Wimbledon 55 v Old Redcliffians 17
The last time these two sides met, in Bristol last December, Wimbledon sneaked a one point win to end their run of ten defeats that was their introduction to National 2. This time they outplayed Old Redcliffians in every area of the game to romp home 55-17, keeping alive their hopes of avoiding relegation. To do so they must rely on Redruth overcoming Redcliffians next week, while they themselves must beat Barnstaple away to bring their season to an extraordinary close.
It was a crucial game for both sides and it got off to a scratchy start, but 12 minutes in good ball from Don’s pack and quick passing by centres Jack Reville and Alfie Dudman-Jones gave the pacey fullback Ben Hough the space to run in try number one. Making almost their first visit to Don’s half after 20 minutes play OR’s no 10 sidestepped his way to a pretty soft try and added the extras himself. Almost immediately Wimbledon captain Dylan Flashman scored Don’s second after a strong run by flanker Niall McSweeney. Fly-half James Doe put over the conversion to make it 12-7. That shot up to 31-7 by half time through three very different tries: the first was scored and converted by the slick scrum-half Harry Tabb from a pinpoint chip through by Doe. No. 8 Dan Laventure got the next, breaking away from the base of the scrum as they pushed the opposition backwards. And the third – a second for Hough after his smart break following a long miss-pass by Doe, who converted on the stroke of half time.
After the break Wimbledon applied pressure right from the off, the forwards earning a penalty on OR’s 10m line. Opting to kick for a 5m lineout, lock Andy Hore made one his many clean takes and four phases later flanker Chris York powered over for Don’s sixth try, which Tabb duly converted.
The next 15 minutes were the visitor’s best and a neat chip from Hill created a deserved try for his winger Smith. They scored another through centre Gervais with just four minutes remaining , but not before Wimbledon had brought their day’s try tally to eight. Replacement Andy Reintgens got the first of them, finishing off a big drive from a 5m lineout, then classy breaks by Reville, then wing Sam Blade, ended with McSweeney crashing over for the last. Tabb converted both and eked out the time with a successful penalty conversion too.
This was a well-refereed, most enjoyable game to watch – especially for the Wimbledon supporters, who will be waiting with bated breath for the two all-important scores next week.