Guildford 15 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 34
A game of two halves, as they say. An inspired second half from Wimbledon, playing with 14 men for most of it, after Guildford had played all the rugby in the first half, which ended with them deservedly 15-9 ahead on Saturday (January 28).
Wimbledon got off to the worst possible start, carelessly giving the ball away to G's centre Jarrod, who had a clear run in for a try which he himself converted. With Dons' scrum under much more pressure than they're used to it was G's who had the bulk of possession – aided somewhat by some sloppy Wimbledon handling – and a good drive from a 5m lineout gave them a second try.
Fortunately the excellent referee quickly spotted G's persistent offside at scrum and ruck and Dons' fullback Dave Sharp kept them in the hunt with three converted penalties against a single Guildford reply. But it was a lacklustre Wimbledon performance and they were a shade lucky only to be six points down at the break.
But in the second half luck didn't come into it. After just two minutes a long grubber kick to the corner from no.10 Dan Brown, chased by centre Dave Rees and wing Kua Palakua caused G's wing to fumble and Rees pounced for try No.1.
Still a point down, prospects didn't look too good for Dons when lock Richie Stewart was sent off for a second yellow card offence, but they scored again almost immediately through flanker Chris Lewis after a superb passage involving first the pack and then the whole back line. He scored again moments later when the pack won turnover ball and a fine run by Brown was stopped 2m short. Pakalua was on hand again to win and slip the ball to his captain to score try no.3.
Now nine points ahead, Wimbledon rejected a very kickable penalty to kick instead for a 5m lineout. Rob Tait, as usual, won the ball, Charlie Morgan set up a ruck and prop Steve May dived through for no.4, capping a fine game, first at loosehead, then tighthead when Joey Nanai limped off.
Still a man down of course, the set scrum was a problem against a good Guildford pack, but Dons were now dominant in the loose, and quick ball to Brown, a superb pass from that man Pakalua, and wing Jonny Rawlinson darted in at the corner for no.5. and the final score.
This was an impressive performance from Wimbledon against third placed Guildford and to maintain a lead over them they’ll want more of the same in their next match, where complacency is probably the only danger against bottom-placed Bognor.
February 7, 2012