CS Stags 20 – 13 Wimbledon
By Meg Gardiner
London & SE Premier League. 19.01.2019
CS Stags deserved their 20-13 victory over Wimbledon simply because - especially in the final quarter - they made so much better use of their possession, most of which Wimbledon gave to them. Dons really should have won; their set scrum was in charge from the start, their lineout was flawless and their driving mauls made yards. The crash ball worked well too, with the back row of Rich Ridley, Joe Dale and Chris York, plus lock Rob Louw punching holes in Stags defence but a) it became too predictable and b) the strategy was then seemingly to kick deep into Stags territory. And as they were to prove later in the game, this played right into Stags hands and allowed them to demonstrate what a good counter-attacking side they are.
Despite being on top for much of the first half, all Dons had to show for their efforts was a single Freddie Hooper penalty. They extended their lead to 0-10 fifteen minutes into the second half with a well-deserved penalty try by the pack. Stags’ Hodgson and Dons’ Hooper then exchanged penalties to make it 3-13. But Dons soon conceded a soft try in the corner after unusually being driven back in a maul, and Stags’ back line then took control for the final ten minutes, spreading the ball wide from wing to wing, creating good tries for centre Pollen and wing Houston, the first of them converted.
This defeat, even with the one point losing bonus, sees Wimbledon drop to third place in the league and bext week they are at home to Westcliff, now one place above them, and against whom they will not want to kick away so much hard-won possession.