London Irish Wild Geese 24 v 22 Wimbledon
National League 3 London & South East
If only Wimbledon’s set scrum had functioned properly they would almost certainly have brought to an end the Irish amateurs’ unbeaten run. As it was, on almost every every Irish put-in Dons conceded a penalty as their pack splintered, giving the home team a wealth of possession and territory. Fortunately their lineout worked, with lock Dylan Flashman winning plenty of ball, and they won enough at the breakdown to show what this team is capable of in attack.
Flanker Mark Scott opened the scoring for Wimbledon after a typically strong run from Steve May, and captain Neil Hallett converted well from out wide. Irish hit straight back though, with one of those penalties, converted by no.10 Dunne. Irish attacked again and only a desperate try-saving tackle by wing Josh Charles saved the day. But the relief was short-lived; a rare lineout loss, some rarer missed tackles and then the loss of their own scrum 5m out gave the Irish no.8 Livett an easy try, converted by Dunne.
Wimbledon forced a penalty of their own from the re-start and Hallett levelled the scores at 10-10, Then a fine passage of forward play, a quick blind side pass from a ruck by scrum half Rhys Morgan and Charles was in at the corner. Hallett’s kick again bisected the posts and Dons led 17-10 at half time.
Irish soon equalised again five minutes in when a neat kick from Dunne fell in to the arms of centre Turner, giving him a clear run in. Dunne converted, as he did five minutes later after continuous pressure on Dons in their own 22 yielded a try for Irish wing Killeen. Wimbledon fought straight back though, when aggressive defence brought them a penalty on half way, quickly taken by no.10 Bryan Croke and two passes later wing Adam Ike finished the move with a good try in the corner. This time, in the strengthening wind, Hallett’s conversion went wide, and Dons lagged 22-24.
In a frantic final few minutes, with both sides falling off tackles and missing opportunities, neither was able to add to their score and Wimbledon had to be content with a single losing bonus point.
The next game is in two weeks, when old rivals Chichester visit Wimbledon for what is likely to be a lively encounter.