Wimbledon RFC 1XV 34 v London Cornish 5
Despite the absence of several regular forwards the Wimbledon pack once again more than held its own in the set-piece and looked sharper around the field than in recent weeks.
But what really set the two teams apart was Wimbledon's excellent defence; the Lewis brothers at 6 and 7, with no.8 Karl Roche and scrum half Charlie Morgan ensured the fringes were watertight and the whole back line were impenetrable throughout.
The only lapse came when a sequence of penalties (again) took London Cornish to Dons' 5m line from where their pack rumbled over for a consolation try five minutes from time.
Wimbledon almost scored two minutes after kick-off through a typical break through the Cornish defence by Chris Lewis – and they made sure of points five minutes later when Roche finished a good passing movement with a touchdown in the corner. Leon Driscolls conversion attempt was just inches wide.
They could have gone 9-5 down if the Cornish kicker had been able to capitalise on Wimbledon's now familiar habit of giving away soft penalties. As it was they made it 15-0 by half time courtesy of a fine try from centre Dave Rees after the pack had won turnover ball, then an equally good one from Driscoll following a long miss-pass by Rees.
An inch-perfect kick-off by Driscoll at the re-start was taken upfield by hooker Eoin Mullen, lock Brett Box and Lewis again, and touched down by prop Joey Nanai. With the wind now less of a problem Driscoll put over a good conversion.
Mullen scored the next Dons try after slick inter-passing during a 60m sprint down the touchline, then Box showed great pace in following up a chip by no.10 Dan Brown and pouncing on the ball spilled by the Cornish fullback. A second successful conversion by Driscoll brought up Wimbledon's final score. As they visibly relaxed during the final few minutes Cornish took advantage and crossed for their solitary score.
Wimbledon go into the Christmas break in good heart after this much improved performance, although a little worried that for the second week in succession the referee had occasion to sin-bin no fewer than three of their players.
Wimbledon’s league campaign resumes on January 7 with a trip to Teddington Antlers.
December 30, 2011