Beckenham 20 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 19
Wimbledon really did not deserve to lose this game to 6th placed Beckenham; apart from the fact that the referee was unsighted when prop Joey Nanai touched down in the dying seconds for what would have been the winning score, Dons played all the rugby and looked the better side throughout.
But just two lapses, well exploited first by Beckenham centre Jones, then winger Hulls, cost them dear. Tom Mahutariki converted one of the resulting tries to add to his earlier penalty and, completely against the run of play, Wimbledon found themselves 17-0 down after 30 minutes.
But then a lovely break by Wimbledon wing James Hayes and taken on by lock Matt Lambert gave Ben Sykes the space to slice through for a try under the posts, which Lambert converted.
Moments later centre Sam Jones used excellent turnover ball by the pack to weave through several defenders and score a fine solo try. This time it was no.10 Elroy Cupido, who had an outstanding all-round game, who converted – and Dons were just three points behind at half-time.
A harsh penalty against Dons just after the re-start extended Beckenham’s lead to six points, but more fine counter-rucking and a bullocking run by prop Ben Davies, produced quick ball for Cupido who swerved and side-stepped his way down the blind side to score an excellent and well-deserved try which took his team to within one point.
After a 40 minute break for medical attention to a Beckenham player, most of the final 25 minutes was played in the home team's half – but dogged defence, a couple of silly Wimbledon penalties, and then the unsighted ref, combined to prevent any further score, and the game – and the season – came to a disappointing end.
With the anticipated return of most of this season's walking wounded, the team can look forward to a much better year in London 2 South. Meanwhile, great credit must go to the many players from all levels of the club who stepped in at the last minute to fill the injury gaps, often playing out of position and alongside unfamiliar team-mates.
Likewise the stalwarts of the pack who battled on regardless against some very tough opposition, not to mention the coaches Nathan Kemp and James Ogilvie-Bull, who did a sterling job with such depleted resources.
Finally, congratulations to Ben Davies and flanker Ed Lewis on being the only two 1st team players not to miss a single game through injury.
April 21, 2011