung a number of good passes together and as the ball flew through the backs line, Tom Eker stepped in off his man to score for Woking. The conversion was again missed by Edwards, 13-14.

Woking dominated the second half of the game but were cut down just short of the line on several occasions by some excellent scramble defence. Matt Edwards was in good form, selling dummies to the left, right and centre and was well supported by no.8 John Steadman and 2nd rows Matt Pullin and Jon Hursthouse. Haslemere's unknown no.10's boot proved the only release of the Woking pressure, clearing the lines, chipping through, and grubbering, all to great effect. Shaun Gilbert made some excellent covering runs, but one slight misplaced hand created an intercepted try and Halsemere scored against the run of play to take the game to 13 - 21.

Woking responded well scoring a quick return try as man of the match Steve Rhodes powered through and over for 5, but again the curse of the boot struck and Aitchison failed to find the mark, 21-18. A further breakaway try from Haslemere aptly converted nearly killed the game at 28-18, but with 10 minutes remaining Woking pushed hard. Aitchison crossed the line but had the try disallowed for a double movement before Colin Portley Pearce hit over the line at "pace" and gave a glimmer of hope. Aitchison converted, 28-25. A tense remaining few minutes saw Haslemere scramble defence time and time again, but with the last play of the game, the ball was lost forward after a poor decision by Aitchison, and the final league position was left to the fate of elsewhere.

Aitchison passed comment, "Today's game really summed up this season for us. It has been a real mixed bag with little consistency on and off the pitch. We have showed great character and we have fought back hard on a number of occasions, but ultimately just fallen short of the mark. The depth of the squad has been tested and a great number of players have represented the 1's well this year, which bodes very well for next season. We need to re-group over summer, iron out the main issues that we have identified come from a lack of training, and push again for promotion. After all, what's the point of aiming to finish anywhere other than top of the table! Congratulations must go to our 2nd team who have pulled off a fantastic season to deservedly win their league."