Redingensians 24 v Wimbledon 15
Wimbledon opened the scoring in their away match against 3rd placed Redingensians, no.10 James Doe capitalising on Dons’ dominance of the first ten minutes with a successful penalty kick from 25m.
Wimbledon closed the scoring too, with two good tries and a conversion in the final seven minutes, demonstrating how different the result might have been if they’d only been able to win some ball.
But the intervening 60 odd minutes belonged to the home team (although “home” was on neighbour Maidenhead’s all-weather pitch). While the set scrums were pretty even until half time, as were the lineouts, where lock it and denying Wimbledon all but scraps of possession. Only first-class aggressive defence, especially from the back row of Chris York, Dan Laventure and Dom Rice, prevented two or three tries.
As it was Redingensians scored just one, on the half hour, when their full back McCrory and wing Reynolds broke tackles to give no.8 Stapely a clear run in to the corner and make it 5-3 at half time.
In the second half Redingensians started to boss the scrums and Wimbledon possession all but dried up - and when they did get the ball they were rarely able to cross the gain line. Soon, further Redingensians tries looked inevitable, especially as Dons began to give away crucial penalties. Even then though, Dons’ defence limited the home team to three tries, all from short distance, the first a pushover from a maul following a 5m scrum and one each for scrum-half Cook and flanker Drew, two of them converted.
It was credit to Wimbledon’s resolve, fitness and no little talent that they were able to come back strongly in the dying moments. Forcing their way into the opposition 22 at last, a series of drives near the line looked about to yield a try only for the ball to be knocked on. But a poor exit kick kept Dons in range on the 22. They won the lineout, moved the ball quickly to the opposite wing and replacement Jack Flanagan was bundled over by his pack. From the re-start fullback Matt Gilbert made a lovely run down the left wing and centre Alfie Dudman-Jones – who had a strong all-round game – was on hand to complete Dons’ best move of the match with a try. Harry Tabb, who’d taken over kicking duties, slotted the conversion, and it was game over.
A disappointing result after recent weeks, but Dons could have no complaints about the scoreline. There’s another tough one next week when second-placed Chinnor visit SW19 for the first time.