Wimbledon 33 v Redruth 28
Wimbledon welcomed the new year in some style, recording their second five point win of the season, this time against Redruth, one of the better teams in the league. Overall there was little to choose between the sides with just one (Redruth) lineout lost all game and the packs pretty well on a par.
The difference was the third quarter of the match during which Wimbledon played probably their best rugby so far, with excellent interplay between backs and forwards. Already 21-14 up at the break, lock Alex Campbell broke clear from the re-start and the ball passed though many hands to scrum half Rhys Morgan who sidestepped the defence (not for the only time in the game) and scored beneath the posts. Fly half James Doe added the two points, as he had with his three long range first half conversions. Five minutes later, after Dons’ pack had driven deep into Redruth’s half, centre Charlie Esam finished off another free-flowing move to score try number five. Only sterling Redruth defence prevented further Wimbledon scores.
The first half had started very well for Dons too; after only two minutes hooker Bradley Ugodulunwa had gathered a charged-down Redruth clearance kick, bulldozed to within a metre of their goal line and two phases later flanker Niall MacSweeney dived over to score in the corner. Keeping possession for the next five minutes Redruth then came back with a try of their own when the pack drove over for prop Loma Kivalu to touch down. No.10 Richie Kevern put over the first of his four conversions.
For the next 20 minutes Redruth had the better of possession but Wimbledon’s defence was rock solid. Then, from a lineout on the visitor’s 22, Dons’ pack got a huge drive on and from the ensuing ruck quick ball went wide to fullback Matt Gilbert who sped in for try number two. A minute later replacement hooker Ben Brooks added a third from a ruck created from a 5m lineout after Doe’s excellent penalty kick had found its mark. But Redruth weren’t about to roll over and shortly before half time their pack powered over for their second, scored by skipper Richard Brown.
After their sparkling third quarter had put Dons in the driving seat at 33-14, they seemed to lose shape and their for once disorganised defence let Redruth centre Pale Nonu barge over under the posts. Then, with minutes remaining, Dons mistakenly tried to run the ball out of their 22, lost it and Kivalu went over for his second try. Kevern’s conversion took his side to within five points of their hosts’ total. With their tails up Redruth threw everything at Wimbledon, but Dons held on until the final whistle earned them a big cheer from the touchline (part-relief, part-delight) and a well-deserved five point victory.
Next Saturday Wimbledon travel away to high-flying Taunton, looking for a third win.