Rugby result: Wimbledon 53 v Bedford Athletic 13
London & SE Premier League, 6 October
At 9-13 down shortly before half-time few would have predicted a 53-13 victory over a useful-looking Bedford Athletic team.
The half started brightly enough for Dons, with the half-back pairing giving an early indication of the influence they were to have throughout the match: scrum-half Blane Wilson jinked through Bedfortd’s defence to score after just two minutes, and no.10 James Moffat converted from the touchline.
But Wimbledon then contrived to mess up three golden try-scoring opportunites and repeatedly let the opposition back into the game with a succession of penalties.
The first resulted in a nice run by Bedford’s backs, which ended in a simple try for wingman Woody, well converted by fly-half Leo. Two of the other penalties each presented Leo with a further three points.
But as half time approached a Moffat penalty kick found touch deep in Bedford’s 22 and prop Jordan Saunders touched down to finish off a typical Dons drive from the lineout. Moffat’s conversion gave them a 14-13 lead. He increased that to 19-13 almost immediately, with his lovely break from another successful lineout 15m out.
In the second half though, Bedford rarely got a look in. From the kick-off Dons’ pack drove a full 25m, the Wilson/Moffat combo swiftly got the ball to centre Paul Hendry who made one of his incisive breaks and put pacey wing Ollie Kitto in at the corner. Two minutes later another Hendry break covering half the length of pitch led to a try on the other wing by Kieran Morris.
Still conceding a lot of penalties and territory it was another 20 minutes before Wimbledon took complete control. Locks Jack Cook and Alex Campbell ruled the lineout, centres Hendry and Jack Reville plus fullback Harry Tabb and supported by flankers Jack Flanagan and Kain Rix put up a brick wall defence and with the forwards all running and passing like backs, the team ran in four more tries in the final quarter. Rix got the first after an inside pass from Morris to round off a fine passage of 15 man rugby.
The pack drove over for the second, with Saunders again touching down, and Moffat’s conversion made it 41-13. But not content with that, replacement hooker Callum Grant was on hand to score the next, after a Rix break and a strong run by Campbell fell just a metre short. Two more points from Moffat made it 48-13 and then, just before full time, no.8 Chris York deservedly scored in the corner after a quickly taken penalty and a lovely lofted pass to put the captain in the clear.
This was another good job well done and keeps Wimbledon on top of the league, just ahead of Rochford Hundred, the only other unbeaten team.
Wimbledon next travel to fourth-placed Sidcup for what could possibly be their toughest fixture yet.
On the adjacent pitch Wimbledon 2’s were unlucky to concede a late (and dubious) penalty which enabled Canterbury 2nd XV to level the score at 20 all.
October 11, 2019