Rugby result: Bedford Athletic 31 v Wimbledon 40
London & SE Premier League, 18 January
On a brilliantly sunny day and on Bedford’s energy-sapping artificial pitch it was always going to be a fast, open game…one that initially seemed to suit the home team more and they looked anything but a side deep in the relegation zone, fully deserving their 21-12 half-time lead over Wimbledon - due in no small part to the work of their no.10 Mortimer and incisive centres Smith and Sawford-Smith.
All that said, Wimbledon didn’t exactly help themelves, slipping off more tackles during that forty minutes than probably in the entire season to date, and coughing up possession far too easily.
It had started to look like a walk in the park for them when slick work from no.10 Steve Boatman, wing Ollie Kitto, and centre Finn Taylor produced a good try after just six minutes, well converted by Boatman. Immediately following a soft three points gifted to Bedford, Dons got their second try when Kitto outpaced the defence to score out wide and it was 3-12.
Another soft penalty and it was 6-12 then, after a good lineout and drive by Dons just short of Bedford’s line, they lost the ball, Bedford raced it up field and winger Sagoe scored a good try, converted by Mortimer. It got worse for Wimbledon ten minutes later, when Sagoe scored his second after a tidy move by the whole back line. Although Mortimer missed the conversion he got another three points just before the interval and it was suddenly 21-12. As Dons’ no. 7 Kain Rix said, after limping off the field with an ankle injury, “We’re really making hard work of this.”
The half-time rollocking from coach Collin Osborne clearly had an effect and three minutes after the re-start hooker Josh Forrester finished off a well-organised attack to score try no.3. Five minutes later another penalty for Bedford took them into a seven point lead again but it was short-lived, as two penalty conversions by Boatman narrowed the deficit to 24-23, and entering the final quarter, fullback Freddie Hooper capitalised on another good lineout and drive to score in the corner, Boatman adding the two points. He got two more moments later when lock Alex Campbell touched down from a powerful driving maul and the score was now 24-37. With Dons’ now dominating the set scrum, they earned a kickable penalty and Boatman duly obliged, to take his team to 40 points.
Bedford weren’t done though, and with their visitors coasting somewhat towards the final whistle they took full advantage with a third try for their wing and a sixth successful kick by Mortimer.
It was a good game to watch, and another five-pointer, but Wimbledon know they will need normal service to be resumed for a full 80 minutes next week at home to Sidcup.
January 20, 2020