Dons Just Lose Out To Gravesend

Wimbledon 16 v Gravesend 19

London League 1 South

Match report for October 12

Despite sustained pressure from Wimbledon over the final ten minutes, Gravesend clung on to their slim lead to clinch a victory they just about deserved.

Dons’ defeat though was due in part to their inability to understand the referee’s interpretation of the laws relating to scrums, rucks and mauls. The resulting penalty count against them, plus too many unforced errors, gave the visitors the majority of possession and territory in the first half and their 6-3 lead at the interval – courtesy of two penalty goals by G’s Zanirato against one from Dons’ Neil Hallett -  was a fair reflection of the game.

The second half began in much the same way, with G’s kicker adding three more points from a penalty in front of the posts. But then, in the best move of the game, Wimbledon’s pack won and kept hold of the ball, and some flowing rugby from their backs ended with Pete Scott and Tommy Moore combining to put prop Pete Wallace over in the corner. Hallett’s conversion gave Dons a 10-9 lead.

But almost from the kick-off flanker Rich Stewart was harshly yellow-carded and No.8 Danny Craven, on his first outing of the season, went off injured.

After fifteen minutes Gravesend’s pack got a great shove on in a 5m scrum, Dons collapsed it and the ref. had no option but to award a penalty try. 10-16 to Gravesend.

Five minutes later though, Hallett reduced the deficit to 13-16, only for Zanirato to slot his fourth penalty and restore G’s lead to six points.

With ten minutes remaining a rare Wimbledon penalty was quickly taken by skipper Charlie Morgan, to start a fine backs move which ended with wing Josh Charles brought down just a yard short of the line. The ref had been playing advantage though and from the penalty Hallett brought Dons back to 16-19.

A typical surging run from Chris Lewis, making a welcome return after a long term injury, led to Charles almost scoring again, but although the team threw everything they had at Gravesend they just could not break a defence that proved almost as impenetratable as their own, and they had to be content with just a losing bonus point.

A break min the league next week, then Wimbledon are away to Brighton.

October 13, 2013