Hertford 31 - Wimbledon 39
By James Boatman
Wimbledon traveled to Hertford needing a victory to help drive them on to the possibility of promotion. After 30 minutes it looked like that ambition might be beyond them...
Hertford 31 - Wimbledon 39
Wimbledon traveled to Hertford needing a victory to help drive them on to the possibility of promotion.
After 30 minutes it looked like that ambition might be beyond them with a 19 - 0 deficit, the home team having scored three tries through wings Kyle Lemon, Michael Allen and Sam Walker, two being converted by centre Stuart Smart.
The Wimbledon cause was not helped by captain Chris York limping off after just four minutes with a knee injury. He was replaced by flanker Ted Bunn with flanker Kane Alboni moving to no.8.
But Hertford had benefited from a fresh wind on their backs and on 41 minutes Wimbledon were able at last to mount a meaningful attack - a penalty resulted. The decision was made to kick to the corner and from the lineout a drive by Kane Alboni was held up over the line. From the subsequent scrum and series of forward drives lock Rob Louw was able to crash over the line on the blind side from a short pass from scrum half Booth. Fullback James Moffat took his first kick of the match and it proved to be the start of a productive afternoon for him.
This score was quickly followed by Louw’s second as he was driven over having taken a tap penalty, which with Moffat’s conversion, gave a score of at 19 – 14 in favour of Hertford as a long first half ended.
Clearly the half-time team talk had the desired effect as with the wind now behind them Wimbledon tore into the home team. A series of pick and go drives gained the ground for centre Jack Reville to spot the gap between two forwards, side step the fullback and score near to the posts. The conversion was the easiest so far for Moffat and at 21 – 19 Wimbledon were in the lead for the first time. Better was to follow when on 54 minutes a driven line-out led to replacement prop James Gillespie diving over with tacklers all over him, again converted by Moffat, 28 -19. Wimbledon were starting to breathe easier, but kept working, and a sweeping move across the pitch featuring a mazy run by wing Phil Chesters and good hands putting centre Freddie Hooper in wide out. For once Moffat could only find a rebound from the post with his kick.
Now at 33 – 19 Hertford got some possession and were able to exert pressure for their prop Geoff Hughes to force his way over and score and centre Stuart Smart repeated Moffat’s earlier miss with a kick hitting the posts with his conversion attempt. Hertford pressed again and scrum half Michael Sargent sensed an opening and sprinted away to score after a couple of weak tackles from Wimbledon. This was also converted by Smart 33-31.
The visitors needed to steady their nerves, a yellow card for back-chat by a Hertford player gave Moffat a simple kick in front of the posts and a final penalty for offside gave Moffat the chance to extend the lead and let the time expire.
For Wimbledon this was an essential win following the disappointments of the last two matches and they maintain second place in the table. Other positives were a dominant front row in the scrums with Bertie Haskins and Jesse Muir also contributing with the ball carrying and for the most part slick handling in open field by the backs.
Next Saturday Wimbledon will be away at Tring to complete the regular season with a 3.00pm kick-off – If they win with a bonus point then a playoff spot will be theirs.