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Egham Hollowegians have had a turn of form recently, unbeknown to Woking they have combined with Royal Holloway University rugby team and turned up on Saturday with a sharp looking outfit. This caught Woking off guard, possibly feeling a little complacent having easily dismissed Edgham in the first half of the season.
A poor start saw both sides defensive organisation get tested and the opening exchanges looked like the game was to be far more closely contested than expected. Rory Blundell currently a try scoring machine, opened Woking’s tally for the day with an excellent individual effort down the blind side. The conversion was missed from out wide, but moments later Mark Rose slotted a penalty to give Woking some comfort.
Egham continued to play expansive and attractive rugby, Phil Robertson and Callum Wogan making some excellent covering tackles for Woking. With the sun low in the sky Egham opted to test the Woking back 3 out with some high hanging kicks, all gathered with skill from Douglas-Arden and Nearn. Matt Armstrong, counter-attacking from the right wing, made in-roads with every ball carry, his opposite man clearly struggling the natural bulk of the winger. Off one such counter-attack the second phase found Phil Robertson crashing over the line to take the first half to a close at 13-0.
Egham pulled their socks up in the second half, with Woking’s back row of Hills, Rhodes and Hood showing some phenomenal work rate to get to every breakdown and slow up Egham advances. The Woking defence was tested and split on two occasions and the game nervously closed to 13-10. An injury to Phil Robertson caused a forced return of the injured James Bannister on at 9, and the change in style unexpectedly disrupted Egham. Justin Dougherty providing Rose with a pivot in the wide channels to get the backs running hard down the wings, and Bannister commanding the tight. Blundell scored off a wonderful lineout move, Matt Brennan disguising the maul and popping the ball into space. Shortly after the dominant Woking scrum powered over the try line, Bannister sneaking a try between the legs of Hills.
Despite a single penalty added to the Egham tally, their heads had dropped, showing the inexperience and frustration of younger players. Woking capitalised with some scintillating expansive rugby in the closing 20 minutes, Robertson and Rhodes finishing off two excellent passages of play. The score closed at a somewhat flattering 41-13.
Aitchison, watching from the sideline, commented, “Actually I think we were lucky today. We started poorly and a more experienced side would have punished us more for doing so. Fortunately we found our feet and got back to playing rugby more akin to the rest of the season, but it made for a nervous watch!”
Hamilton-Wilkes, Blundell, Bremner, Brennan, Hursthouse, Hood, Rhodes, Hills, Dougherty, Rose, Nearn, Robertson, Wogan, Armstrong, Douglas-Arden, Bannister, Griffith-Moore.
Man Of the Match: Rory Blundell