Chichester 15 v Wimbledon 8
National League 3 London & South East
It was a credit to both teams that on Chichester’s mudpatch they were able to play any decent rugby at all. It was just a pity for Wimbledon that the home team played a bit more of it than they did. And credit must also go to Wimbledon’s defence; given that Chichester had probably 70% possession and territory, it was monumental effort to concede just one try in the first half and a second only in the dying moments of the game.
It started well for Wimbledon, with skipper Hallett capitalising on early pressure to give them a three point lead after just three minutes. Ten minutes later no.10 Bryan Croke touched down his own neat chip through the defence after charging runs from props James Gillespie and Josh Bayford set up by quick ball from a ruck by Rhys Morgan. Hallett’s conversion attempt went wide of the upright.
Thereafter Chichester dominated possession, mainly through a series of driving mauls – especially following lineouts, from one of which, ten minutes from half time, came a pushover try. Then yellow cards for Morgan and his opposite number gave Chichester a penalty which fullback Adams converted to level the score at 8-8. Croke so nearly added a second try for Dons with a lovely break just before the whistle, but slipped in the mud as he side-stepped the remaining defender and the chance was lost.
In the second half Dons managed to contain Chichester’s drives and scrimmaged much better than they have in recent weeks. But the home team still won most the ball; from the re-start it was 15 minutes before Dons got hold of it! And when they did they made more handling errors than in the whole of any two other matches this season. Somehow though, with minutes remaining it looked as though Wimbledon would walk away with a draw and two points, but the defence eventually cracked and Chichester’s scrum half Seaman wriggled through from a ruck to score almost under the posts. The final whistle sounded after Adam’s conversion and Wimbledon had to settle for a single losing bonus point.
They hope to end their losing run at home next week to bottom-of-the-table Eton Manor, but they’ll take nothing for granted.