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Effingham & Leatherhead III v Woking II
Woking II XV lost their league opponents at lunchtime on Friday and headed to the exchange to find a new game. Effingham and Leatherhead III XV offered to host, and a challenge was before Woking with another trip on the road albeit missing some players including super prop Pearce who had a bad case of the sniffles.
The game started brightly with the low winter sun beaming over the frosty pitch. Good rugby from both sides saw battle commence in the middle of the park in a furious mealy of tackles and rucks. Woking showed they were keen for the fight and not prepared to concede but had to dig deep as Effingham flung the ball wide their backs. However good defensive work from the Woking backs in particular Marsden, Siddons and Marchant kept the hosts at bay.
The deadlock was broken when Effingham stole the ball in the middle of the park and used their backs to great effect breaking down the far side, but with a covering run and tackle from second row Williams the move was halted. A deliberate penalty then given away by Williams for not rolling away slowed the game down allowing Woking the perfect opportunity to re-organise their defensive line. However as the visitors stood with their hands in their pockets, Effingham took a quick tap penalty and crashed over the line through three Woking players. With the conversion successful Efffingham took a 7 - 0 lead.
Woking buoyed by some good play settled in well and began to make progress up the field. With good interlinking by the forwards including second row Posh Parker, back rows Dinsdale, Childs and Gilbert made good ground as scrumhalf Ross bossed the pack. As progress was made winger Tom Smith saw something on in front of him and decided that he could beat 3 players on his own. He received the ball before being smashed into touch much to the amusement of the spectators.
Again Woking's defence in the middle was solid with inside centre Armstrong back from a long layoff with a broken fingernail making solid tackles all day. Number 10 Neil Murphy's boot pushed Woking up the field capitalising on the indiscipline of Effingham at the breakdown. The Woking lineout was working well with Gilbert rising like a salmon to claim the ball against the head on numerous occasions.
As the forwards of Woking thumped their way up the field with short bursts and good carries from Childs and Parker a cheeky little chip into the corner by Armstrong just rolled into touch putting Woking in a great attacking position. But Effingham broke again and the scrambled defence of Woking just about held them short. However again Woking conceded a penalty and again they were caught napping. A mirror try followed handing a halftime lead 14 - 0 to Effingham.
Woking rang the changes at halftime with the introduction of Hamilton Wilkes, Collins, and Buckley, and the second half was played at a high tempo suiting the youthful Effingham squad. Good play by Woking saw them lead the attack time and time again but each time just a little short of the try line as the impressive defence of Effingham prevented a score. As the progressed Woking tired and gaps were exposed. Effingham capitalised on this with an excellent lineout move which saw them burst through the Woking line to score their third try.
Further changes for Woking came with Stan Fisher and Richard Grady entering the field with 20 to go. A mere lad in his teens though he’d have the better of veteran Fisher but to his surprise he was smashed to the floor by the 70yr old Fisher demonstrating he hadn't lost his flair for tacking in the slightest. The rucks became fierce as both teams competed for the ball and at times some ill-discipline crept in to the Effingham side with players illegally smashing in at the side with malicious intent. One Woking player didn’t take kindly to this and retaliated with a single punch which saw him the yellow card. With Woking reduced to 14 they struggled to compete and the fresh legs of the replacement Effingham number 13 on loan from the II's were too much as he ran in three well worked tries to round the score off 41 - 0.
Woking's mood was soon uplifted with a fabulous spread of food they only dream of at Camphill. Posh Parker was particularly pleased and beamed “What a fine selection of cheese, anyone have the cherry?”
As Posh Parker collected the man of the match pint, a fraudulent slip by the Effingham captain revealed their side was more 2’s than 3’s and indeed a good 25+ players were clapped off the pitch by the Woking team!!!!
Reflecting on the game Woking's Captain Williams commented “This was a hard game of rugby, it’s a cliché but the score doesn’t reflect the performance. They had some extremely good players and I suspect this was mix of 2’s and 3’s. We played some good rugby but just lacked a bit of pace and fitness at times. This was test which we have come out of well and we can be proud of ourselves today.”
Woking II XV close the league year out sitting on fourth in their league table following promotion in the summer and are looking to push higher up the table in 2015.
If interested in playing some good hard social rugby then please email Woking’s II XV captain to get involve firstname.lastname@example.org
Woking XV: Srini, Edwards. Hammond(Hamilton Wilkes), Williams (C), Parker, Gilbert, Dinsdale(Buckley),Childs, Cahalane(Grady), Murphy, Marsden(Collins), Armstrong (Fisher), Siddons, Smith, Marchant.
Man of the match: Posh Josh Parker – most carries, tackles and all over the park a great performance.
Dick of day: Neil Murphy – for running like a very special person in an attempt to put the kicker off at penalties, words cannot do justice to what he looked like!