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Woking II XV 13 – Cranleigh IIXV 7
Saturday 22nd November
Surrey Conference 4
Woking II XV returned to the field at Byfleet to face a strong Cranleigh side who would prove a tough test. The morning weather had ensured an afternoon of slippery conditions would follow with Woking keen to pick up their third consecutive league win of the season. Woking could have suffered an early set back when self-appointed super prop Colin Pearce forgot to pack his boots had not a spare pair been at hand.
The game got underway with Woking receiving the kick off and taking the game back to Cranleigh through the forwards. Good physical rugby followed with the ball carriers of Woking making good headway up the pitch before the ball was spun out to the backs. Number 10 Liam Blundell placed a neat little grubber kick through the defensive line which he duly collected but was held up just short of the try line by the scramble defence.
As the play progressed the Woking pack asserted its dominance on the visitors and gradually began to mount the pressure. Cranleigh struggled to defend conceding penalties in their 22 desperately trying to hold out the Woking backs who were spreading the ball wide, creating space and stretching the defensive line. The break through finally came when Woking hooker Matt Edwards took a quick tap penalty and ran through the midst of the bodies scattered on the ground to cross the line under the posts. Blundell butchered the easy conversion kick leaving Woking with a 5 – 0 lead.
The pace of the game picked up after the restart but due to the adverse weather conditions both sides continuously knocked the ball on and play became scrappy. Woking became frustrated at the breakdown area as Cranleigh seemed to be constantly killing the ball and trying to slow play down. Woking forwards through number 8 Adam Smith took the game by the scruff. With supporting runs from Matt Childs and Tom Bennett they slowly began to make territory. This awakened the Woking backs and they utilised the space created by the forwards with strong runs from centres Ryan England and Shane Connaughton who burst through the line. However silly tactical mistakes cost Woking dearly and they had to wait a good 20 minutes before troubling the Cranleigh try line again.
A good phase play build up saw Woking winger Kerion Siddons storm down the side line followed by Smith and Jason Williams who secured the ball. Quick recycling then saw number 10 Blundell almost break through but he was held up just short. However scrumhalf Ross Cahalane's quick thinking saw him pick the ball up and dive over to score in the corner. Connaughton agonisingly missed the conversion.
Now Woking were again in the ascendancy as fullback Tommy Roberts broke the line and surged forward before offloading to Matt Brennan who made good ground at the edge of the Cranleigh 22. Cranleigh again tried to slow play down and conceded the penalty. Taken quickly by Williams he offloaded to Blundell who was held inches short of the line by a last gasp tackle. Woking then elected for the posts handing the ball to Connaughton to slot over. This time he was successful and gave Woking a 13 - 0 lead at the break.
Woking made only two changes at half time bringing on the versatile prop Martin Philips for the tiring Nathan Buckley and Ben Dinsdale into the backs to replace the injured England. The second half was a hard fought battle with both sides making last ditch tackles time and time again in attempt to prevent a score. Cranleigh were keen to break through but the home side defended like warriors. Determined to keep the lead they fought back hard with excellent runs by Phillips, Smith and Bennett to name a few, but failed to capitalise on their chances.
The nature of the game took its toll on Woking an the bench proved vital. Evan Marchant entered the pitch providing a fresh pair of legs on the wing. As Woking tightened their grip on the game deep into the Cranleigh half a try seemed certain for winger Jay Marsden but unfortunately he just couldn’t keep hold of the ball.
For the last 10 minutes Woking defended hard against an onslaught by Cranleigh. Eventually with the last play of the game the tired Woking defence gave way allowing Cranleigh to score. They secured the conversion and made the final score 13 - 7 to Woking.
On regaining his breath Captain Williams stated “This was a fantastic result today, they clearly had better individual players than us in certain positions but as a team were the better unit. Every one of you but your bodies on the line and made the effort to ensure we won, I couldn’t have asked for any more. Look how far we have come in four years, this is what we train and play for - to win hard games of rugby.”
If you are interested in playing some good hard social rugby then please email Woking’s II XV captain to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pearce (Marchant), Edwards M, Buckley (Phiilips), Williams (c), Bennett T, Childs M, Brennan, Smith A, Cahalane, Blundell, Siddons, Connaughton, England (Dinsdale), Marsden, Roberts.
Unused Subs: Hammond, Power, Grady, Fisher, Long, Smith T.
Man of the match: Ross Cahalane…played well and sniffed out a typical 9 try.
D**k of the day: Colin Pearce….demonstrating once again he cannot live without help from his family/friends/dog/hamster/Care Bear.