Live Rugby a Treat for Tring But Not Result

Wimbledon 1st XV power to impressive eight try victory

The Wimbledon RFC squad
The Wimbledon RFC squad

It was a treat for the many spectators at Tring Rugby Club to be able to watch a live league match after such a long lay-off and the players clearly enjoyed it too. Especially those from Wimbledon for whom it proved to be an almost perfect start to their league season. They outplayed a highly competitive Tring team in almost every area apart from the set scrum, where the home side’s heavier pack caused Dons a few problems. They more than compensated though, with powerful mauls, strong defence around the fringes and quick ruck ball at the breakdown, helping scrum half Owen Davies to provide excellent service to his no.10, Steve Boatman, who in turn launched the impressive back line on to the attack time and again.

For most of the match it was one-way traffic as Wimbledon scored eight good tries, although there was a period in the second half when an intercept try by Tring’s wing Jake Olley, converted by Ben Hogan to add to his first half penalty goal, inspired his team to unsettle Dons who briefly went off the boil.

No.8 Mark Scott had opened Wimbledon’s scoring after just four minutes with a try (his first of three) in the corner after the backs had shown just what they are capable of. It took another 20 minutes for Dons to convert their wealth of possession and territory into points with Scott touching down after a fine drive by the pack from a well-earned 5m lineout. Boatman’s trusty boot secured the first of his five conversions and five minutes later a huge kick from him brought another 5m lineout, secured by lock Jack Cooke who rounded off another drive with try number three. The pack then produced a carbon copy of that try, this time touched down by hooker Dave Wayman to bring the half time score to 3-24.

Scott got his hat-trick in the first minute of the second half after pouncing on a loose ball and sprinting in from 50m. Then came the Tring intercept and the score moved to 10-31. An adventurous and clever run by Davies almost from his goal line, taken on by Cooke and fullback Freddie Hooper to the elusive speedster Ollie Kitto who went over for a try in the corner. Then more slick backs play left centre Paul Hendry with just a man to beat, which he did with ease and ran in under the posts. Boatman’s conversion made it 10-45.

Despite effective tackling by Dons’ defence Tring were able to manufacture a good try by Olley, well converted by Hogan. But Wimbledon were not quite finished; pressure on Tring’s defence yielded a 5m lineout and it was just a matter of who would touch down from the ensuing driving maul – and this time it was Wayman for his second.

In the dying seconds Tring had the last word, slightly against the run of play, with a successful driving maul of their own and Hogan’s conversion brought up the final score line.

The only downside of the afternoon was the injury to loosehead Elliot Horner and centre Joe Brosch, both hopefully short term.

Roll on next week’s home game against Maidenhead and more of the same from Wimbledon.

Martin Rogers

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September 7, 2021