Wimbledon avenged their earlier one-point defeat at Guildford with a vastly improved
performance delivering an emphatic 38-7 victory. As has become their habit recently
Wimbledon scored almost from the kick-off, with the forwards putting huge pressure
on Guildford’s line, numerous crash balls sucking in the visitor’s defence until quick
ball to the blind side by scrum half, Aaron Booth, reached centre Freddie Hooper who
drew his man and wing Matt Gilbert was clear to sprint in and touch down in the
corner. Hooper’s touchline conversion attempt narrowly missed.
The next five minutes established the pattern for much of the remainder of the half:
Guildford responded immediately with their own attack, using their superior pace out
wide to cause Dons problems, but their backline defence, ably supported by their
mobile pack, usually headed by the excellent Alex Campbell, was outstanding.
Despite being down to 14 men for the middle ten minutes when wing Campbell
Musson was yellow carded following his try-saving tackle, and the final ten minutes
after flanker Rich Ridley had proved his point to his opposite number, Wimbledon not
only withstood all that Guildford could throw at them but ended the half with a
second try; a flowing attack by the backs took the ball deep into Guildford’s 22, then
crash ball again, with every forward taking his turn, ultimately produced a penalty in
front of the posts. With Dons’ set piece superiority already established they opted for
a scrum and at the third attempt a powerful drive ended with no. 8 and captain, Chris
York, grounding the ball over the try line. Hooper’s conversion took the score at half
time to 12-0.
The tone for the second half was set at the first scrum which Dons won against the
head. Moments later Musson gathered a Guildford clearance kick near touch, headed
infield and began another backs move which ended with centre Toby White bursting
through to score under the sticks after a very nice run and inside pass from Gilbert.
Hooper again converted.
Guildford came back with a lovely try of their own: seeing there was no way through
Dons’ defence, no. 10 Jones put a perfectly judged kick into the arms of his unmarked
wing Jordan on the other side of the pitch, who had a simple run in to score, and Jones
converted. From then on though it was all Wimbledon. The pack won a penalty
through their scrummaging, plus the ensuing lineout from where they drove a full
20m before releasing the ball to fullback Ben Hough who cut through to score try
no.four. Hooper’s conversion made it 26-7.
Another fine drive from a lineout set in motion another attack from which
replacement flanker Bertie Haskins bulldozed over for number five, soon after
touching down for his second from another superb driving maul. Hooper;s conversion
rounded off a very good day at the office and a fine way to celebrate the 40 th birthday
of team manager, Bully.
After a week’s break Wimbledon head to Dorking in search of another 5-pointer to
keep alive their promotion hopes.