Wimbledon 27 v Chinnor 37
Saturday’s game against Chinnor was very similar to last week’s, with Wimbledon opening brightly to take a 15-5 lead after 20 minutes and finishing even more strongly to score twice in the last ten minutes and earn a try bonus point. But for the majority of the match it was easy to see why Chinnor have lost just twice this season. With their excellent half backs controlling the game, the team made few mistakes, gave away fewer penalties and kept possession most of the second quarter and almost all the second half. In the face of the constant pressure Chinnor were able to apply it was inevitable that Dons’ sturdy defence would crack.
It didn’t look that way in the opening minute, when wing Ollie Hutson made a clean break, fed the ball back from the tackle to scrum half Rhys Morgan who chipped neatly over the Chinnor defence for centre Alfie Dudman-Jones to gather and score. No. 10 James Doe converted. He kicked another three points shortly after when Dons’pack earned a penalty 30m out. Wimbledon then repelled several attacks before their wing Nawaqualiva was put clear to score in the corner. Dons hit back though and hooker Ben Brooks scored their second try following a fine drive from a lineout. But possession then dried up and Chinnor added two more tries before the break, the first when fullback Goss evaded a tackle out wide to run in beneath the posts and then Nawaqualiva again powered over in the corner. Fly half Bentley’s conversion made it 15-19 at half time.
The first half hour after the break were poor by Wimbledon, with mistakes creeping in and the penalty count rising; a yellow card for lock Andy Hore didn’t help and nor, as is usual when things aren’t going well, all the marginal decisions went Chinnor’s way. The visitors took full advantage of Dons’s shortcomings, scoring tries through wing Chesters, centre Barnes and no.8 Manning, with Bentley adding a penalty to take the score to 15-37.
But like last week Dons’ fighting spirit came to the fore and Morgan, now in the centre, broke through and earned a penalty. From a subsequent maul the pack drove over and prop Kareem Swandells touched down. Doe slotted the conversion. Then in the dying seconds wing Sam O’Leary-Blade scored a lovely try; after another Morgan break the ball was taken on by fullback Matt Gilbert who drew his man and Blade sprinted in for the bonus point try.
There was further consolation too for Wimbledon as the 2nd XV crushed Chinnor 2nd’s 54-7.
After two tough games the 1st XV take a break next weekend before travelling to Cinderford the following week to take on the league leaders.