Wimbledon 25 v Dorking 0
National League 3 London & South East
What an ideal start to Wimbledon’s second season in National 3, a 4-try bonus point win against Dorking, who’ve spent the last two seasons in the league above and who were clearly surprised at the manner of Dons’ victory. Although the Dorking pack caused Dons problems in the set scrum early on, they were no match for them in the loose or at the lineout, where Wimbledon won all their own ball and nicked several of Dorking’s, courtesy mainly of Campbell Tait and Gary Crowe. And by the second half Dorking’s back line was totally dominated by Dons, whose line speed and tenacity in the tackle demolished every Dorking attack, and whose defence was impenetratable.
For the opening quarter Dorking’s scrum provided their side with the majority of possession, although it was Dons who scored first through a well-struck penalty by Bryan Croke after his centres Jack Reville and Aaron Lowe won turnover ball. Then after 25 minutes a yellow card for the Dorking no.8, Rob Fee, proved expensive when Wimbledon opted for touch, won the lineout and drove over the try line for the powerful Roy Godfrey to touch down.
The remainder of the first half was end-to-end, but with Wimbledon looking the only team likely to score. And this they did 10 minutes into the second half, and again 5 minutes later and yet again 3 minutes after that.
The first of them started with a Tait lineout steal, then a signature chip over the opposition by the mercurial Croke, which he half-caught on the bounce, flicked on to the supporting Lowe and it was 13-0, then 15-0 as Croke converted. Lowe then capped an exceptional game by scoring his second try following a weaving run by Croke, set up by a half break from scrum half Rhys Morgan.
Newcomer Dave Bennett scored the final try, sprinting into the corner from a long mis-pass by Lowe after numerous strong drives by the forwards.
An interception by Dorking’s centre almost brought his team a try but replacement fullback Matt Gilbert on his debut was too fast for him and killed the attack on the 22. Credit to Dorking for continued resistance through the final quarter, but there was really only one team in it.
Wimbledon will want a repeat team performance next week, away against old rivals Sutton & Epsom.