Wimbledon Play Like Champions!

Wimbledon 54 v Sidcup 7

London League 1 South

Right from the kick-off Wimbledon played like league champions - and so they became 80 minutes later. It was champagne rugby throughout, with just one glitch after 30 minutes when a Sidcup breakout from their own half yielded a well-taken try for centre Jack Berry, converted by Jamie Cutler. But by then a rampant Wimbledon had already racked up no fewer than 30 points and the game was as good as over.

It took just seven minutes before Dons’ pressure on Sidcup produced the first try; a huge drive by the pack, quick ball through the backs and centre Ti Pairama-Lewington crashed over. Moments later that same pressure resulted in a penalty, easily converted by captain Neil Hallett.

With Wimbledon’s line speed wrecking what little ball Sidcup had, the game stayed in the visitor’s half and Hallett soon secured a second three pointer.

Despite Sidcup’s heavier pack putting pressure on Dons’ set scrum, the tight five did well to hold them and no.8 Gary Crowe did a great job helping scrum half Charlie Morgan to get the ball away unhindered.

On 20 minutes stand-off Bryan Croke charged down his opposite number, gathered the ball and outpaced Sidcup’s wing to score under the posts and Hallett’s conversion was a formality. Almost immediately Dons’ backs forced more Sidcup errors, stole the ball and shipped it out for Josh Charles to run a third try. Two minutes later a 70m run by his fellow winger Pete Scott set up a great position and three phases later P-Lewington barged over for the bonus point try. Hallett’s conversion brought up the 30 points.

Their confidence boosted by their late first half try Sidcup started the second with a good backs move, but once more Dons snuffed it out and Scott again only just failed to reach the try line. But with the Tait brothers securing every Wimbledon lineout (and every Sidcup re-start), and the pack driving their opposition off the ball in the loose, it was only a matter of time before try number five, this time by flanker Chris Lewis from the back of one such drive. Hallett again converted.

As P-Lewington looked to be heading for his third try he was caught 5m short, but his superb pass out of the tackle was taken by the ever-present Campbell Tait, who went over in the corner. Not content with 42-7, Dons struck again five minutes later through replacement fullback Ian Davey after a lovely flowing move by the backs.

Then Lewis handed-off three defenders to take play back into Sidcup’s half; a few phases later Croke produced one of his magical runs through the opposition to score try number 8 under the posts, and Hallett did the necessary. As the final whistle blew, the smiles on the faces of coaches Nick Easter and James Ogilvie-Bull said it all.

If Wimbledon can produce this sort of rugby next season, National League 3 need hold no worries for them.

Match report for April 18

April 30, 2015