Rugby result: Papa John's Community Cup - Bridgnorth 21 - Wimbledon 28
Picture: Wimbledon RFC/Facebook
April 5, 2023
Wimbledon travelled on their longest away fixture for several years to Bridgnorth in Shropshire on the banks of the River Severn, a ground that has been flooded twice this season but nevertheless was in perfect condition even following recent weather.
They knew that this would be a very tough fixture given that the home team had finished second in the Midlands League in the regular season. The match was played in the new Papa John’s Community Cup, they found a side with a strong pack who had spells of domination during the match but also like the visitors made handling errors at crucial times with a slippery ball. The result of this was a larger than usual number of scrums where the home team enjoyed some supremacy. But at the same time Wimbledon’s taller pack enjoyed supremacy in the line-outs and the expert kicking of Wimbledon’s outside half Ed Morgan was able to keep Bridgnorth pinned in their own half for long periods at the expense of yielding the throw-in.
The first score of the match came after six minutes when right wing Ollie Kitto added to his season’s tally of tries following Wimbledon pressure, the ball was moved across the pitch for Kitto to outflank the defence and give Morgan a tricky conversion to attempt, he made no mistake with his first of four conversions, at the other end Bridgnorth’s fullback Will Beddell was also on target with his three conversions.
Wimbledon lost prop Bradley Ogodunuluwa and replacement Abu Abdul joined the match, after 18 minutes a Bridgnorth penalty was kicked to the corner and flanker Calum Bradbury was able to force his way over from the lineout for the first try and Beddell’s conversion. Both sides had attempts at tries held-up over the line and also a yellow card being awarded to Wimbledon scrum half Alex Kerr, despite this Bridgnorth were unable to benefit and the halftime score of 7 – 7 was a fair reflection on a hard fought match.
Within a minute of kick-off for the second half Kerr burst through a gap from a lineout and scored, this time under the posts, Morgan converted and Wimbledon took the lead, but immediately from the restart Bridgnorth forced a scrum in the Wimbledon 22 and later another at 5m, and from the resulting drive the powerful Bridgnorth loosehead and captain Jonah Boyce forced his way over and Beddell converted. At no time could either side gain dominance for more than a few minutes, the Bridgnorth forwards again attempted to pick-and-go near the line but were held-up with dogged defence.
At the other end of the pitch after 73 minutes a big scrum from Wimbledon on the home team’s 22 forced a penalty and the kick to the corner, after the lineout and maul, from a pile of bodies flanker Will Trimmer emerged with the ball and sustained a head knock in the process, Morgan’s conversion regained the lead but the home team were still competing hard and their replacement forward Russ Gauden, forced his way over and the conversion tied the scores, 21 – 21.
The final score sealed a victory, not for the first time flanker Max Freeman charged down a clearance kick and the deflection crossed the goal line, a very alert centre Jack Reville pounced on it and with the conversion from Morgan it sealed the victory 28 – 21. There was no time for Bridgnorth to attack and the final whistle went.
Next Saturday Wimbledon will be at home in the same competition to Syston, again from Midlands Regional League, kick off at 3.00pm.
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