Clifton 25 v Wimbledon 20
This was a very evenly matched game in which Wimbledon's superior fitness nearly won the game on Saturday (October 14) against a tiring Clifton.
Despite train and motorway delays Wimbledon made a good start and were very lively and competitive with end-to-end play.
In the 25th minute a piece of individual skill by the Clifton fly half who then combined with their pacey fullback and wing Charlie Hubert to score their first converted try.
Resilient defence by Wimbledon frustrated Clifton and strong play by Wimbledon started to expose gaps in the Clifton Defence.
On 30 minutes Clifton were awarded a penalty which they converted to extend their lead to 10 -0.
Wimbledon battled back and on 35mins after some great interplay were rewarded with an excellent converted try by the ever-dangerous Dan Cheers.
But once again a some individual skill by the Clifton fullback led to a counter attacking try which made the half time score 15-7.
Despite being behind Wimbledon had contributed fully to an exciting first half.
In the second half Wimbledon started by applying pressure and gaining good territory only to concede a quickly taken penalty, allowing the Clifton scrum half to put their flying winger away and extend their lead to 22 -7.
Dons’ Daniel Laventure, who was looking very sharp and had carried very well from no 8, then suffered a head injury and sadly left the field.
At no point did Wimbledon’s work rate falter and they fought their way back into the game with strong runs by the three quarters who started to break the opposing line.
As Clifton began to tire big carries by the Wimbledon forwards, led by locks Dylan Flashman and John Okafor, started to stretch Clifton. Pressure was rewarded with a well taken penalty by James Doe. Following a sustained drive by the forwards the Wimbledon scrum half Sam Waltier scored an excellent try which was converted by James Doe to make the score 22 -17 .
Against the run of play Clifton’s scrum then earned a penalty which extended their lead to 25 -17.
But again Wimbledon came back and on 76 mins kicked a penalty to close the gap to 25-20.
With 5 minutes to go it was all Wimbledon pressure and the home team looked increasingly stretched until eventually a relieved Clifton got the ball into touch to end the game.
Wimbledon’s athleticism and endeavour were never in question but a few moments of individual brilliance by the Clifton half backs and back three won them the game, leaving Dons with just a consolation losing bonus point.
It really can’t be long before Wimbledon get that all-important first win and hopefully it will be at home next week against Henley.
By Jim Green
By Jim Green