Wimbledon 26 – 55 Henley
National league 2 south. 21.10.17
If only Wimbledon could field the same team two weeks running - or better still three
or four – they would certainly not be sitting winless at the foot of the league table.
With an injury list now in excess of 40 players, they were forced to field five flankers
in the starting line-up at home against Henley on Saturday, and the visitors were quick
to exploit the weaknesses in Dons’ team structure; it took just four minutes for
Henley’s scrum to wheel Dons’ 5m out, enabling the flanker to charge down scrum
half Sam Waltier’s clearance for lock Albon to touch down under the posts. Scrum
half Jackson put over the first of his three conversions. Three minutes later poor
passing and worse handling from Wimbledon gave possession to Henley and centre
Awcock was clear to run in try no. two. Shortly after their total control of possession
yielded a scrum 5m out and they drove over for no.three. After 20 minutes, when
Wimbledon at last got the ball, their attack soon broke down, Henley stole the ball
and wing Portland ran in unopposed for no.4.
Eventually though Wimbledon’s pack won good ball and Waltier squeezed into the
corner to score. His fly half James Doe defied the strong wind to convert from the
touchline. But with three minutes of the half remaining, Dons again lost the ball
midfield, Henley’s backs poured through a non-existent defence and prop Cook
touched down for their fifth try. From the re-start though, Wimbledon skipper Dylan
Flashman barged through Henley’s forwards and after a series of pick and drives
hooker Ben Brooks went over for a second Dons’ try.to close the gap at half time to
Three minutes into the second half Flashman again started a strong drive and several
phases later finished the move with try no.3, converted by Doe. After defending their
line heroically Dons’ forwards broke out of their 22, took play upfield where they
won a lineout 10m out and drove over for try no.4 touched down by flanker Sam
Reynolds. From 0-26 down, Wimbledon were suddenly just five points behind at 26-
31. But their purple patch faded as the organised Henley team took back control and,
aided by a forward pass, Henley’s Awcock scored in the corner. Two more tries
followed in the final ten minutes…a pushover by their pack and a touchdown by
scrum half Jackson, whose conversion signalled the end of the match.
Next week Wimbledon travel to London Irish for a 5pm kick-off.