Rugby result: Wimbledon 38 v Guildford 7
London & SE Premier League, 16 February
Wimbledon avenged their earlier one-point defeat at Guildford with a vastly improved performance delivering an emphatic 38-7 victory. As has become their habit recently, Wimbledon scored almost from the kick-off. Their forwards put huge pressure on Guildford’s line, numerous crash balls sucking in the visitor’s defence until quick ball to the blind side by scrum half, Aaron Booth, reached centre Freddie Hooper who drew his man and wing Matt Gilbert was clear to sprint in and touch down in the corner. Hooper’s touchline conversion attempt narrowly missed.
The next five minutes established the pattern for much of the remainder of the half: Guildford responded immediately with their own attack, using their superior pace out wide to cause Dons problems, but their backline defence, ably supported by their mobile pack, usually headed by the excellent Alex Campbell, was outstanding.
Despite being down to 14 men for the middle ten minutes when wing Campbell Musson was yellow carded following his try-saving tackle, and the final ten minutes after flanker Rich Ridley had proved his point to his opposite number, Wimbledon not only withstood all that Guildford could throw at them but ended the half with a second try; a flowing attack by the backs took the ball deep into Guildford’s 22, then crash ball again, with every forward taking his turn, ultimately produced a penalty in front of the posts.
With Dons’ set piece superiority already established they opted for a scrum and at the third attempt a powerful drive ended with no. 8 and captain, Chris York, grounding the ball over the try line. Hooper’s conversion took the score at half time to 10-0.
The tone for the second half was set at the first scrum which Dons won against the head. Moments later Musson gathered a Guildford clearance kick near touch, headed infield and began another backs move which ended with centre Toby Whiote bursting through to score under the sticks after a very nice run and inside pass from Gilbert. Hooper again converted.
Guildford came back with a lovely try of their own: seeing there was no way through Dons’ defence, no. 10 Jones put a perfectly judged kick into the arms of his unmarked wing Jordan on the other side of the pitch, who had a simple run in to score, and Jones converted. From then on though it was all Wimbledon.
The pack won a penalty through their scrummaging, plus the ensuing lineout from where they drove a full 20m before releasing the ball to fullback Ben Hough who cut through to score try number four. Hooper’s conversion made it 26-7.
Another fine drive from a lineout set in motion another attack from which replacement flanker Bertie Haskins bulldozed over for number five, soon after touching down for his second from another superb driving maul. Hooper’s conversion rounded off a very good day at the office and a fine way to celebrate the 40th birthday of team manager, Bully.
After a week’s break Wimbledon head to Dorking in search of another five-pointer to keep alive their promotion hopes.
February 21, 2019