Mitcham & Carshalton RFC 14 vs Woking RFC 14

Woking kicked off 2024 with an impressive back to the wall performance at Mitcham & Carshalton which saw them come away with 2 points and extend their run to one defeat in their last five fixtures in Surrey Counties 5.

Photo courtesy of Justin Cliffe
Photo courtesy of Justin Cliffe

With key members of the squad still ruled out through injury, including skipper Jacob Woods, and several more unavailable Woking took to the field with just 13 players following some late withdrawals from the squad.

The hosts started well sensing a chance to avenge their heavy defeat against the visitors earlier in the season. Woking got off to the worst possible start with Mitcham turning the ball over inside their 22m and using their numerical advantage to get the ball wide and score in the corner within the opening two minutes.

As Woking found their feet and adapted to the situation they grew in confidence and started to get on the front foot thanks to some direct running from prop Joe Griggs and number 8 John Dickie. This was backed up with some crunching tackles and turnovers from flankers Josh Claydon and the returning Phil Price.

On a heavy pitch, playing into the wind and up the slope the game became attritional as Woking looked to contain their hosts. Despite these best-efforts Mitcham did score another converted try. However, having taken the lead and with the extra men Mitcham could not replicate their earlier efforts and squandered multiple good opportunities as to a man the Woking defence held out.

As frustrations set in, Woking were able to move up the pitch thanks to some excellent touchline kicking by Mark Rose from the penalties being conceded by the hosts. From one of the resulting lineouts inside the Mitcham 22m, prop Joe Griggs collected a loose ball before showing a turn of speed to burst through a gap in the lineout for a clear run to the goal line. Mark Rose successfully added the extras to cut Mitcham's advantage to just 7 points at the break.

Despite having the lion's share of possession in the second half and the luxury of a long subs bench, Mitcham still could not gain the upper hand and were repeatedly denied by a defiant Woking team intent on giving their opponents nothing without working for hard for it.

Where they could Woking kept their opponents honest by offering an attacking threat when in possession of the ball. With 15 minutes remaining Woking capitalised on Mitcham's profligacy and scored a well taken breakaway try as wing Gareth Nearn was fed by centre Finlay Rowe to outsprint several defenders from 40m out to score. Mark Rose made it 2 from 2 to bring the scores level.

Despite their best efforts to finish the game off, Mitcham simply could not get the score to kill the game off and end Woking's spirited and determined resistance. The visitors with time running out could have snatched the victory but were either let down by indiscipline at the breakdown or poor execution with players out on their feet.

Having watched from the sidelines skipper Jacob Woods, commented “What a performance from all who pulled on the Woking shirt this afternoon. Nothing was left out there and to a man everyone contributed to a performance to be proud of individually and as team. It is not often you can come off the pitch following a draw where it feels like a win, but that is how it feels right now”

Man of the Match: John Dickie