Wimbledon Demonstrate Strength in Depth with Convincing Win

Rugby result: Wimbledon 38 – 15 Brighton

Hooper runs in from 30 metres to score under the posts. Picture: Wimbledon RFC

Wimbledon took the field against Brighton without a good number of their regular first-teamers, but they continued their winning ways regardless, clearly demonstrating their strength in depth this season. Once again they opened the scoring within minutes of the kick-off after a break by no.10 Henry Peuble resulted in a Wimbledon penalty which, true to form, they kicked for touch rather than goal and drove over from the lineout, prop Nathaniel Opedo touching down. Fullback Freddie Hooper unaccountably missed the simplest of conversions.

Brighton then spent ten minutes in Dons’ half but were unable to break the defence, centres Joe Brosch and Alex Pickersgill in particular tackling anything that moved, as they and all their team-mates did throughout the game. Hooper then made amends for his early miss with a long, searching penalty kick to the corner for a 5m lineout and the forwards did the rest, this time lock Ted Bunn claiming the score.

With flanker Joey Goldsmith making a fine job of throwing-in, the lifters doing just as well for the jumpers and the pack clearly having the edge in the set scrum, it was only a matter of time before they scored try number three, Hooper taking a perfectly timed pass from Pickersgill and galloping 30m to the try line. His conversion took the score to 19-0 which, despite several near misses, remained the score at half time.

The second half opened like the first with Wimbledon mounting waves of attacks, but this time getting turned over by the Brighton back row. The visitor’s possession however lasted only seconds when Dons’ wing Ollie Kitto grabbed a clever interception and trotted over for the bonus point try. Ten minutes later Brighton launched their best attack so far, well finished with a try out wide by their speedy wing Maltby.

Wimbledon came straight back from the re-start with a great run by wing Archie Brosch and two phases later Peuble was able to dive through a gap to score try number five, Hooper’s conversion extending the lead to 31-5. Pickersgill got the sixth ten minutes later after a Joe Brosch break and Hooper’s excellent touchline conversion finished Dons’ scoring for the day. But they then lost their shape a little and Brighton took full advantage with a spirited late rally. First they took a leaf out of Wimbledon’s book and drove over from a 5m lineout. Then their no.10 broke through the middle, spread the ball wide and wingman Maltby ran in his second try and his team’s third.

There was never any doubt though which of the two was the better side, as evidenced by the 38-15 score line. Next week Wimbledon travel to old rivals Sutton & Epsom in search of a similar result. Or even better.

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November 1, 2021