Haywards Heath 26 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 13
Wimbledon travelled to Haywards Heath expecting a close game on Saturday (October 9) and so it proved.
Wimbledon adopted their usual tactic of playing into the wind in the first half and the home team exerted pressure from the start.
However after nine minutes, Wimbledon were able to gain some territory following a penalty awarded when scrum-half Alex Pye was getting pushed around by his opposite number.
Three minutes later Wimbledon were given their first chance to score after Heath were judged to be offside and Wimbledon’s Jonny Rawlinson, making a welcome return to the team, made no mistake and Wimbledon were ahead.
As so often occurs this lead did not last long and Heath’s number 10 Ed Philip found his range in front of Wimbledon’s posts to make it 3-3.
The Wimbledon pack were competing and number 8 Anton Kriel led the charge out of defence.
But Heath’s second penalty at 24 minutes took them in front and sustained pressure on 38 minutes allowed the Heath fullback Rob Jackson to drop a dubious goal, to take the score to 9–3 to the home team.
The second half saw Wimbledon pressure from the kick-off, however Heath survived this and gained territory and on 45 minutes Heath’s hooker Freddie Whitehead crashed over following a forward drive after their pack had camped on Wimbledon’s line.
The conversation was made and at 16–3 the game had changed. Wimbledon worked hard to gain field position and at 49 minutes a powerful Wimbledon driving maul, that several big Heath forwards chose not to join, bought a score from all of 10 metres out.
The scorer was lock Julian Callanan and with Rawlinson converting, the margin was now 16–10. Again after 55 minutes this was wasted with a penalty offered to Heath, which Philip made into 3 points.
A further penalty to Wimbledon by Rawlinson kept them in touch but Pye was judged to be too slow putting the ball into a scrum and the free kick resulted in a try for Heath's number 5 Perry Parker with the conversion from Philip to make it 26–13.
An ankle injury to loose head prop Pete Wallace near the end didn't help. Time was running out by now and a tiring Wimbledon side could not find another score to possibly earn a bonus point.
Despite a league position that is currently unfavourable, Wimbledon have now played three teams who have only lost one match between including the top two teams in the league. Twenty six matches is a long season and Wimbledon's defence remains mean and the improvements in teamwork can be seen each week. We can expect better results in the weeks to come.
October 16, 2010