Dons Mark Clubhouse Opening In Style

Wimbledon RFC 1XV 20 v Sutton & Epsom 13

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Wimbledon opened their new clubhouse in style with wins over Sutton & Epsom at 1st, 2nd and 3rd team levels. The only blemish on the day was a defeat for the Ladies team to a strong Rosslyn Park team.

The first XV match was closely contested as was to be expected against traditional rivals, also struggling this season, Wimbledon started by pressing the Sutton defence but an error in front of the posts allowed the defence to clear.

This became the pattern for the match with Wimbledon exerting pressure but a well-organised Sutton defence holding out until the 17th minute when scrum-half Alex Pyes broke clear after flanker Jason Anquetil, centres Guy Stringer and Chris Lewis made the initial breaks in the line. The try was scored near the right corner but wing Jonny Rawlinson made no mistake with the kick and Wimbledon’s pressure gave them a deserved lead.

This was extended on 29 minutes when a forward drive with prop Ben Davies and hooker Tom Sykes barging their way over. It was not easy to see the scorer but it was Sykes, the conversion was missed but with a 12 – 0 lead, Wimbledon sensed a victory.

What was very pleasing was a strong Wimbledon scrum throughout and a well organised line-out with locks Lambert and Morgan winning clean ball.

As often happens, Wimbledon became a little careless at times and conceded an easy penalty for offside in the backs, the resulting possession led to Sutton's no.4 Austin Shepherd barging his way over near the posts, and the easy conversion for Sutton’s scrum half Steve Munford to close the gap. The half ended with play moving freely end to end.  

The second half started with Wimbledon again being careless with a penalty awarded against them for deliberate blocking as said by the referee, another score for Munford and at 12 – 10 Sutton were back in the match. They took the lead on 13 – 12 on 66 minutes for Wimbledon not releasing in the tackle, but the final ten minutes were all Wimbledon with Rawlinson slotting another penalty in front of the posts from a tiring Sutton team.

On 70 minutes a thrilling break-out try was scored as the ball passed through many hands including Julian Callanan, Chris Lewis, and finally Danny Craven, took Wimbledon to 20 – 13, the conversion was again missed but Wimbledon then had continuous possession near the Sutton line but without being able to breach a resolute defence.

After the match the Mayor of Merton Councillor Oonagh Moulton and Stephen Hammond MP cut the tape to open the new clubhouse and the three victories could be celebrated.

December 3, 2010