Match Report October 23rd 2021

Narrow defeat for Woking earns them two bonus points

Woking RFC 42 vs Haslemere 46

Woking returned to Byfleet rec for the visit of Haslemere. After the heavy defeat to Old Hamptonians, it was an opportunity to put things right.

Narrow defeat for Woking earns them two bonus points

The side were bolstered by a full bench after travelling with 14 players last week due to injuries/illness, as well as a number of Woking alumni to offer support.

Woking started on the back foot with Haslemere having the lion's share of possession, this was aided by minor infringements by Woking which allowed Haslemere to dominate the territory statistics as well. Some strong defence, especially from Sines and Fenton, alongside a dominant scrum allowed Woking to come back into the game. This was not enough though, and after a number of penalties for infringements as well as comments to the referee, Haslemere broke the deadlock with two tries and a penalty in quick succession.

At this point, Woking could have lost their heads and let the floodgates open, however, Captain O'Shea urged Woking to keep their discipline and play their rugby. This worked and it was the turn of Haslemere to feel the pressure, who conceded penalties, allowing Woking into their 22. A well taken lineout by Brennan formed a rolling maul which crossed the line, though Woking could not ground.

The points would come shortly, following a period of tight play by the forwards, Van Vuuren crashed through a number of tackles and over the line.

Minutes later, another maul setup by Brennan off the back of a lineout allowed Van Vuuren to break down the blind side, leaving a simple two-on-one and taking the unselfish option of passing to Plowright.

Unfortunately, Woking were not able to capitalise on this pressure, and it was Haslemere who finished the first half stronger. Despite some strong defence from Dinsdale and McGiven, the defensive line was pulled out of position to allow the Haslemere wing to score in the corner for the final act of the first half.

Woking used the break to recharge, and started the second half with intent. The forward pack, strong in the set piece through the first half continued the trend and tries from O'Shea and Nissen off the back of a scrum and lineout allowed Woking to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Like the first half, Woking could not build on the pressure and we punished after not securing possession at a kick off. There were more examples of great defence, however, it was not enough, with some poor organisation due to a combination of tiredness and lack of experience allowed two quick tries, and Haslemere were in control again.

The final exchanges were back and fore, a mazy run from Garvey saw him brought down short of the line and O'Shea crashing over for a second. Haslemere scored again before a well worked backs move led to Edwards scoring the final try of the day and Worrall-Thompson adding the extras.

Woking knew time was running out to get a winning score, however, they manages to lose possession again, which led Haslemere to the verge of securing the win. From a penalty, they to a 5m lineout, which Brennan managed to steal to give Woking some hope, but the length of the pitch seemed to be an impossible task, and shortly after the referee blew to call an end to proceedings.

Reflecting after the game, O'Shea commented "After this afternoon, I'm mentally and physically drained. I'm so proud of the boys in the way they responded to last week's result. However, I can't help wondering 'what if!?'. With a bit more discipline and organisation, today could have been a very different result. We'll enjoy tonight and continue to rebuild on Tuesday evening."

Scorers: O'Shea (2 tries), Nissen (2 tries), Van Vuuren (2 tries) Plowright (1 try), Edwards (1 try). Worrall-Thompson (1 conv)

Woking: Simon Power, Mick O'Shea (captain), Ben Bremner, Matthew Brennan, Dan Christmas, Richard Benn, KJ Nissen, Gary Van Vuuren, James Plowright, Paul Worrall-Thompson, Jake Sines, Adam Colley, Adam Fenton, Will Nelson, Marc McGiven

Subs: Ben Dinsdale, Ryan Ditum, Lee Abi Haydar, David Garvey, Dan Edwards

Man of the Match: Gary Van Vuuren

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