Wimbledon 46 v Charlton Park 12
London League 1 South
Match report for January 3
This was a great start to the new year for Wimbledon. It was not just the result that impressed but the manner in which they achieved this convincing 46-12 victory over Charlton Park, a victory that keeps Dons 4 points clear at the top of the league. It was a 15 man display of running rugby in wet drizzly conditions more conducive to a forward slog (which would have suited the opposition far better).
Despite having the bulk of possession, all Dons had to show after 30 minutes against a combative Park side were 2 Neil Hallett penalties, but inevitably their superior pick-and-drive game, excellent handling and aggressive rush defence got the scoreboard moving: a well-earned penalty on the 22 yielded a try by the pack, touched down by the non-stop Steve May. Then, in the final move of the half, prop James Gillespie picked a great line to run on to a lovely pop-pass from scrum half Charlie Morgan to barge over for a try.
20-0 down at the re-start, Park started strongly but a turnover in Dons’ 22 was taken on by prop Pete Wallace, who delivered a perfect pass to wing Josh Charles who rounded 3 defenders to add another 5 points.
10 minutes into the half Park produced their best passage of play to create a well-worked pushover try. But Dons hit straight back when no.8 Gary Crowe took another lovely pass from Morgan to crash over. Hallett’s fine conversion from the touchline took the score to 32-5.
With hooker Dave Roberts unerringly finding his jumper Campell Tait, Dons revelled in their lineout possession and kept pressing Park, and a cheeky chip ahead by Bryan Croke on halfway which he chased to the tryline summed up Dons’ superiority. Hallett’s conversion made it 39-5.
Park still wouldn’t lie down and hit back with a penalty try from a powerful rolling maul, but the Wimbledon wing, Rhys Morgtan, now moved to scrum half, wanted the last word and ran in a lovely solo try from 35m and Hallett, unsurprisingly, added the final touch.
Next week Wimbledon are away to Guildford in what is beginning to look like the league title decider.