Chobham 25 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 25
The opening two minutes of this league game away at Chobham epitomised Wimbledon’s poor first half performance; they turned the ball over meekly in a midfield tackle then looked to each other to tackle as Chobham’s centre Walsh sliced through a non-existent defence to set up his wing Roberts for a try under the posts, which Walsh converted.
Lacking the spirit and commitment they showed the previous week, Wimbledon were out-wrestled for the ball in the mauls and driven off it in the rucks. Even their normally solid defence looked disorganised and it was no surprise when Chobham drove over from a 5m lineout for try number two, again converted.
In fact, the surprise was that the home side managed just one penalty in the second quarter to take them to 17 points, while Dons only foray into Chobham territory did at least bring a long-range penalty conversion by Jonny Rawlinson.
Whatever was said at half time clearly had an effect and two fine kicks from no10 Elroy Cupido took them to Chobham’s 22 from where Rawlinson converted a second penalty.
Ten minutes into the half, a break by scrum half Alex Pyes from the base of a much more settled scrum, created the room for centre Guy Stringer to power over in the corner. Rawlinson’s excellent conversion took the score to 17-13 and Dons were right back in the game.
But two careless penalties five minutes later gave Chobham the territory and possession to mount a series of forward attacks from which eventually wing Clarkson found the space out wide to score in the corner.
A fine run with his first touch of the ball by Wimbledon’s replacement no10 Dave Rees, and quick hands out wide ended with fullback Leon Driscoll diving into the corner with two defenders hanging off him. The try took Dons back to within four points.
If Wimbledon lock Andre Watkins’ first half yellow card was harsh, Stringer's, ten minutes from time, was more so – and the resulting three points by Chobham's no10 Harry Guy, restored their seven point lead.
But a revitalised pack then pinned the opposition on their own line until eventually replacement hooker Nathan Kemp drove over under the posts and Rawlinson’s simple conversion levelled the scores. If he’d had a pot with one of the several penalties Dons were awarded in the final nail-biting minutes they might have scraped a win. As it was Chobham defended well against drive after drive from a pumped-up pack and the teams ended with two league points apiece.
The second half performance will be needed for a full 80 minutes next week when unbeaten league leaders, Tonbridge Juddians, come to Wimbledon.
September 27, 2010