Victory For Wimbledon RFC Despite Under Par Performance

Rugby result: Wimbledon 24 v Chingford 3

London & SE Premier League, 20 October

Not Wimbledon’s best display of the season, partly because Chingford made them work very hard for each score and partly because of the he disruption to the team caused by a succession of injuries, including those to both half-backs, Campbell Musson and Zak Vinnicombe, and latterly to lock Alex Campbell. But a 5-point try bonus win is as good as gets and keeps Dons two points clear at the top of the league.

Although not on top form as a team there were plenty of good individual performances and numerous bright spots, the first being a fine try eight minutes in by centre Toby White, who outpaced three defenders and handed-off a fourth to race into the corner.

Wimbledon’s set scrum had the edge over their opposition but not the dominance they’ve come to expect which, combined with Chingford’s linespeed, prevented the expansive game that would have given their wingers, Josh Charles and Phil Chesters, plus replacement Lee Reilly, the chance to prove they had what appeared to be the better of their opposite numbers.

The game ebbed and flowed for 20 minutes or so - slightly in Dons’ favour – with both defences proving the dominant factor. Then a poor clearance by Wimbledon and a silly penalty gave Chingford’s Meakin an easy three points. Dons soon hit back though, launching waves of attacks, eventually succeeding through prop Jordan Saunders bursting through a gap after a sweetly-timed pass by Matt Gilbert (starting at 15 but by now playing 10) who added the conversion to make it 12-3 at half time.

A 5m lineout from a Wimbledon penalty three minutes after the re-start was the platform the pack needed from which to drive over for a try, touched down by prop Bertie Haskins. Then, apart from occasional powerful runs from Wimbledon’s forwards, spearheaded by no.8 Chris York – and one by flanker Kane Alboni, which looked certain to result in a try, only for the ref to halt play for a Chingford injury – little of note happened between the frequent stoppages for Chingford injuries (or fatigue?) until the final quarter. Wimbledon were again camped in the visitor’s 22, but held out by strong defence until the pack again drove over, Mark Scott emerging as the scorer of the bonus point try, converted by Gilbert.

Other positives, apart from the result, were the success of the lineout thanks to accurate throwing in by Dave Wayman and good work by the jumpers, principally player/coach Rob Louw, and a debut 20 minute performance at scrum half by centre Jack Reville (although he says he doesn’t want to play there again).

Next week Wimbledon travel away to fourth-placed Guildford.

October 26, 2018