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After a successful cup match last Saturday, beating London Media 39-17, Woking were looking to continue their run of good form and pursue the league top spots. Woking started woefully, as Wandsworthians almost instantly ran the length of the pitch from the kick off to score and convert in front of the posts. Fortunately the early score was the wake up call Woking needed to switch on, and they did so in emphatic style, taking the first set pieces of the day with ease, and immediately responding with two push over tries and a very well constructed lineout move straight off the training ground.
Wandsworthians put up a good fight for the remainder of the first half, but after a number of strong runs from winger Matt Armstrong, Woking snook one more try through poaching hooker Rory Blundell to take the first half in at 23-7. Despite already securing the bonus point, Pete D’Cruz, Woking’s head coach, had some strong words for his players, lamenting them for a lack of effort around the park. So Woking took to the pitch fired up to finish the game as quickly as possible.
The sun blazed into Woking’s eyes almost immediately from kick off, and Wandsworthians opted for a kicking game. James Webber was in fine form at fullback, and between himself and Gareth Nearn they returned almost every kick to deep within Wandsworthians territory. Mark Rose stepped his game up a notch, barking orders from fly half to give a multitude of options off each phase ball. Wansworthians defence soon crumbled, battered into submission around the fringes by big Ben Bremner, Steve Rhodes and Adam Smith, whilst being dissected by skillful running and handling from Callum Wogan and Neil Murphy out wide. Phil Robertson and Elliot Hood brought some fresh legs and opened the game out further with 20 minutes to play and Wandsworthians flailed further as their no.7 was sent from the pitch for a frustrated late hit on Rose. Matt Brennan deserves special mention for his uncharacteristic silky handling skills, clearly the work of training hard, as he placed Rose through to score the final points of the day.
The game closed at 73-7, a flattering score to Woking, who certainly looked off kilter for large periods of the game. Wandsworthians recent recruitment is likely to stand them in good stead as the season progresses, with a number of strong individual performances. Woking’s teamwork ultimately proved key, with Pete D’Cruz commenting, “We train as a squad, we lose as a squad, and we win as a squad. If we continue to take that squad mentality one game at a time then we should continue to make improvements and pick up good results. A lot to work on!”
1. Alisdaire Hamilton-Wilkes, 2. Rory Blundell, 3. Ben Bremner, 4. Matt Brennan, 5. Jon Hursthouse, 6. Adam Smith, 7. Steve Rhodes, 8. Dan Hills, 9. Justin Dougherty, 10. Mark Rose, 11. Gareth Nearn, 12. Neil Murphy, 13. Callum Wogan, 14. Matt Armstrong, 15. James Webber, 16. Phil Robertson, 17. Elliot Hood, 18. Mike Aitchison