Wimbledon 33 v Staines 13
London League 1 South
Match report for December 7
Wimbledon's third consecutive victory – a 33-13 home win over Staines – took them to sixth place in the London League 1 South. But the late withdrawal of three forwards clearly unsettled the team and they allowed a niggley Staines side to stay in contention until the final fifteen minutes.
Starting with two hookers in the front row Dons’ pack struggled and conceded an early pushover try to give the visitors a 5-3 lead after Dons' Neil Hallett had converted a penalty soon after kick-off.
But the introduction of James Gillespie at tighthead gave them parity in the scrum and Hallett soon regained the lead for Wimbledon with a second penalty, then a third after twenty five minutes. But their general play was scrappy – as was the whole game – and Stained took advantage to create a good try for their left wing Maddox and take a just-about-deserved one point lead at half time.
Dons picked themselves up a bit in the second half, and another Hallett penalty soon put them two points ahead again. Moments later quick ball from a ruck and a strong run from flanker Steve May led to Hallett carving through for a nice try which he duly converted.
Some good pick and drive play, spearheaded by Stewart, Reynolds, Doubleday and Gillespie put Wimbledon firmly in the driving seat, but then they lost prop Pete Wallace to a punch by a Staines forward and his replacement Bruce Skyolde immediately after with a shoulder injury. The resulting uncontested scrums left Dons with just 14 men on the field.
A Staines penalty with fifteen minutes remaining reduced Wimbhledon’s lead to a worryingly slim 19-13 lead and the game only looked secure after debutant Emmet Naughton had finished off a rare flowing backs move to score in the corner.
Hallett's long range conversion put the game beyond Staines and just before full time May rubbed salt in the wound with a strong charge from a ruck 10m out and a try under the posts. Hallett’s conversion brought his personal tally to 23 points and his team’s to 33.
Next week Wimbledon face a far stiffer task when they travel to second-placed Chichester.
December 9, 2013