Reigate V Woking 1st XV

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First XV
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Reigate 6 v 47 Woking

17th March 2018

After the Beast from the East caused games to be postponed two weeks ago, the rearranged fixture ironically took place in freezing temperatures and snow. A very muddy pitch made for a very slippery ball, which hampered any free flowing rugby but provided a cracking battle between Reigate and Woking.

Early exchanges saw both sides scoring points, with Wogan and Blundell taking tries after very solid forward work from the Woking pack. Reigate slotted two penalties after failing to cross the try line due to resolute Woking defence. At 6-12 the game became as bogged down as the pitch. Scrum after scrum saw both packs holding their own, but the fitter Woking pack began to dominate and the flow of the game began to shift in Woking’s favour.

With the tiring Reigate pack, space began to open up around the pitch. Mark Rose and Mike Aitchison spread the ball around, and Woking’s outside backs Gareth Nearn, Jordan Baker and Tom Eker started to make inroads down the outside channels, backed up by the bulk of centre Matt Boorman. Tom Eker managed to create himself a scoring chance out wide and the conversion into the wind from Aitchison took the score to 6-19.

Reigate shifted their defence to cover the wider channels, and Woking spotted the gaps around the tight. Some excellent pick and go rugby from Gilbert, Hills, Rhodes and Bennett gave Alisdair Hamilton-Wilkes a fall over the try line, much to his bewilderment! Aitchison converted to bring the half time score in at 6-26.

The half time huddle provided some much needed warmth! Pete D’Cruz and Sophie Williams, the new coaching duo, hurled instructions into the wind that did not fall on deaf ears. Simplify the rugby.

The second half saw some very strong running from Joe Bennett and Dave Garvey, who rather than offloading took the ball to ground and provided a solid platform of phases for Rose and Aitchison to orchestrate territorial rugby, pinning Reigate back in their own half. Reigate’s defence was strong, but after a bouncing ball from Gilbert found Steve Rhodes, Rhodes smuggled his way through the confused defence to score, again converted by Aitchison, 6-33.

Reigate’s scrum finally collapsed, Rory Blundell leading his scrum from hooker, whilst Pearse Johnson wreaked havoc on the opposition back row. With almost all the ball playing into Woking’s hands the lads closed the game out with two fantastic tries. A beautiful pass from man of the match Jordan Baker gave Dave Garvey an easy belly flop over the line, whilst some great handling from all the team saw Shaun Gilbert finish the day off in style. Both tries converted again by Aitchison who had a good day with the boot in blizzard conditions, finished the match at 6-47.

Maybe the Woking lads had been provoked by some goading words on Twitter from Reigate in the morning, but the Woking team looked rejuvenated after a couple of difficult weeks of slightly lackluster rugby. Things look very much on track for the big title clash next week at Byfleet Recreation Ground, against 2nd place and local rivals Guildfordians. Skipper Mike Aitchison commented after the game, “The team spirit was there today, everyone dug in and stepped their game up. With two more games to play, we have everything to lose, but a good week of training and a continuation of the team spirit shown today will certainly put us in a great position to get the result we need next week. One game at a time.”