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Woking travelled away to Raynes Park on Saturday. After a close encounter between the two teams at the first fixture of the season a tough game was expected. The conditions were miserable, lending themselves to a forwards game which suited Woking who had the dominant pack throughout the first 10 minutes. From the off Woking took the lead through the boot of Justin Dougherty securing 3 points. Annoyingly, as is becoming a habit for Woking, they quickly conceded an easy5 points, followed by two further 3 point conversions after a penalty was reversed for unknown reasons despite the protestation of skipper Mike Aitchison. Alas this second 3 points proved decisive.
Spurred on by frustration Woking woke up and spent the remainder of the first half camped in the Raynes Park 22. Sustained pressure led to a penalty try from a powerful Woking scrum, converted by Aitchison to take the half time score in at 11-10.
The second half saw a huge number of handling errors due to the weather conditions, and time after time Raynes Park relieved the persistent pressure with huge kicks down field. Unfortunately the Woking back three struggled with high balls in the wet weather, and so went the game. Scrum after scrum, pressure building from Woking before failing to convert pressure to points. A break away try for Raynes Park, and another bizarre penalty decision took the game to 19-10 against the run of play.
With 10 minutes to spare the referee finally saw fit to send a Raynes Park player from the pitch for persistent infringement around the contact area. Woking immediately capitalized through Phil Robertson, who powered over from an excellent catch and drive orchestrated well by James Bannister. The closing 5 minutes saw another Raynes Park player sent from the field, and at 19-17 Woking looked certain to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A characteristically bizarre decision from the referee, who quickly scarpered after the game, gave the ball back to Raynes Park who cleared to touch and the final whistle was blown early. As much controversy as any Wales match!
After the match little was said by the deflated Woking team. Assistant-coach David Nolan hit the nail on the head, "We were beaten by an excellent kicking game today. Raynes relieved the pressure time and time again to great effect. We can take heart from a very gutsy performance, but lessons need to be learnt and we need to focus on being more clinical in poor conditions."