Old Guildfordians

Match Date: 
Woking Team: 
First XV
Opponent Team: 
Old Guildfordians


Woking Score: 
Opponent Score: 

Despite Woking’s impressive start to the season the unbeaten side had been keeping a keen eye on neighbouring Guildfordians similar run of victories in Surrey 4. The teams approached the fixture with 12 league wins and 0 losses shared equally between them, and Woking knew the trip to Stoke Park would be the biggest test of their season so far.

The game started with intensity and it was soon evident it would be a physical encounter, with direct running from both sides being met with crunching tackles all over the pitch. When their turn to attack, Guildford were struggling to break the gain line and impressive defensive line speed from Woking centres forced a fumble from the Guildford back line, and Jake Sines was quick to pounce on the loose ball and break away to score under the posts and open the Woking account at 7-0.

The visitor’s forward momentum continued and the dominant Woking scrum provided the foundation to begin piling on the pressure in attack. Even the resolute Guildford defence couldn’t prevent Woking number 8 Joe Bennett crashing through two tackles in the middle of the pitch and adding Woking’s second under the posts.

The Woking domination of the scrum continued, which enabled Justin Dougherty and Michael Aitchison to orchestrate waves of Woking attack and fullback Gareth Nearn was unlucky not to score on more than one occasion. The Guildford defence held out well and Woking were unable to convert their possession to points which looked like it may come back to haunt them late in the second half when a Guildford kick deep into Woking territory led to confusion in the Woking defence, and the ball bounced free for Matt Kipping to capitalise and score a poachers try in the corner to make the half-time score 14-7.

Guildford came flying out of the blocks for the second half, recycling the ball well and looking to have to resolved some of the scrummaging challenges they had in the first half. The Guildford pressure started to mount and Woking looked stretched, leading to openside Steve Rhodes being sinbinned for tackling in an offside position. Wokings new signings Jack Saul, Pierse Johnson & Patrick Watts were pivotal in compensating for the sinbinning with aggressive and effective defence to hold off the Guildford attack until Rhodes was able to return to the pitch.

Woking brought on experienced locks Shaun Gilbert and Jon Hursthouse for the final quarter in an attempt to bolster the scrum and thwart the ferocious Guildfordian effort to even the scoreline, a decision that proved invaluable when Woking turned over 2 attacking scrums on their own 5 metre line, regaining possession when Guildford looked their most dangerous and allowing man of the match Joe Bennett to pick the ball up at the back of the scrum and launch an attack that concluded with David Garvey drawing two defenders and releasing Chris Wallis down the wing to make it 19-7 and seal the game for the visitors.

A hard fought win for Woking and a very entertaining game of rugby from two strong sides. I’m sure both teams will be looking forward to the return fixture in March.

1. David Garvey
2. Rory Blundell
3. Alisdair Hamilton-Wilkes
4. Pearse Johnson
5. Patrick Watts
6. Jack Tobias Saul
7. Steve Rhodes
8. Joe Bennett (MOTM)
9. Justin Dougherty
10. Michael Aitchison
11. Chris Wallis
12. Mark Rose
13. Jake Sines
14. Gareth Phillips
15. Gareth Nearn
16. Jon Hursthouse
17. Shaun Gilbert
18. Philip Robertson
MoM Alisdair Hamilton-Wilkes