Wimbledon Fail To Take Their Opportunities

Wimbledon 16 v Cobham 23

London League 1 South

Match report for January 4

Many of the Wimbledon players wondered afterwards how they lost this game. The answer is that Cobham defended well and grasped their few opportunities with both hands, while Wimbledon, with the bulk of possession and the game played largely in the visitor’s half, would create scoring opportunities only to give away a needless penalty or for the final pass to go astray. 

That the game was played at all was due to the efforts of the Wimbledon members who swept most of the surface water off the pitch, but the conditions were still pretty awful and it’s a credit to both sides that they attempted to play expansive rugby. Unfortunately for Wimbledon, such play cost them two tries, completely against the run of play.

Having conceded an early try by Cobham’s hooker Hutton after a lineout 10m from their own line, Dons pack took them to within 5m of Cobham’s line, only for a scoring pass to be intercepted by the Cobham centre. A great chase by scrum half Rhys Morgan – who had a fine all-round game –stopped him on half way, but fellow centre Hargy was in support and had a free run in under the posts. Farrelly’s conversion put Cobham 12-0 ahead. 

The rest of the half belonged to Wimbledon, with lock Jack Fishwick and flanker Rob Tait cleaning up in the lineout and their front row of Nanai, Kemp and Wallace/Davies forcing their opposite numbers to concede a string of penalties, Dons’ captain Neil Hallett brought them right back into contention with three well-struck penalty goals.

A rare Cobham penalty gave Farrelly the chance to extend his team’s half way lead to 15-9, adding a further three points early in the second half. 

Apart from an opening period of pressure from the Cobham pack, the second half was again dominated by Wimbledon and when flanker Karl Roche burst through from a ruck 15m from Cobham’s line to score a deserved try, the difference was just four points – then two points after fly-half Bryan Croke converted.

But try as they might, they could not break Cobham’s defence and what turned out to be their final attack of the game summed up their effort; a good backs move ended with a fumble on half way, booted on by Farrelly, who outpaced the hastily retreating Dons’ defence to score in the corner. His missed conversion did at least give Wimbledon a losing bonus point. 

Next week, weather permitting, Wimbledon travel to Beckenham, where they will want to return to winning form.

January 5 , 2014