Old Haileyburians v Woking

Match Date: 
Woking Team: 
First XV
Opponent Team: 
Old Haileyburians 1's


Woking Score: 
Opponent Score: 

Old Haileyburians RFC v Woking RFC
Surrey League Division Four

With the Surrey League Division 4 only just underway, Woking RFC had kept a close eye on the first round results and duly noted the 77 points which recently relegated side Old Haileyburians had put on Wandsworthians the previous Saturday. It was with this in mind that preparations were made for their forthcoming encounter, focusing on perfecting the set pieces which had been a struggle the previous Saturday and boostering the forwards with return of pack leader Phil Robertson.

Woking kicked off with a lovely hanging ball from Justin Doherty and Steve Rhodes had no problem in plucking it out of the failing grasps of the Old Haileyburians pack and led play towards the opposition 22. With second phase crash ball picked up by Woking's Tom Bennett, Old Haileyburians buckled under the early pressure from the away side and conceded a penalty. But what should have been an easy three points for Andy Hussey proved to be an impossibility and he curled the ball wide past the uprights.

Old Haileyburians cleared from the restart and briefly visited the Woking half, but the ball was collected by Woking's Tommy Roberts who scooted up his wing breaking through the tackles to reach the home side's 22. Further pressure from Woking resulted in a free kick and the ball was spun through the Woking's backs hands to a somewhat isolated Matt Armstrong. With three Old Haileyburians defenders on him he did exceedingly well to win the second penalty of the match within kicking distance. But it wasn't Andy Hussey's day as he pulled the his second attempt and the flags stayed down.

However, not to be deturbed Woking kept the pressure on the home side who struggled to break out of their own half. Good tacking and quick rucking from an Old Haileyburians line out resulted in turnover ball for Woking and with a cheeky little speculative overhead pass from Captain Mike Aitchison straight into the hands of Phil Robertson, Woking looked to be through but for some last ditch tackling from the home side. The pressure was relieved with a kick to the 10 meter. Woking set a rolling maul from the preceding lineout which tied in the Old Haileyburians pack, the ball was spun wide to Justin Dougherty who bounced one, bounced two defenders to crash over for the opening points of the game. Andy Hussey took what looked to be a laid-back-almost-lazy attempt at the conversion which was nearly charged down but he was on target and added the extra points making the score 0 - 7.

Further pressure from the restart with invading runs by prop duo Mark Riddell and Ben Bremner took the Woking pack back into the Old Haileyburians half. When the ball reached the backs Mike Aitchison seemed to have decided that 'cheek' was the word of the day with a successful 'cheeky' attempt at a drop goal.
Play then became scrappy for the remainder of the half with both sides conceding a myriad of penalties mainly for not releasing in the tackle area until Dan Edwards linked with scrum half James Bannister to break the Old Haileyburians defending line and an inside pop pass to Phil Robertson put him over for Woking's second try. Subsequently converted by Andy Hussey the half time score was 0 – 17.

The second half started with Old Haileyburians turning the tables on Woking. From a line out the home side broke up their inside wing and despite fierce tackling they reached the half way line. The ball was passed inside and with a handoff and this time some sloppy tackling they were through and touched down under the posts 7 - 17.

Further tries for Woking came from Steve Rhodes who disrupted an Old Haileyburians scrum on their 5 meter line and Tommy Roberts who was rewarded for a second blistering run up his wing. Not to be put down Old Haileyburians fought back with a score from one of the restarts but it was super-sub Shaun Gilbert who had the last say. After a number of blistering runs and some fantastic supporting play, he broke up the wing closely pursued by the defending team for what looked to be a certain try. However, just 5 meters short he was snagged by a tackle and as he looked for the offload the ball bounced out of control and on into touch. A full time score of 14 - 31 giving Woking the win and the 4 try bonus point.

'An outstanding display of teamwork and determination. Really good to get the first league win of the season registered against a tough opposition. Still lots to work on but a big step in the right direction' commented Captain Aitchison after the game.

Riddell, Blundell, Bremner, Robertson, Bennett, Rhodes, McGiven, Smith, Bannister, Aitchison ©, Armstrong, Dougherty, Edwards, Roberts, Hussey.

Subs Childs, Gilbert, Hursthouse.