Fifty Minutes of Dominant Rugby on the South Coast from the Dons

Rugby Result: Region 1 South Central - Brighton 10 – 36 Wimbledon

Rugby Result: Region 1 South Central - Wimbledon 41-10 Sutton & Epsom
Picture: Wimbledon RFC/Facebook

December 5, 2022

On a very gloomy afternoon at Brighton a Wimbledon team much-changed from last week’s record-breaking squad again played attractive, winning rugby, this week against rather stronger opposition. Indeed, all credit to Brighton – 36-10 down ten minutes into the second half – for preventing Dons from adding to their five tries during the last thirty minutes of the match.

Right from the kick-off Wimbledon showed the sizeable crowd their now familiar style of rugby by running the ball from their own 22 deep into Brighton’s and pressuring the home team into conceding a penalty, easily converted by Dons’ no.10 Ed Morgan. Brighton came straight back and applied several minutes of their own pressure until a neat turnover by centre Henry Peuble put Dons on the attack again. Play then ebbed and flowed for ten minutes or so before Peuble linked with wing Brad Pinkham who in turn put fellow wing Tom Bracegirdle away down the touchline to score in the corner. Soon after, the ever-present lock Jake Cleet got over-eager at a ruck, giving Brighton a simple three points.

Despite their lineout not working with its usual effectiveness Dons stayed in Brighton’s half and from a scrum 7m out Cleet more than made amends by forcing his way over for his team’s second try, converted by Morgan… was the next, started and finished by flanker Max Freeman from a short lineout. On breaking from the lineout he had quickly passed to the spitting image of lock Jack Cooke (who turned out to be the actual Jack Cooke minus hair).Cooke made good ground and slipped the ball to hooker Bradley Ugodulunwa who made further ground before setting up a ruck from which Freeman powered over – and the half time score was 3-22.

Brighton started the second half well, but Dons’ defence repelled each attack and soon forced a penalty, quickly taken by scrum-half Alex Kerr and taking play well into Brighton territory. Several phases later, from the base of a good set scrum no.8 Mark Scott did his usual thing and touched down for the bonus point try, again converted by the consistent Morgan.

Three minutes later a lovely line break by fullback Rhys Morgan from his own 10m line took him 40m upfield where he gave the ball to Pinkham who sprinted the final 20m to score and Morgan put over his fourth conversion to add to his earlier penalty.

Entering the final quarter Brighton opted for a 5m lineout from a penalty and after two phases their flanker broke from a driving maul to go over for a deserved consolation try. Both sides had further scoring opportunities before the whistle but both defences held firm.

Next week Wimbledon are at home to Bournemouth, whose confidence will no doubt haven boosted by a good victory over Oxford Harlequins.

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