Sloppy Dons Handling Limits Scale of Winning Margin

Rugby Result: Region 1 South Central - Sutton & Epsom 5 – 42 Wimbledon

Picture: Wimbledon RFC/Facebook

February 13, 2023

With Wimbledon sitting clear at the top of the league and Sutton & Epsom languishing at the bottom the result of the match between them looked a foregone conclusion. And so it proved, Wimbledon running in six tries – all well converted by stand-off Ed Morgan – against the home team’s one. In fact many thought that Dons could/should have scored four or five more than just the six; uncharacteristically Wimbledon’s handling let them down on several occasions and for reasons unknown they frequently kicked away possession rather than sticking to their successful strategy of running everything. In mitigation, for periods in the second and third quarters of the match S & E looked anything but a side facing relegation and except for their visitor’s excellent 15 man defence could have crossed Dons’ line more than once.

It took just two minutes for Wimbledon to open the scoring; starting from half way the ball passed through seven or eight pairs of hands before reaching centre Paul Hendry who, having looped round behind his back line to the wing, was clear to run in unopposed. He scored again just moments later after the forwards turned over S & E inside their 22 shipped it out to Hendry who neatly sidestepped the fullback to score beneath the posts.

Despite the game being played almost entirely in S & E’s half and Wimbledon’s pack dominating their opposition, it was a further 15 minutes before try no.3. Captain Jack Cooke pulled off a great turnover, the ball went quickly to wing Ollie Kitto in midfield and he simply jinked his way through half the home team to score in typical style. From the re-start S & E got deep into Dons’ half for the first time, won their lineout and bundled over for their try. Wimbledon came very close to scoring a couple more but each time the last pass went astray.

There was more of the same for the first 25 minutes of the second half, when at last Hendry raced in for his third try. That seemed to spur Dons on again and with some lovely bulldozing runs by various of the forwards – Mark Scott and Bradley Ugodulunwa in particular – the pressure was all on S & E for the remainder of the game and produced two more lovely tries. Quick ruck ball by scrum half Rhys Morgan (no relation to the goalkicker) went to Hendry who broke through a gap and passed to the supporting replacement wing Tim Ridler who scored under the posts. Finally fullback Ally Duddell sprinted in to score after nice interplay between forwards and backs.

Next week Wimbledon are at home to Bracknell, after which just two games of the season remain for them to secure their deserved promotion


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