Haslemere 23 v 56 Woking
By Max Stuart
Mere salvage bonus point in defeat.
It was a tough day at the office on Saturday as Haslemere 1st XV’s unbeaten run came to an
end with a 23-56 loss at home to high-flying Woking.
With both sides carrying lengthy injury lists this was a game that was always going to be won
by the team that found their rhythm first. Last week’s victory against Old Suttonians came at a price
for the home team with Vice captain Dave Head amongst five that picked up knocks to put them out
of contention. Director of Rugby Max Stuart was forced to make considerable changes to the pack
with fit-again Harry Burt coming in at openside and Charlie Butterworth returning at Number 8.
Haslemere never really got going in the first half with Woking coping much better with
Woolmer Hill’s customarily blustery conditions and the enforced squad changes. The home side’s
scrum and lineout were misfiring and the high-flying opposition made ‘Mere pay, running in a series
of tries to build a 26 point lead at the break.
A change of ends seemed to galvanise Haslemere and they came out for the second half
with a fresh perspective and very little to lose. Flanker Burt moved to the front row and on came
Powell at openside, and it was his marauding break from the halfway line followed by a perfect
offload on the opposition 22 that put full back JP McCumisky over in the corner in what was a
contender for try of the season.
Confidence growing, Haslemere took camp in the Woking 22 and a hard-fought forward’s try
was earned when second row Mike Harvey-Brown barged his way over from short range. From there
it was end-to-end stuff as the two sides traded tries; first centre Jordan Allan went in under the
posts from inside his own half before a Woking try led to another incredible move from the home
side as they went the length of the pitch with ball in hand only for flying wing TJ Angliss to suffer a
high tackle as he was about to score. The result was a penalty try, a yellow card for the offending
visiting player and a losing bonus point for ‘Mere. Woking did hit back again before the referee blew
time on what was a memorable half of rugby and a great advert for the Surrey 4 league.
The game finally finished Haslemere 23 – 56 Woking. The Christmas break certainly comes at
the right time for ‘Mere and they will be looking to start 2016 with fresh impetus, a clean bill of
health and a win away at Raynes Park on the 16th January.