Regional 1 South Central - Banbury 7 - 50 Wimbledon
Picture: Wimbledon RFC/Facebook
March 7, 2023
This latest try-bonus win guarantees Wimbledon promotion at the end of this season to National 2 South East.
It took just three minutes for them to open the scoring; three phases on from a penalty in Banbury’s 22, fullback Ally Duddell powered over in the corner and stand-off Ed Morgan converted from the touchline. Six minutes later hooker Jake Farnworth beat the opposition to a loose ball and shipped it out to the prowling flanker Connor Pearce who was straight in for try number two.
Soon after, Banbury’s first venture into Dons’ half produced a penalty try for them and a yellow for Wimbledon flyer Ollie Kitto for a high tackle, and the score was 7-12. From the re-start Farnworth won the ball then gathered his own chip through the defence and touched down for try number three.
25 minutes in a lovely break by Ed Morgan led to centre Paul Hendry rounding Banbury’s last defender to score beneath the posts and Morgan’s conversion took the score to 7-24. Five minutes later Pearce sent Banbury’s fullback the wrong way to run in his second try after some very neat passing by Duddell and Hendry. Morgan’s extra two points brought up the 7-31 half time score. The superiority of Dons’ forwards in the set scrum, lineout, and all-round loose play suggested the final scoreline would be a bit more one-sided.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was the home team’s best period of the game with 90% possession, but they were kept try-less by Wimbledon’s watertight defence, the blue scrum caps of Pearce and lock Jake Cleet being particularly evident.
Normal service was then resumed when a 50m Kitto sprint left the Banbury defence for dead. His try and Morgan’s conversion extended Don’ lead to 7-38. Moments later Kitto’s second of the day (his 20th of the season) stemmed from a move started by a bulldozing run from flanker Mark Scott – replacing the outstanding Max Freeman – and finished by the winger racing onto a clever nudge through by Morgan, and it was 7-43.
With five minutes remaining scrum half Rhys Morgan made a jinking run from his own 22 before passing to his namesake and fellow half-back who shrugged off three tackles to dot down by the posts and then add the extras, rounding off another really watchable game of rugby, in which every member of the squad deserved at least one mention. Unfortunately, that would result in the match report extending to several pages too long!
Next week’s final match of the season at home to Camberley is now meaningless in terms of the battle for promotion, but Wimbledon will most certainly want to avenge their one defeat of the season so it should be very well worth watching.
Sad Addendum - Despite the passing of his mother just four days earlier, the captain Jack Cooke took the field against Banbury and more than played his part in this impressive win. Jack has the sympathy of all the players in the squad and every member of the Club.
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