Wimbledon 50 v Gosport & Fareham 22
London League 1 South
Match report for November 15
In the end Wimbledon won this game comfortably, however a slow start and a generally lackadaisical approach will give both players and coaches plenty to think about and work on prior to next Saturdays crunch match at Sutton.
Following a pre-match burst of rain the game started in dry conditions with a slick pitch sporting longer grass than Tolly would have approved of had he made it to the match. Indeed there was only a sparse crowd in attendance which may have had some bearing on Wimbledon’s unfocused approach to the game.
Gosport started the livelier of the two sides and on 9 minutes scored a well worked try from a box kick, with Alex Heron scoring in the corner. 0-5 Gosport soon pegged back to 3-5 and then 6-5 by two Neil Hallett penalties. Gosport attacked again and centre Wayne Duggan scored near the posts having brushed through 3 or 4 weak Wimbledon tackles. 12-6 Gosport.
Hallett landed another penalty which was followed by Wimbledon’s first try, a well worked catch and drive from a line-out 10 metres out with Steve May touching down. Hallett converted to make the scores 16-12. A few minutes later May scored from another catch and drive, again converted and the score was 23-12. This momentum was halted by more poor defense and a Gosport try which went unconverted. Score 23-17 at half time and having lost the try count 3 to 2 in the first half Wimbledon were grateful for the consistency of their goal kicking.
By this time Head Coach Nick Easter had seen enough and the volume level in the half time huddle was higher than this correspondent has heard for some time.
The ‘hair-dryer’ treatment seemed to have some affect as Wimbledon scored four tries without response, two of which were converted. 50 points to 17 with 10 minutes left, however at this point the foot was removed from the gas and Gosport scored their own catch and drive to deservedly go home with a 4 try bonus point.
Whilst there were some excellent individual skills on display the collective effort was a long way short of the heights reached in the victory over Chobham last month and the team will no doubt seek to repeat that intensity away at Sutton next Saturday. Their opponents will be approaching the match on the back of a 7 game winning streak so the result will be a major pointer to where the honours will go in London 1 South this season.
Next week's opponents, Sutton & Epsom, are 3 points further back. It should be an interesting match at their ground next Saturday.