Mitcham & Carshalton RFC 5 vs Woking RFC 40

Woking made the trip up the A3 on Saturday for their final league game of the season to face Mitcham and Carshalton RFC. Having had to concede the previous weekend fixture due to a crippling injury list that left the squad with just 9 fit and available players Woking were able to name a full side with several replacements despite a number of absences due to work, injury and it being a Six Nations weekend.

Woking welcomed back several familiar faces into the pack which included veteran front row Alisdair Hamilton-Wilkes, Martin Phillips, John Neill Dickie and Kawon Kim. All making their first appearances of the season. It meant flanker Phil Price moved to outside half with Rhys Parker continuing in his new role at scrum half. 

From the start and given the sides lowly league position it was clear that both teams were up for this game and wanted to finish a tough season on a high. Prior to kick off a minute’s silence was held in memory of Woking Life Vice-President Justin Key, who suddenly passed away the previous week. As a further tribute to him Woking donned the clubs original blue and gold colours for the match.

Woking kicked off and were on it from the start. They quickly recovered the ball and played in a composed, yet aggressive manner forcing Mitcham whenever they attacked to turn over ball with Jacob Woods and Hamilton-Wilkes prominent in making it happen. The hosts had little answer and Woking took advantage, following a big tackle from Jacob Woods which caused the ball to spill to a grateful Phil Price who burst through the scattered midfield before beating the full back to score the first try of the match. Rhys Parker adding the extras. 

It wasn’t long before Woking added the second, with confidence flowing through the team and a powerful pack putting pressure on Mitcham at the scrum, it enabled back row Spencer Hudson to break and charge down the Mitcham clearance before collecting the ball to score. 

It was at this point where things could have gone very differently for Woking and the faults that had been an issue throughout the season started to reappear as concentration and discipline levels dropped. This resulted in a number of penalties being conceded for high tackles, hampered by further backchat to the officials, meant Woking found themselves defending a lineout on their 5 metre line. 

However, the visitors didn’t buckle and a fine effort to sack the line out by Hamilton-Wilkes allowed Woking to turnover and counter with captain Jacob Woods breaking through the hosts defensive line. Mitcham’s scrambled defence did eventually bring him down but outside half Price was in close support to collect the pass and score his second and Woking’s third.

Half time: Mitcham and Carshalton RFC 0 - 19 Woking RFC

The message from Woods at half time was “to maintain the pressure and play sensible rugby”.  This is exactly what Woking did setting some good phrase play through the forwards following the restart. Mitcham with the wind behind them were also determined to reduce the arrears and get on the scoreboard and pushed Woking back into their 22.

However, more excellent defensive work by Price lead to a Woking penalty. With the referee playing advantage the ball was worked along the back line and from deep in their own half which allowed winger Andy Morrison to make his way up the pitch in to the opponents 22. With support from Kim and centre Michael Hume, Woods made the break and following some fine inter-play with winger Andy Morrison took Woking close to the try line. Supporting forwards allowed the ball to be recycled quickly and again Price was on hand to complete his hattrick with a simple try under the posts. 

The Woking forwards continued to make the hard yards, and this set a great platform for centre Michael Hume to get a well-deserved try for a strong all round performance in attack and defence and Hudson bagged his second a few minutes from time, capitalising on an opponents error to canter in unopposed. A quick tap penalty close to the Woking line in the final moments did allow Mitcham to get a consolation score as Woking switched off. 

Full-time: Mitcham & Carshalton RFC 5 - 40 Woking RFC

Captain Jacob Woods commented” I’m delighted with how today has gone. At last we played for a full 80 mins and got our rewards for an all-around team effort.  It’s not been an easy season and there have been some hard times but we finish on a positive going into cup games and a summer break.  The key for the summer will be to get injured players back to 100%, recruit hard to build up the squad and get some of our occasional members involved a more often.”

Man of the Match: Phil Price