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With glorious sunshine as the teams turned up to Byfleet Rec. on Saturday, hopes were high for some beautiful flowing rugby. Alas, the teams came out ready to do battle to torrential rain! With captain Mike Aitchison winning his first coin toss of the season, Woking elected to kick off. A beautifully weighted kick was chased down by an aggressive Gareth Nearn, keen to impress after missing the previous weekend. In the tackle the ball was lost forwards and Woking had the first scrum of the game. The entire frustration of Woking's trip to Horley the previous week was embodied in the pack as they flew forwards, over, and through the opposition, a feat repeated on every scrum to follow.
The solid platform provided Woking with some good phase play and tight control of the ball in the slippery conditions. After a fiercely dogged first 20 minutes, with some wonderful territorial kicking from fly half Aitchison, and enthused chasing from debutante winger Sam benjamin, Woking crossed the line with a typically powerful pick and drive from Steve Rhodes. His power was short lived as he left the pitch with an injured ankle, making way for the glorious return of Dan Hills to the number 7 shirt. Hills could not have a more different style to Rhodes powerful and straight line running, but the change in dynamic broke the field of play open with hazy running and meandering side steps. Phil Robertson, Marc Ridell, and Ben Bremner continued the powerful ball carrying, whilst Sean Gilbert, Dan Hills and surprisingly John Stedman opted for the somewhat sensible approach of running at gaps!
In frustration the Raynes Park pack began slowing ball down illegally, and after sustained 10 minutes of pressure Woking were awarded a penalty on the 22. Rather than opting for the dominant scrum, captain Aitchison tapped and went, dancing his way untouched through the off-guard Raynes Park to head under the posts for 5. Conversion duly added by Andy Hussey. The story repeated itself 5 minutes later, after strong running from Justin Dougherty dragged several players down with him killing the ball. Aitchison tapped quick once more and despite the Raynes park attempts dragged two players with a long stretch to make another 5 pointer.
The sun came out for the second half. The game changed. The pitch opened up, and the ball began to flow around the pitch with ease. Last ditch tackles from Chris Wallis, Benjamin and Aitchison kept Raynes Park at bay, before Raynes Park no.8 tapped another quick penalty and powered over the try line with the finesse of a rhino. at 17-5 there was a brief glimmer of hope for Raynes Park, with 20 left to play. The glimmer was quickly quelled, as an injury to Andy Hussey saw Dan Hills step out to the centres. With the ball dry, the wide passing game from bannister and Aitchison kicked into full flow. A beautifully crafted backs move off another very solid scrum saw dougherty float a ball to Hills, who drifted round the defender and placed the ball back to Aitchison who headed under the posts for a hat-trick, converted by himself.
The bonus point try proved the breaking point for Raynes Park who's heads went down, and left the remaining 15 minutes of play wide open for Woking to exploit. Andy Hussey made the try line for one further try before the game was abruptly closed after a worrying head injury to Justin Dougherty. Fortunately it turned out to be melo-dramatic! The game closed at 29-5.
Club Captain Richard Grady, who sacrificed watching the England match to come and support his lads beamed, "Well, England couldn't do it, but Woking good. A dominant pack really allowed our backs to perform today. A thoroughly deserved team victory!"