Wimbledon Beat Old Rivals Sutton & Epsom

Wimbledon 22 v Sutton & Epsom 10

London League 1 South

Match report for January 18

Wimbledon completed a league win double over old rivals Sutton & Epsom, despite having to forego the home draw because of their waterlogged pitch.

But it was hard work for them in the first half; playing up Sutton’s slope into a stiff breeze it was exactly 22 minutes before a fired-up “away team” lost possession and Dons crossed in to their 22 for the first time. They might have done it earlier had not the referee’s liberal use of the yellow card reduced them to 14 men for twenty minutes and 13 for a further five. (Sutton had one yellow as well).

The penalty at the first yellow gave Sutton a 5m lineout from which prop Caldy piled over for a try. Twenty minutes, half a dozen penalties and two yellows later, Sutton centre Renwick rounded off a good move with a try in the corner, although it looked to many as though Dons’ Jonny Rawlinson had tackled him into touch. 

Then an inspired final few minutes of the half brought 13-strong Wimbledon right back in to the game. Some powerful pick and drives by Rich Stewart, Joey Nanai and Jack Fishwick among others, ended with a searing run from wing Pete Scott giving Rawlinson the space to score a fine team try in the corner. 

The second half belonged to Wimbledon, as their pack took charge of the set piece and the backs relished the new-found possession. Centre Neil Hallett slotted three points after five minutes of forward pressure, followed moments later by the move of the match; good lineout ball from Rob Tait, spread wide by scrum half Max Adkins – who had an excellent 1st XV debut –and no.10 Bryan Croke, quickly reached Scott on the wing. He outpaced two men, chipped over a third and raced on to gather the ball and dive over in the corner. Hallet’s superb touchline conversion put Wimbledon 15-10 ahead. 

Despite creating, but then letting slip, several other scoring opportunities, Dons hadn’t quite finished, and with ten minutes remaining Hallett made a lovely break on half way, drew the defence and put the supporting Chris Lewis clear to sprint 30m and touch down under the posts. Hallett’s conversion was a formality. 

If Wimbledon can play with the same spirit and style next week, away at second-placed Gravesend, it should be quite some game.

January 19, 2014