Tonbridge Juddians 71 v Wimbledon RFC 1XV 3
When these two teams last met, back in October, just one score separated them. This time Tonbridge Juddians gave an exhibition of running rugby, dominating every phase and hardly letting Wimbledon into the game.
The semi-pro home team's heavier, taller and better-organised pack denied Dons all but scraps of possession – apart from a gutsy spell in the second half – and their speedy backs revelled in an endless supply of good quick ball.
Although Dons were guilty of missing a few tackles, more often than not they simply found themselves outpaced and outnumbered and the excellent home back line ran in no fewer than six tries in the first half. Three conversions and two penalties, against a sole penalty from Don's Leon Driscoll, made the score at the interval 42-3.
Wimbledon defended much better in the second half – and had a good period of real pressure towards the close, but TJ’s defence and ability to counter-attack proved as effective as the rest of their game. Two tries in the dying moments gave the home side a 29 point second half tally which didn’t do justice to Wimbledon’s valiant efforts.
Every one of Wimbledon's players must take great credit for refusing to roll over in the face of what, by their own admission, was probably the league leader’s best performance of the season, but Julian Callanan, Steve May and Joey Nanai deserve special mention for their non-stop tackling and aggressive ball-carrying.
Wimbledon have another tough fixture next week, at home to third-placed Haywards Heath, although it's very unlikely to be quite as stern a test.
January 20, 2011