Dons Return To Form with a Huge Win

Rugby Result: Wimbledon 87-3 Tunbridge Wells

Picture: Wimbledon RFC

The scoreline is a fair reflection of the game, Tunbridge Wells being outplayed on every front, and not allowed a look-in. In their defence Wimbledon did produce their best performance for some time.

The visitors did manage to win most of their own scrums and lineouts but Wimbledon’s line speed and aggressive tackling normally won back possession within a phase or two. That is when Tunbridge Wells’ defence – or lack of – was brutally exposed by Don’s free-running backs. That said, their mobile forwards frequently joined in the fun, often supporting and handling as well as their backs.

It took just a minute for centre Henry Peuble to cut through Tunbrdge Wells’ defence and pass to no.10 Jake Noble running a great line to score beneath the posts. His own conversion was the first of his eight during the game.

After ten minutes or so Tunbridge Wells made their first excursion into Don’s half, where they won a penalty converted by fly-half Finn White for what was to be their only score of the day. Five minutes later fullback Ollie Kitto produced one of his lovely jinking runs, the ball then taken on by centre Paul Hendry who shot through a tiny gap to score. The first of only two missed conversions all afternoon left the score at 12-3. Fifteen minutes on wing Finn Taylor rounded off an excellent move involving most of the back line to score Wimbledon’s third try.

The fourth came after their first scrum 5m out from which they drove over for no.8 Jake Rigby to score. Hendry soon added the fifth, after a classy run from his own 22, so classy he didn’t need the totally unmarked James Millais outside him. But the wing quickly overcame his disappointment by touching down after another bout of superb interplay by half a dozen players. Almost immediately, after a strong run by flanker (normally hooker) Tyler Reichardt, Millais got another, the conversion taking it to 47-3.

Excellent support by Noble then brought his second try following a nice break by Taylor, before Alex Kerr – on the field as replacement scrum half for just 20 seconds – took a peach of a pass from skipper Josh Bayford to round off the first half try-fest at 61-3.
The second half was more of the same as a tiring but still spirited Tunbridge Wells had to watch Don’s flowing rugby produce tries for Millais again, following a quick turnover by Rigby, Taylor from another turnover, Reichardt, finishing off a powerful drive, this time converted from out wide by Peuble, and finally Hendry, having outpaced half the field, with Peuble adding his second conversion.

If Wimbledon produce rugby like this away next week to second-placed Dorking, they might just avenge their one point defeat by them earlier this season.

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April 5, 2022