Woking in the National Arena League South Premier Division - Round 2

On Saturday 9th November, Woking were again hosts for a gala of the 2nd Round of the National Arena Swimming League South Premier Division. Having won the opening round one gala back in October and only just back from their intensive training week in Cyprus the team knew they had to focus and put in another solid performance. 

Swimming against Hastings, Rushmoor Royals, Thanet, Amersham and Maxwell this was going to be tough night with Amersham specifically looking to better their performance at Woking in the first round. 

The first victory of the night scoring the maximum 6 points came in event 5 with the 13&U Girls Medley Relay featuring Anna Maine, Zoe Macrae, Saara Wyne and Kirsten Young, this was quickly followed by another 1st place in event 7 from the 15&U Girls Freestyle Relay of Charlotte George, Lauren Simmons, Lucy Sessions and Hazel Ferguson. 

After 10 events it was Rushmoor leading with 44 points from Amersham on 43 with Woking back in 3rd on 39. Zoe Macrae (13&U 100 Breast), Richard Sugden (13&U 100 Breast) and Hazel Ferguson (15&U 100 Back) recorded a hat-trick of back to back victories in events 13,14 and 15 meaning that after 18 events Woking were joint 2nd with Rushmoor on 73 points with Amersham now leading with 84. 

Further victories from Ben Smith (10/11 50m Butterfly) and National Bronze Medalist Anna Maine (13&U 100 Backstroke) saw Woking pull into a clear 2nd place on 109 points just 7 behind Amersham.

Events 30, 31, 32 produced another string of wins from Ewan Smith (13&U 100 Fly), Hazel Ferguson and Andrew Roy in their respective 100 Freestyle events meaning the gap to Amersham was now only 6 points.

By event 42 some hard fought 2nd and 3rd place finishes closed the gap to 5 points heading into the final set of Relays. 

Further valuable points came from wins in the Girls 15&U Medley of Molly Smith, Summer Upton, Charlotte George, Hazel Ferguson in Event 47 with Lucy Sessions, Lauren Simmons, Anna Maine and Hannah Burvill teaming with Charlotte and Hazel just 2 events later to win the Womens Open 6x50 Freestyle squadron relay. Four second places from the relays of 9/11 Boy Medley, 13&U Girls Free, 13&U Boys Free, Mens Open 6x50 freestyle squadron kept the points stacking up, but was it enough to overhaul Amersham?

As the packed gallery waited for the final points the Woking team treated the gallery to their newly created "Haaka" Team chant. 

When the announcement came it was to confirm that Amersham managed to hold on by just two points, scoring 217 to Woking's 215. Thanet were 3rd with 188 just a single point ahead of Rushmoor whilst Hastings ended on 120 points just 2 ahead of 6th placed Maxwell. 

The result from round 2 means that both Amersham and Woking will compete in the Final of the National Arena League Southern Premier Division at K2, Crawley on Saturday 14th December where they will meet Guildford City, Beckenham, Sevenoaks and City of Oxford.

Head Coach, Vince Ayling was delighted by the whole team performance that underlines a year on year improvement having only gained promotion to the premier division in 2011. He feels there is more to come in the final round when Woking will compete for a place in the National A and B finals.