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After a short break, it was a trip over to Mitcham in the league for the Woking RFC 1st XV. Woking who still have a chance of promotion knew that nothing less than a bonus point win would be enough to keep their hopes alive. After a long warm up, Woking came out strong from the blocks putting pressure on Mitcham from the off and forcing a couple of turnovers and penalties. However impatience quickly set in and Woking started to rush play, going for risky passes and individuals playing alone rather than sticking with the pod system practised at training. This resulted in Mitcham gaining more possession & territory. This eventually paid off when an offside decision allowed Mitcham to get the first points of the game to make it 3-0.
From the restart, Woking continued to make small mistakes at the breakdown and Mitcham used this to pin Woking in the corners. Using their tight game, they created an overlap and their winger scored in the corner to take things to 8-0. Calm words from Rory Blundell were needed and did the trick as from the restart, Woking started to control the game and dictate the pace. There were close efforts from Matt Shepherd, Jordan Mayes & Neil Murphy but it was captain Rory Blundell who crashed over from close range to pull back 5 points. Woking managed to see out the last few minutes of the half, very much in the ascendancy despite being 3 down.
The second half started with a blast for Woking. Phil Schulze took a deep restart and took off beating half the Mitcham pack. Despite lack of pace, he put in a beautiful grubber kick which was collected by Seb Murphy. Unfortunately the Mitcham cover defence was there just in time to prevent a certain try. From the ensuring scrum, Schulze broke from the back but was just held short. However blindside Dave Garvey was there to crash over, Mark Sargeson with a fine conversion took the score to 12-8 to Woking.
Woking suddenly found themselves under pressure again, however Mitcham could only find a wall of defenders and not the break or penalty they were looking for. A huge hit from new signing Mathieu Armstrong dislodged the ball which he hacked upfield. It was Chris Wallis who was first to the ball and some Gareth Bale-esque football skills took him the length of the field to score an impressive try.
It was time for Woking to introduce some fresh legs with Jon Hursthouse, Ross Cahalane & Jim McGiven being introduced to play. Woking were solid with their play during this time but neither side really threatened the line during this time. It was Woking who struck again though shortly before the end. Some good phase play from the forwards created good ball for 10 Callum Wogan to release his backs and winger Ross Cahalane was stopped just short. Sargeson used his forwards to steam through, however brains beat brawn as Dave Garvey threw a cheeky dummy and crossed over unopposed to grab the bonus point for Woking. Sargeson took the points tally to 24-8. With only a few minutes left, it was job done and Woking saw out the game without trouble.
Coach Pete D'Cruz commented. "Obviously I'm happy with securing maximum points but we still have plenty to work on, especially with the lack of discipline during the first half. The remaining games are going to test us to our limits and all aspects of our game will need to be top notch."
Scorers: Blundell, Garvey x2, Wallis. Conv: Sargeson x2
Matt Shepherd, Rory Blundell, Jordan Mayes, Lee Abi Haydar, Matthew Brennan, David Garvey, Steve Rhodes, Philipp Schulze, Mark Sargeson, Callum Wogan, Seb Murphy, Matt Armstrong, Chris Wallis, Evan Marchant, Neil Murphy, Jim McGiven, Ross Cahalane, Jon Hursthouse