Reigate RFC 27 vs Woking RFC 13

It was a case of what might have been after Woking slipped to defeat on the road at Surrey Counties 5 league leaders Reigate RFC. Having not played the previous week after their home match with Croydon RFC was postponed due to a frozen pitch Woking were able to name a squad of 19 for their latest encounter against an opponent that has yet to be beaten this season.

Photo taken by Justin Cliffe
Photo taken by Justin Cliffe

On a heavy pitch Reigate kicked off down the slope and with the wind behind them immediately got on the front foot going through several phases of play. However, Woking held firm with some excellent and disciplined defence, turning the ball over at the breakdown or forcing their hosts into errors. The game followed this pattern for much of the first quarter.

Then, against the run of play Woking took the lead. From a turnover in their own half fly half Mark Rose kicked deep into Reigate 22m which their opponents failed to deal with following an excellent chase by flanker Josh Claydon and the Woking back line. The resulting penalty was converted by Mark Rose to open the scoring.

Reigate hit back immediately and camped on the Woking line, but again were repelled. A brilliant piece of last-ditch defence from full back Keihlan Watson being a notable highlight with Reigate looking certain to score. Eventually the Reigate pressure paid off when they scored from close range.

Having got in front Reigate were again caught out by another high kick up the middle of the pitch. Centre Carl Jacobz collected the kick before being stopped on the Reigate 10m line. Good support play saw the Woking pack recycle several phases before the ball was spun wide down the line for Watson to score in the corner.

With the league leaders visibly rattled, Woking enjoyed their best period of possession and pressure but failed to turn it into points and the half finished with Woking 8 – 5 up.

Kicking off down the slope Woking started the second half. Having regrouped at the break Reigate demonstrated why they were champions elect with a quick double try salvo to finally take control of the game. Both tries came from Woking errors whilst in attack and seemed to finally break the visitor’s spirited resistance.

The game also became stop-start with both sides losing players to injury as the physicality of the match continued. With a stronger and deeper bench Reigate began to dominate as Woking tired and were forced into several positional changes. Inevitably this led to Reigate scoring a fourth converted try under the posts to stretch their lead to 22-8.

Once again with the odds stacked against them Woking showed the grit and determination not to give in and fought their way back down to the Reigate 22m. After some good Reigate defence and another injury stoppage Woking were awarded a scrum. From this platform in centre field the Woking back line showed their class as Finaly Rowe broke the gain line with perfectly timed run and pass from Rose to feed Jacobz who in turn fed Kiehlan Watson who grabbed his second of the afternoon and a dead leg in the process.

With only 13 fit players on the field Woking did concede late on allowing Reigate to extend their lead to 27 – 13 and deservedly take a hard-fought victory.

Post match Head Coach and Skipper for the day Mark Rose said, ‘As individuals and ability there is not much between the sides, however Reigate were fitter and stronger which eventually told. They have been together several seasons and that shows on the pitch and as a squad. Following such a great first half performance we believed that the win was possible but all credit to Reigate who came back and showed why they are top of the league.’

Man of the Match: Josh Claydon