Committed Woking come up just short of upsetting title favourites

Woking RFC 24 vs Old Hamptonians RFC 34

Looking to build on their opening day victory Woking hosted preseason title favourites Old Hamptonians RFC at Byfleet Rec. Due to injuries and unavailability the Woking starting line up was much changed from the week before with several players playing in unfamiliar positions and skipper Jacob Woods returning from a long-term injury a little earlier than planned.

Playing into a strong wind Woking knew they were up against a side who would look to run the ball from all areas of the pitch at every opportunity. Old Hamptonians didn’t disappoint and did so from the off, putting the home side under pressure probing for weaknesses in the Woking defence. However, poor decision making and some committed defence from Woking meant the visitors were unable to convert their early pressure into points.

It was Woking who struck first, against the run of play, with a moment of individual brilliance that left the opposition and supporters on the touchline speechless. Under pressure, just 10 meters from his own try line fly half Watson chipped over the Old Hamptonians defensive line before catching his own kick. Still in his own half there was little on but other than to take on the covering defenders which he successfully did to out sprint them to score under the posts.

Visibly buoyed by the try Woking took the game to Old Hamptonians and had a period of pressure that wasn’t converted into points. Old Hamptonians made Woking pay for this with a good team try that saw their winger score out wide. With just 2 points in it Old Hamptonians came back hard looking to make the most of the conditions before the break. A second converted try soon followed and on the stroke of half time a penalty kick also.

Half time: Woking 7 - 15 Old Hamptonians

Rattled by Woking’s performance in the first half Old Hamptonians started the second half strongly. Once again, they pushed Woking back and this time were able to make the pressure count with a third converted try. It looked ominous for Woking that the early season favourites were starting to go through the gears.

However, unlike previous seasons Woking didn’t crumble and lead by skipper Woods they worked their way up to within 10 metres of the visitor’s line. Several good phases of forward play and several infringements putting the defence on the back foot eventually paid off as Woods crashed over from a couple of metres out.

Woking continued to take the game to their opponents and just a couple of minutes later, some quick thinking from KJ Nissen as Woking were awarded another penalty saw him score. Conversion was missed.

As the game approached the final quarter Woking had fought back to within just 5 points and believed that the game was theirs for taking. However, it wasn’t to be as on their own try line a clearance kick was charged down from which Old Hamptonians were able to score a converted try. A final try for the visitors followed as Woking were forced into further changes due to injuries.

Continuing with their never say die attitude Woking finished strongly with some strong running from Romelfanger taking them up to the try line. Following several phases of good forward play the opportunity was created for Worrell-Thompson to burst over securing the home side a well-deserved try scoring bonus point. Watson converted the try with the final kick off the game.

Final score: Woking 24 - 34 Old Hamptonians

Jacob Woods, Woking Captain

“12 months ago, this side beat us by over 100 points. The passion and commitment the squad showed today was immense considering the changes we had to make. Changes which meant we couldn’t get our best players at the breakdown into the game which would have made a big difference, especially in the first half. I’m disappointed to lose but not in the manner of the defeat. There are things to improve on but I am really happy with how everyone pulled together and just reinforces everyone’s belief within the club that the hard work is paying off and we are on the right track ”.

Man of the Match: C Wallis

Next Fixture: Egham Hollowegians (H) Sat 1st October 3pm