Woking 2’s can offer stiff opposition on their day. A heavy and often organised pack can choke the opposition’s possession and present real problems in the scum and around the breakdown. Arriving at their ground with a threadbare side including too many over 50s and only 6 backs, then finding out that the key position of 10 isn’t actually available, and was never going to be, presents some problems. Clearly this was going to be a challenging day, just “not their day!”
Throw in a starting front 5 that included the slightly aging pair of Kevin Matthews and Don Ammon at 4&5 and just 2 replacements being the club chairman Ed Peters and Duncan Wyeth both of whom aren’t even slightly aging, they are well aged, and you could see problems on the horizon. The threat of a sapping heatwave didn’t add to the optimism, nor did it materialise as Reeds arrived in dribs and drabs from the changing room. Still, its been an up a down season so we bravely mustered the troops and ploughed on.
Fortune favours the brave and a sprinkling of youth on the wings, some inspired tactical changes with George Pateman stepping in at Fullback, Matt Cassidy moving to 10, Finn Campbell moving away from the pack to take up the challenges of inside centre and Elliot Veal coming off the wing to 13 and things didn’t look so much bad as simply odd. This side clearly lacked balance but was overflowing with optimistic talent!
Reeds kicked off in conditions and on a pitch that looked good for Rugby. Things took an unexpected turn in Reeds’ favour when the mighty Reeds pack shunted Woking back off the ball and secured possession. Game on, Reeds moved the ball into the hands of the willing backs who simply punched holes in the Woking defence. A few minutes into the game and Woking were deep in their 22 with the throw in the game’s first lineout. Young Finn Munro stands about 6’4” and weighs two thirds of three quarters of next to nothing so it was little surprise to see him lifted to near orbital heights as he plucked the ball off the top and fed Ed Swift at 9. Quick ball out to Matt Cassidy and the pressure was back on with Reeds attacking the posts. A handful of phases later and Finn Munro popped up again a few metres out to feed Harvey Hall on the left wing and Reeds were 5 points to the good. Elliot Veal stepped up to kicking duty and narrowly missed the conversion against the wind.
10 minutes Later Reeds again broke through the middle, some great work by the pack followed by a couple of surging runs from the backs and Lucca was over in the right-hand corner. This time faced with a little assistance from the wind Elliot bashed the ball over and secured the extra 2. Reeds were 12 points to the good and looking solid. As if to outline the challenges reeds have faced all season, disaster struck with 20 minutes gone and the outstanding new find of Elliot Veale took a knock in a tackle and was forced off the pitch with an injury. With nothing in the way of back coverage a shuffle was needed. Chairman Ed took to the field moving the workhorse of Alwyn to hooker and forcing Jack Higgs to try his luck on the wing. Harvey Hall (well known for his ability to hang on to the ball but not renowned for his distribution) was tasked with moving into the unknown role of centre. Odd now became extremely weird with 3 forwards making up half the backs!
Still Reeds just kept at it and had much the better of the next 20 minutes. The shuffled pack weren’t quite as dominant, but Buffy Brickhill at 8 was being supported in the back row by Quinn and his dad Mike Munro on the flanks and Reeds applied the first 2 rules of rugby well. Win the ball. Keep the ball. 35 minutes gone the pack proved their ability to think of their feet. Winning a line out 20 metres out and taking the ball off the top back into the forwards. Phase after phased moved ever closer to the try line and Woking eventually infringed. Advantage being played and Mike Munro pounced over the line like a kitten with a ball of string only to be denied by an early whistle and back we went for the advantage. Still the forwards were not to be beaten and this time they set up a driving maul from the line out shunting Woking back and over the line with Alwyn coming up with the points. However, the removal of Elliot meant that the extra points weren’t forthcoming, and Reeds headed into the break 17 points to the good.
Captain Tom give a resounding cry to arms at half time “We’re doing it well now don’t let them score”, Kevin Matthews left the pitch after a double shift (20’s about all he can manage so the boy done good to coin a phrase) replaced by yours truly and Reeds set about making the most of the afternoon despite a front 5 that boasted an average age of getting on if not just over 50!
The next score was critical and as the sun shone briefly, in a moment of inspiration Finn Campbell did what any decent centre would do and nicked an interception try. Bursting forwards with guile and agility, intercepting a pass from the Woking 10 and under the posts in the blink of an eye. That was effectively game over. Conversion missed in front of the posts, but you could see the Woking spirit starting to evaporate.
Three more tries followed with Lucca adding a second after some great interplay down the left wing involving forwards and back and a handful of phases. Harvey Hall then added his second and Reeds’ sixth try of the day with a great finish following some sterling work by Matt Cassidy and Finn Campbell. A short spell of pressure from Woking followed but Reeds defence held firm and having secured a turnover deep in their own 22 Reeds wend through several phases before Harvey capped a fine performance with his third try and Reeds seventh of the day. Ed Swift managed to get one over the posts for 2 extra points but the lack of a goal kicker could be telling in the final table.
Reeds secured the kick off and kept possession as they had done all day running the clock down to secure a very satisfying shut out final score Woking 0 Reeds Weybridge 39. Its worth noting that 17 Reeds players arrived at Byfleet Recreation Ground on Saturday. One Reeds Team left there at 4:30. A superb effort against a wiling if somewhat dispirited Woking side and a result that will provide a welcome boost to the team’s confidence as we approach the end of season cup competitions.