Effingham & Leatherhead 26 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 24
It was fortunate for Wimbledon that, regardless of the outcome of this or any other league match, they had already secured second place and a promotion play-off, because they were well beaten by Effingham & Leatherhead on Saturday March 30 – and by a bigger margin than the 27 - 24 score would suggest.
It would be easy to blame Wimbledon’s makeshift backline for the defeat – a backline that had never played together before and with most of them playing out of position, but the forwards weren’t blameless either, conceding far too many turnovers and allowing Effingham's pick and drive to gain acres of territory. Furthermore, the home team played the better rugby!
Wimbledon's pack were again dominant in the set scrum and the Kemp/Box combination did well in the lineout in the absence of jumper Tait. In the opening spell it looked as though the pack would be able to drive over the try line almost at will, but Effingham’s defence was excellent and Dons emerged from a period of huge pressure with just a Leon Driscoll penalty to show for their efforts.
Effingham then gradually forced their way into the game, their backs looking sharp and dangerous, and after 25 minutes wing Radley rounded a Wimbledon defence in disarray to score in the corner. His fellow wing Penny soon added another good try, well-converted by no.10 Collins.
Wimbledon reduced the deficit shortly after when the pack forced a penalty try, converted by Driscoll, but just before half time Collins increased it once more with a penalty from out wide.
The second half was more of the same, Effingham’s fullback Foster and Penny again exploiting Dons’ often shambolic defence to score a try apiece, the secong converted by Collins. Entering the final quarter the still dominant Wimbledon scrum stole an Effingham put-in and the subsequent driving maul was touched down by prop Pete Wallace. Driscoll’s conversion made it 27-17. The home team’s defence held on well against a rather toothless Wimbledon attack until replacement Graeme Symon touched down from another fine forward drive and Driscoll's conversion brought up the final score.
This was a poor performance by Wimbledon against an impressive Effingham side and they'll need iron out one or two problems in the final league game of the season two weeks from now in order to be back to their efficient best.
April 5, 2012