Gravesend 5 v Wimbledon 32
National League 3 London & South East
Gravesend are a better side than their lowly league position suggests and for the first 30 minutes the majority of the game was played in Wimbledon’s half. But not only did Dons’ defence look impregnable, but bit by bit they forced Gravesend into making more and more errors.
Early on fullback Tommy Moore sliced through a gap in G’s backline and his pass to Kieran Morris would have put the wing clear had it not been adjudged forward. But a Wimbledon-enforced penalty soon allowed captain Neil Hallett to open the scoring. Then a minute later prop Josh Bayford broke clear, Hallett chipped ahead, Morris gathered cleanly to touch down near the corner, and Hallett’s conversion made the score 10-0.
Approaching half time Gravesend pounced on a rare Wimbledon error and mounted a strong attack through a series of driving mauls, but despite the loss of back-rowers James Hunt and Steve May to yellow cards, Dons’ defence held.
The third of the back row trio, Gary Crowe, scored the first of Wimbledon’s three second half tries through an interception on his 10m line, which gave him a clear run in. Hallett’s conversion stretched the lead to 17-0 and Dons looked in full control, especially with the pack’s set scrum looking stronger than it has for some time, and bossing their opposition. Some excellent play from Dons’ backs almost brought a try for replacement Lloyd Davies, but he was brought down short of the line and Wimbledon had to settle for Hallett’s second penalty conversion, this time while two of the home team were watching from the naughty step.
The pack got the next try, when lock Dylan Flashman marked his return from injury by rounding off a fine drive from a 5m lineout. Hallett neatly slotted the conversion. Moments later a lovely run by centre Noah Jarvis was continued by co-centre Aaron Lowe, the latter touching down for the try of the match and Dons’ bonus point.
Now at 32-0 up with ten minutes remaining Dons got a bit complacent and some overly adventurous play in their 22 gave possession to Gravesend and their pack rumbled over for a consolation try.
This was a good performance from Wimbledon who will want to continue their return to form when they visit Bracknell for the next league fixture in two weeks time.