East Grinstead 20 v Wimbledon 15
National League 3 London & South East
Like the previous encounter between these two sides back in December, this game could have gone either way, the only difference this time being that Wimbledon would probably have won had it not been for yellow cards for scrum-half Rhys Morgan, lock Dylan Flashman and hooker Jesse Muir reducing them to 14 men for 30 minutes. The penalty count of 18-7 against didn’t help either, any more than the loss
of one important scrum and two lineouts.
For the first 15 minutes it was all Wimbledon and a series of powerful pick and drive attacks eventually saw flanker Steve May crash over for a try. Then came the lost scrum and the first yellow and East Grinstead went on the offensive. With their pack having the edge on Wimbledon in the set scrum they kept up the pressure for the rest of the half and Dons did well to limit the home team to one score…a try by fullback Copsey from a quick tap penalty on Dons’ 22.
Despite injury robbing Wimbledon of captain Cary Crowe, plus the second yellow card, they started the second half strongly and a Bryan Croke penalty gave them a 5-8 lead. But ten minutes and several penalties later the Grinstead pack drove over from 5m for a second try. Dons however soon regained the lead when Croke touched down his own neat chip through the defence and his conversion made it 10-15 with 15 minutes remaining.
After some excellent defensive tackling by prop Jesse Muir, he then got his marching orders and the Grinstead pack was able to take play back into Dons’ 22, from where their flanker Callaghan took a clever offload to dart through for try number three, and the conversion by no.10 Prescott gave the home team a 17-15 lead with just five minutes to go.
Wimbledon threw everything at the opposition and came so close to scoring twice, but
instead it was Prescott again who had the last word with a penalty just before the final
Another tough one next week, at home to fourth-placed Westcombe Park, another
team Wimbledon might well have beaten in the earlier away meeting.