Guildford 14 v Wimbledon 29
National League 3 South
Wimbledon notched up their 7th try-bonus point from nine matches this season with a 14-29 win over a highly competitive Guildford on Saturday. They didn’t achieve the dominance they have in several of their games but this was mainly due to Guildford’s effective set scrum and their line speed. The difference though was Dons’ control at half back through Rhys Morgan and Bryan Croke, some strong runs by the forwards – led as usual by no.8 Roy Godfrey – and slick handling by the backs, all of which ensured they took their chances well while pressurising Guildford into missing theirs.
The home team started like a train, when a half-asleep Wimbledon watched as G’s fullback, Dan Peyton, jinked through for a fine solo try after just four minutes, easily converted by Freddie Hooper. But within two minutes Dons equalised when lock Sean Renwick touched down from a powerful drive following a confident decision to kick a penalty for a lineout rather than take three points.
For the next 15 minutes play surged back and forth before Croke kicked his side into G’s 22 and another fine drive ended with wing Josh Charles touching down. Croke’s conversion made it 7-14.
Guildford came back hard but Dons’ defence held and on 30 minutes a breakout down the left wing and lovely hands acrossfield gave wing Dave Bennett the 1/2m he needed to dummy inside then out around his man for try no.3. This time Croke’s conversion attempt hit the upright. Neither side could gain any ascendency for the final 10 minutes of the half.
The second half began the same way, before Dons’ back pressured G’s into a penalty, and Croke broke the deadlock with three points. It stayed at 7-22 until 25 minutes, when a trademark Croke chip was seized by the ever-alert centre Aaron Lowe, who powered over for try no.4 with Croke adding the extras. But then the maestro was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on and sent to the bin, and from the ensuing penalty G’s pack won a penalty try, and a yellow for Dons’ flanker Gary Crowe in his attempt to prevent it.
Down to 13 men for the final 5 minutes plus injury time Dons showed their mettle by denying G’s all but scraps of possession to keep them out range of the try line and earn a very satisfactory win, putting them in a three-way tie for second place in the league, just 2 points behind leaders Tonbridge Juddians.
The league takes a break next weekend, after which Wimbledon are at home to struggling Colchester.