Bracknell 19 v Wimbledon 38
National League 3 London & South East
Wimbledon notched up their third consecutive win on March 12 against a fiercely competitive Bracknell, who breached their visitors’ unusually porous defence three times in the first half, creating good tries for backs Birch, Higgins and Mercer, two converted by no.8 Valentine.
But despite Bracknell’s 19 points and their wealth of possession – courtesy of endless penalties against Wimbledon, good control at the breakdown and a highly effective lineout – Wimbledon still led by two points at the interval, adding a further 19 unanswered points in the second half to win convincingly by 38 to 19.
It was a full ten minutes after kick-off before Wimbledon got possession of the ball, by which time they were 7-0 down. Then a great drive by the pack, quick ball by scrum half Rhys Morgan and centre Aaron Lowe burst through to score under the posts; Neil Hallett’s conversion was a formality. On the half hour, having conceded another converted try, fly-half Bryan Croke celebrated his return from injury by scoring Dons’ second try in a move involving wing Alex Cane and flanker Gary Crowe, who had an excellent all-round game.
Hallett’s conversion levelled the scores, before he himself scored Dons’ third, finishing a lovely move started by a typical Croke chip over the defence and going quickly through the hands of Crowe, Kane, Lowe, Noah Jarvis, and Croke again. Hallett converted with a fine kick from the touchline. A couple of missed tackles disappointingly let Bracknell back in with their third try just before half time.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Wimbledon continued to upset the referee regularly, giving hard-won ball back to Bracknell. Fortunately though, their defence reverted to its normal watertight self. But limited possession didn’t stop wing Tommy Moore from scoring Dons’ fourth try 15 minutes in, after some fine pick and drive work by the forwards.
Moore was over again five minutes later, intercepting and sprinting in from half way, and Hallett’s conversion stretched the lead to 19-33. Just before the final whistle and after a prolonged Bracknell attack, Moore intercepted again, this time in his 22, and so nearly got his hat-trick, but was hauled down a yard short. Good support though won quick ruck ball which was shipped acrossfield and Kane dived in for Dons’ sixth try.
Not a vintage Wimbledon performance, but convincing enough in the end. Next they will aim to make it four wins on the trot when they play at home against Westcliff. A repeat of the 50-pointer at Westcliff’s ground would suffice.