Brighton 18 v Wimbledon 8
London League 1 South
Match report for October 26
Brighton won this match because they took their scoring chances and Wimbledon didn't, despite creating many more than the home team.
Admittedly Brighton had the edge in the set scrum and defended strongly against Dons' usually powerful rolling maul - and tactically Brighton were shrewder, using the strong wind far more effectively than Dons.
But still Wimbledon should have won through their wealth of possession and, in the first half, territory too, not to mention (most unusually) the high penalty count in their favour.
Conceding a penalty from the kick-off, converted by Brighton's Alex Finch, was not the best start for Wimbledon, although a lovely break from wing Josh Charles ten minutes later, taken on by Jonny Rawlinson, so nearly gave them their first score. But as it was they had to wait for a penalty from Neil Hallett after 25 minutes.
Excellent lineout work, with Ed Lewis and Gary Crowe again prominent, produced almost endless good ball for scrum half Charlie Morgan, and crash ball through the centre, especially by Neil Brown and lock Jonno Reynolds always looked promising, but time and again the attack petered out after two or three phases.
The same was true of the rucks, where there were some great carries by Jamie Doubleday in particular, which led to nothing. A rare miss at goal by Hallett would have tied the scores at half time, after Finch had put his side three points ahead five minutes earlier.
Both Brighton's second half tries came from broken play, the first just five minutes in after Dons had had two 5m scrums turned over, when hooker Henderson made the extra man on the wing to run round under the posts for an easy Finch conversion.
The second, ten minutes from time, again after Dons had been pressuring Brighton’s line, came from an interception in their own 22 and a length-of-the-field run which ended with Finch making it 18-3. Wimbledon lock Jack Fishwick touched down for a consolation try just before time after one of the pack’s few really successful drives.
Of the four teams at the top of the league table Wimbledon have lost to three of them by an aggregate of just 16 points, an indication of just how close this team is to becoming a real force in the league. It is certainly one of the best squads the club has had for years and it surely can't be long before they start producing the results they are worthy of. Hopefully that start will be next week at home to Hove.
October 29, 2013