Wimbledon 30 v Chichester 17
National League 3 London & South East
In the end it was a fairly convincing 30-17 win over old rivals Chichester, although it didn’t start too well when a promising Dons move ended with a pass to Chichester’s stand-off, Adams who sprinted 60m for a try, converted by Maslam. It is rumoured that the errant pass was delivered by Wimbledon’s captain, Neil Hallett, but he atoned for it with three well-struck penalties which would have put his team ahead but for a good drop goal by Adams.
Dons did soon take the lead though, after 30 minutes of effort but little fluency and a lot of errors, when Chichester’s wing failed to gather a chip ahead by Dons’ Bryan Croke and the no.10 pounced on the loose ball to score. Hallett’s conversion made it 16-10 at half time, although given the vastly improved set scrummaging and hooker Jesse Muir unerringly finding his principal lineout jumpers, Campbell Tait and Gary Crowe, the margin should have been greater.
It got bigger though five minutes after the re-start when a powerful drive from a 5m lineout produced a fine pushover try touched down by flanker Steve May. Hallett’s conversion extended the lead to 23-10. Further excellent work by the pack, including a 40m driving maul, would have yielded more scores but for a couple of strange refereeing decisions and instead, after Dons conceded a string of penalties in their own 22, it was the visitors who scored with a drive over from a ruck 3m out. Maslam’s conversion narrowed the gap again to 23-17.
But then, despite the loss of May to injury, Wimbledon took control of the final somewhat frenetic 15 minutes. First though they had a second pushover try disallowed, then a deliberate knock-on by the visitors robbed them of another. Still they piled on the pressure and an increasingly desperate Chichester eventually conceded a penalty try to Wimbledon, while earning themselves no fewer than three yellow cards. The conversion posed no problem for Hallett and it pushed the scoreline to one more representative of the game.
After another break next weekend Wimbledon travel to bottom-placed Eton Manor.