Wimbledon 50 v Havant 21
London League 1 South
Match report for April 12
This final league game of the season was similar to Wimbledon’s season as a whole – a slow start with a few missed opportunities, followed by a long period of excellent running rugby (with the occasional aberration) and a pleasing result.
It was a pity that some of Havant’s forwards saw fit to spoil the first half by throwing a punch at any Wimbledon player within reach, particularly as all it achieved was a red card for their lock and, unfortunately, one for Dons’ captain Chris Lewis for justifiable retaliation. But the ref’s action proved correct as the rest of the game was played in a proper spirit.
Utility forward Steve May opened the scoring for Wimbledon with a well-taken try following several promising attacks. Unsurprisingly Neil Hallett converted, as he did the next by wing Jonny Rawlinsnn in his final game for the club, nicely finishing another fine backs movement. The third was a great solo effort from fullback Vinnie McDonald, who ran through half the opposition untouched to score out wide.
Following the sendings-off Havant won a 5m lineout and their prop piled over for a try, well-converted by no.10 Dixon to take the half time score to 19-7.
Just three minutes into the second half Dons’ prop Pete Wallace took the final pass in a flowing move to cross in the corner. Hallett extended the lead with a fine conversion. Then prop Ben Davies got in on the act, pouncing on loose ball on Havant’s goal line and scoring beneath the posts for Hallett to convert. Next was a try for No.10 Bryan Croke, rapidly capitalising on a Havant error, and making the score look easy. Hooker Eion Mullen got try number seven, after another great play by Croke, and wing Josh Charles got the eighth, finishing off in the left corner a superb attack that started way out on the right. Hallett’s conversion took Wimbledon’s tally to 50, at which point they relaxed for the final minutes, letting in Havant for two converted tries.
First man-of the-match was Karl Roach, who seemed to be everywhere on the pitch at once, and the second, Jonny Rawlinson, for his try and his try-saving tackle, both exemplifying his play during his eight years with the club, every member of which wishes him and his family well in their move to the north.
Congratulations to a fine bunch of players on their fifth position in a tough league – and to the coaching team of Bully, Stewart Power, Alun Rise and Nathan Kemp.