In what was a try fest on the first match of 2021, Mitcham came out clear winners against Woking, as we returned to Poulter Park for the first game in 14 months.
Despite starting the first few minutes strongly, Mitcham were able to break through Woking’s lines quickly. Following a well taken line out, a quick ball went out to new Inside Centre, Corey Griffiths, who shimmied past four and he burst to the corner flag. Getting narrowly caught meters from the line, the ball then found fellow senior debutant, Prop Chris Gilbert who smashed through for the first try of the game, converted by Griffiths.
The second try came twelve minutes in, when a Woking lineout on their 10 meters from their line was mis-thrown, with Flankers Duggan and Waller teaming up to offload to each other then to Scrum Half Martyn Smith. Smith, sensing the space out wide, then sent it across to Fly Half Paul Jones who set up another debutant, outside centre Kevin McCombie, who found the space to score his first try for Mitcham. Converted by Griffiths.
Mitcham got their third try shortly after the next kick off, with Gilbert neatly offloading to Duggan in space, then to Smith, who had the extra gas to finish off a well put together try, again converted by Griffiths.
The fourth came soon after, with Griffiths ripping the ball in contact, darting across the pitch and cheekily offloading to the new 1XV Captain Garnade, who with the elegance of a giraffe in the savannah, found the try-line in the right corner. A solid 26 Nil in the first quarter of the game.
Complacency then seemed to seep in slightly and Mitcham began conceding a number of penalties. The continued spell of pressure from Woking saw them score a try in the corner.
Following this, Mitcham began to enjoy more possession, pinning Woking back in their 22’. Both Griffiths and Fullback Taylor came close to scoring, but it was excellent cross-field kick from Griffiths who saw Winger Tim Bheemul in space, who took the ball excellently at speed, darting past several players, to score a try on his debut and his first of the afternoon. Converted by Griffiths.
Griffiths got a try for himself soon after, after a great steal from Duggan, making twenty yards, offloading to another debutant, Hooker Aaron Parsons, who in turn neatly offloaded to Griffiths, selling a dummy and scoring Mitcham’s sixth of the day.
Bheemul got his second following an excellent back line play off a line out on Woking’s 22’. Smith, to Jones and then to Taylor offloading to Bheemul, who rode the wingers tackle and grounded the ball in the far right corner. Converted by Paul Jones. End of the first half and Mitcham were up 45-5!
Mitcham then had to ride a few minutes of Woking attacks, but five minutes in, Jones saw substitute Iain Honeyman-Baker in space, allowing him sprint past the Woking winger, and taking it under the posts.
Despite fatigue started setting in on both sides, Mitcham lead a strong defensive line, especially in subs, Flanker Felipe Castrillon and Centre Keith Parker.
The final quarter was a strong reflection of Mitcham’s fitness and strength in depth. A loose ball from Woking was collected by McCombie, who offloaded to Bheemul and back to Castrillon, who ran the ball underneath the posts.
Spotting an unguarded ruck in Woking’s 22’, Gilbert soon after found himself again in space, finding Jones who offloaded again to Iain Honeyman-Baker, who wasn’t going to lose any footraces today, found himself scoring a second try in the corner.
Shortly after, Jones spotted space on the right wing in Woking’s 22’, allowing Bheemul get a hattrick on his debut!
To add a final flourish, yet another debutant, Parker found the power to hand off one defender, and the agility to beat another two, finding him under for the posts for a debut try. Converted by Jones.
Next up for Mitcham on Saturday, the 1XV are Away at Wandsworthians, whilst the 2XV are at Home to Reigate 2XV.
Tries: C. Gilbert, K. McCombie, M. Smith, F. Garnade, T. Bheemul x 3, I. Honeyman-Baker x 2, F. Castrillon
Conversions: Griffiths x 4, Jones x 3
MOTM: T. Bheemul