Woking survive late comeback to seal bonus point win

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First XV
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It was a sunny Saturday afternoon that set the scene for a Surrey 4 league encounter between Woking RFC and Haslemere RFC. This was the first league game of the new season for Woking and it was to be played away from home. Eager to kick start the campaign with a win, the team was focused and mentally prepared for the hard season ahead. Preseason had been unkind to Woking. Injuries had taken their toll on the team resulting in several key players missing from the afternoon’s action.

Haslemere would receive the opening kick off from Dougherty. The half started well for Woking with a period of sustained pressure inside the home teams 22m line. The Haslemere defence hung on but was eventually broken by an offload from Sargeson to Wogan who powered through for the first score of the day. A missed conversion from Dougherty resulted in a 5-0 lead to the away team.

Then a change saw Haslemere put pressure on Woking, a penalty given away in front of the posts allowed the home team to get points on the board. The kicked penalty reduced the lead to 2 points.

After back and forth in the mid field Woking where able to extend the lead with a brilliant solo effort from Smith, shrugging off three defenders in the process. The missed conversion from Sargeson extended Wokings lead to 10-3.

Woking were forced to make some personnel changes as Dougherty was forced off with a foot injury. This saw a return to the scrum half position for Bannister and Cahalane enter the game at full back.

Further pressure deep in Haslemere territory could not be converted into points and some careless ball control saw the score stay the same to the half. The message at half time was simple. Keep it tight, keep it controlled and stay focused on the task at hand.

Woking started the 2nd half much as they had started the 1st, up tempo and aggressive. This saw a fast backs move in Haslemere territory result in a try in the corner for Neil Murphy. The conversion was kicked by Sargeson.

Another score off the back of an excellent catch and drive from the Woking forwards saw Bannister shoot over the line for the try. Again the conversion was kicked by Sargeson.

With the lead now 24-3, Woking inadvertently allowed Haslemere to get back into the game with a well executed deep kick and chase tactic. This would lead to two tries for the Home team.

Woking would immediately respond with a try from Sargeson after a fantastic scrum from the Woking pack. The conversion missed. 29-13.

Haslemere would not give in and should be commended for an excellent comeback effort in the 2nd half. Again scoring on Woking’s defence. The conversion was kicked and Woking started to feel the pressure with the score at 29-20.

Moving into the latter part of the game, Woking simply needed to see out the game with controlled phase play. Then in the dying seconds of the game, a break by Smith and a supporting finish from Wogan allowed Woking to score and begin the league campaign with a bonus point victory.

Final score: Woking 34 - Haslemere 20

Coach Pete D’Cruz thoughts after the game:

“Wow, Sargeson was good today. We’d be screwed without him since all our other 10’s cried off with fractured eyelashes.”

He went on to say

“Get this, I actually tried to get him to play back row forward over the summer, how wrong was I? I’ll carry his tee all year if he kicks them sideline ones like that. What a guy”.