Wimbledon 46 v London Irish Wild Geese 21
Wimbledon welcomed London Irish to Barham Road with the memory of the last meeting still fairly fresh, but the outcome this time was rather different.
Wimbledon scored six tries in a 46 – 21 victory over their local rivals and adding the pinpoint accuracy of outside half James Doe’s kicking they added conversions and two penalties to the tries.
Throughout the home pack was on top and adding the safe hands of fullback Matt Gilbert under the high kicks, there was little chance of the Irish regaining possession once kicked away.
However at the start Irish were the first onto the scoreboard after with a well worked try to the Irish left wing who raced past the Wimbledon defence to score, the conversion was also good.
After 9 minutes when Wimbledon got their hands on the ball, flanker Dan Laventure made yards through the first line of defence, passed to Doe and then a break down the blindside by centre Alfie Dutman-Jones to give the scoring pass to outside half James Doe who went in under the posts, his conversion was accurate and the score was equal.
Five minutes later the second try came when a good driving maul led to the ball going left and Sam O’Leary-Blade with very little space got the second, again converted. Four minutes later the third try was scored with the ball being spread after a storming drive by no.8 Chris York, again to Dutman-Jones and again wide out on the left to O’Leary-Blade this time again converted.
After this the Irish came to life and launched a big attack, they drove to the line and desperate Wimbledon defence made the ball impossible to ground, with the scrum secure, Wimbledon were able to clear. An injury to O’Leary-Blade saw him replaced by Charlie Esam, whilst under defence, the Irish strayed offside giving Doe an easy penalty with time running to half-time, there was no mistake from Doe 15m out, a second penalty, this time on the left to make the half-time score 27 – 7 at half time.
The second half saw some comment to the referee from the Irish, they were marched back and scrum-half Rhys Morgan saw his chance, a quick snipe and Wimbledon took the ball down the field, the pressure allowed the ball out to Doe who offloaded and sent in flanker Dom Rice under the posts for the bonus point try and a score of 32 – 7. With play at the other end, a gift of a penalty try and a yellow card was offered by the hosts for a deliberate knock-on. But four minutes later after at least seven phases Wimbledon’s fifth try came from Dutman-Jones and an easy conversion.
An injury to Doe needed some re-arrangement with replacement lock Tyler Flashman joining the field and lock Alex Campbell moving to no.8 after York had been replaced. There was still time for one last attack when a well drilled maul with hooker Ben Brooks at the back and carrying the ball, moved forward in the Irish 22, the ball was slipped and scrum half Rhys Morgan dived over near the posts from 5 metres. This time winger Harry Tabb tried the conversion and scored the final points. London Irish had the final score deep in injury time with a try under the posts for their outside half.
On Saturday March 3 Wimbledon will be away at Redingensians with a 3pm kick-off.