Late Changes and Poor Conditions Cause Dons to Toil

Rugby Result: Region 1 South Central -Wimbledon 27 – 19 Royal Wootton Bassett

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

January 9, 2023

Sadly, this was not quite the exhibition of scrum and lineout superiority and open running rugby that the sizeable number of spectators have come to expect of this Wimbledon squad. In fairness three very late changes to the selected team and early injuries to centre Henry Peuble and wing Tom Bracegirdle really didn’t help, nor did the poor attendances at recent training sessions due to rail strikes and illness. The miserable conditions didn’t suit Dons’ style of play either, although the Royal Wootton Bassett team seemed to cope with them pretty well and they gave a competitive performance that belied their lowly league position. Although dominating territory poor passing and handling by Wimbledon meant that bit was 25 minutes for the league leaders to string together a good attacking move and produce a try for fullback Rhys Morgan.

Following a questionable yellow card for prop Sam Gratton, stand-off Ed Morgan converted a penalty to increase the lead to 8-0 and minutes later a lovely run by wing Brad Pinkham ended with a second try for his fullback, very well converted by the other Morgan in a tricky wind.

Just before half time the Dons’ forwards piled sustained pressure on the visitor’s goal line for the first time, the ball was quickly spread wide and Pinkham rounded off probably the best move of the game by scoring in the corner.

Having looked as though they were getting into their stride Wimbledon opened the second half by spilling ball after ball and losing possession, allowing Wootton to launch their first proper attack of the game. Fortunately, Don’s defence held and after twenty minutes a good lineout followed by a typical drive produced the all-important fourth try, touched down by Gratton and again well converted by Morgan.

The last 15 minutes though belonged to Wootton Bassett, first scoring a well-made try after a blindside break from a scrum on half way, converted nicely by their no.10. He also converted their next try after Wimbledon had presented them with the ball 15m out from their own goal line – and suddenly it was 27-14. Then on 79 minutes, following Gratton’s second yellow and his dismissal from the pitch, poor handling again resulted in turnover ball and the score moved to a worrying 27-19, only for the wind to deny the conversion and what would have been a deserved losing bonus point for the visitors.

Still, a try-bonus win is a try-bonus win and Wimbledon will look to revert to their normal form and continue their winning run away next week to Oxford Harlequins,


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