Dons Avenge Only Defeat and Win Surrey Cup to End 'Best Ever' Season

Regional 1 South Central - Wimbledon 26 - 24 Camberley

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

March 13, 2023

With Wimbledon having secured the league title last week the sizeable crowd of spectators expected this match against Camberley to be little more than an opportunity for Dons to avenge their one defeat of the season, only to learn that the match been declared by the RFU to be the Surrey Cup Final, this despite neither team having competed in any preliminary round. A mystery to everyone – but it certainly added extra bite to the game; with the two best defences in the league, tries were hard to come by and the outcome was uncertain until the final whistle.

It didn’t look that way though when Wimbledon scored after a minute. Having won a lineout 15m out the pack drove hard for the line, then scrum half Rhys Morgan plucked the ball from his back row and darted round the blind side to score a nice try, well converted from near touch by stand-off Ed Morgan. Minutes later Camberley won a lineout on Dons’ 22 and after a series of drives getting nowhere they spun the ball wide and fullback Hardwicke sliced through to score. Had the stand-off Prescott not missed the easy conversion, the end result might have been different.

For the next 20 minutes both teams had their moments but neither could cross the other’s line until Dons’ Jack Cooke and his lifters won a 10m lineout and the pack drove over for hooker Jake Farnsworth to touch down, again well converted by Ed Morgan. Soon after, building on a strong run by centre Paul Hendry, in almost a repeat of his first try, Farnsworth got his second. Morgan’s conversion made it 19-5 at half time.

An unfortunate knock-on by Wimbledon from the 2nd half kick-off gave Camberley a scrum in Dons’ 22, then a penalty got them a 5m lineout and three phases later Camberley’s wing Owen was able to squeeze over for their second try, the conversion narrowing the gap to 19-12. It soon narrowed further to 19 – 17, when the visitor’s best backs’ move of the match put winger Lewanituva over in the corner. Dons’ backs and some charging runs by the forwards came close to breaking Camberley’s defence but in the end it was their set-piece that produced a try following a series of pick and drives that took play from half-way almost to the Camberley try line, where they won a scrum and three phases later Cooke was driven over by the pack. Morgan’s conversion extended Don’s lead to nine points with ten minutes remaining.

Camberley came straight back with series of attacks ultimately forcing a penalty 5m from Dons’ line. It was taken quickly, spread wide and Owen rounded the defence to score under the posts and Prescott’s easy conversion brought up the final scoreline of a very good, fiercely contested game of rugby.

Earlier in the day, Wimbledon’s 2nd XV, produced another excellent result, beating Camberley’ 2nd XV 57-3, to finish their season by emulating the 1st’s and winning their league too.

The cup and two league titles were no doubt celebrated long into the night by the players, Collin Osborne and his coaching team, team managers Bully and Marc Bertrand, the physios and first-aiders and all who helped to make this probably Wimbledon’s best ever season.

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