Rugby result: Wimbledon 10 v Tunbridge Wells 5
London & SE Premier League, 15 December
It says a lot for this Wimbledon team that with almost no possession throughout the second half – most of which was played deep in their own 22 – their resolute defence kept out a fired-up Tunbridge Wells to hold on to their slender half time lead and claim their 11th win of the season. It means they go into the mid-season break three points clear at the top of the table.
Ten minutes into the game the Wimbledon pack drove a Wells’ scrum backwards towards its own goal line, scrum half Aaron Booth darted round the blind side and two quick passes led to wing Phil Chesters scoring in the corner. With their pack in charge and Rob Louw and Kane Alboni cleaning up at the lineout it looked as though a big win could be on the cards. But from the re-start they looked half asleep and several phases on Wells fashioned an overlap for their wing to dive over for a try and level the score.
For the next 20 minutes Wimbledon looked the more likely to score again but by trying to play an expansive game in the cold, wet and windy conditions they kept Wells in the game – and poor line speed allowed the opposition to launch a number of good attacks. At last though, nearing half time, one of many fine forward drives ended over Wells’ line and hooker Bradley Ugodulunwa grounded the ball. And that was the end of the scoring.
The second 40 minutes was a dour battle, with Wells playing the conditions far better then Wimbledon and piling on endless pressure through their pack. That Wimbledon hung on to win was due to brilliant defence by the forwards round the fringes and, on the rare occasions the ball went wide, the backs stopped that direction of attack too. For the second week running, the final whistle was a huge relief to to the team and their hardy (or, in those conditions, possibly foolhardy) supporters.
The league takes a three week break now and Wimbledon’s next game is away to Bedford Athletic on January 5.
December 18, 2018