Thanet Wanderers 18 v Wimbledon 1XV 3
Wimbledon travelled to Thanet Wanderers in Broadstairs (Saturday September 11) confident of putting the previous week’s defeat to Beckenham behind them.
With a new half-back pairing of Elroy Cupido at outside half and Jonny Rawlinson moved to scrum half it was hoped that Wimbledon’s backs would get a better chance to run with the ball.
It promised well: After electing to play into the wind, they defended Thanet’s attacks with good organisation and took the lead after four minutes through Rawlinson when it was judged that Thanet had failed to release in the tackle.
Thanet soon replied after a Wimbledon player joined a ruck from the side and Thanet’s outside half Ryan Copp levelled the scores.
But Thanet’s big pack were getting the ascendancy in scrum and line-out and Wimbledon’s possession started to dry up, territory followed and by the end of the half Wimbledon were pinned in their own half.
Thanet’s pressure told and at 35 minutes flanker Neil Wakeford squeezed past the tacklers to go over in the corner to give Thanet the lead. Copp was unable to convert and despite being 3 – 8 behind Wimbledon thought that the wind in the second half could be used to their advantage.
It was not to be, Thanet’s forward superiority told and Wimbledon received two yellow cards for repeat offences and were forced into playing for four minutes with only 13 men.
A second try for Thanet by replacement wing Anthony Bonfa, when Wimbledon had a man off the field, this time converted from near the touchline by Copp and a second penalty for the yellow card offence made for a 15 point victory margin.
Plusses for Wimbledon included the way captain and centre Chris Lewis was able to break tackles and get into space for the other runners. The visitors also won more turnover ball in this game than Thanet.
Wimbledon still have players to return from injury including player-coach Nathan Kemp and with only three players new to the team this season, the defeats are disappointing but the key to winning is quicker ball to Wimbledon’s speedy backs and tiring out bigger opposition forwards by varying play in attack. Easily written, but very much harder to achieve on the field.
Wimbledon 2XV 5 v Esher Acaedmy 2's 22
Another disappointing loss for the 2's, after a bright start which suggested we had the better of our far more youthful opposition. We fielded a more settled team than last week, however we still had a number of guys standing in and in some cases out of position.
An early try for stand in scrum half Ollie, after a strong maul from the lineout, showed the superior strength our pack had in the tight. Not long after we nearly got a second from a pushover scrum but it was not to be.
Esher broke quickly from their try line and scored a try after a couple of phases, and penalties that we gave away as we scrambled to keep up with their break. They then scored another off of a mistake at the lineout.
We went in at the break feeling we were still very much in the game and needed to revert back to playing it tight and utilising our stronger forwards.
Our game plan fell away from us as our fitness waned in the second half and too many times we were caught in possession when opportunities to break were ignored or missed. It was felt afterwards that whilst individually most played well, it was a poor team performance and we need to work on trusting our support far more.
September 20, 2010