Rugby union: Late tries not costly for league leaders Wimbledon

BY TERRY BAGWORTH

Wimbledon are seven points clear at the top of London & SE Division after a 35-28 home win over Sidcup.

Matches between these two clubs tend to be close affairs and this one was no exception.

In the end Wimbledon had the better lineout and scrum and it led to them being able to dominate in the areas close to the Sidcup line.

The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty conceded for Wimbledon not releasing in the tackle, their outside half Sam Evans landing the first of his kicks.

Sidcup produced a knock-on with the line beckoning, a let-off for the host.

After a spell of frenzied play in the Sidcup 22 metre area and a handling error, finally a penalty was awarded to Wimbledon on 31 minutes.

A driving maul led to Chris York repeating what he had done a week earlier at Brentwood and Wimbledon took the lead for the first time, the conversion came from number 10 Will Taylor.

Four minutes later the second try came following a burst from centre Gav Tusini, who handed on first to Toby White and finally to wing Matt Gilbert to score.  Again the conversion from Taylor was good.

Sidcup replied with a penalty on 37 minutes to stay in touch and rapidly followed it up with a try.

A poor kick from defence was taken by Sidcup number eight Jon West, he fed hooker Charlie Hopkins to run in from 30 metres.

The conversion from Evans was successful to leave Wimbledon 14-13 ahead at the break.

Wimbledon exerted pressure from the restart and a powerful scrum teed up blindside flanker Kane Alboni to score under the posts. Taylor’s conversion took the score to 21-13. A high tackle by Wimbledon give Evans another penalty from 35 metres to keep Sidcup in touch at 21-16.

Wimbledon chose a scrum as their reward after a Sidcup player was shown a yellow card and it led to a pushover try – securing the bonus point – and an easy conversion.

Centre Toby White scored five minutes later and Taylor’s conversion opened the gap to 35-16.

But as before this season, Wimbledon conceded tries at the end of a match which they had worked hard to dominate.

Sidcup winger Harrison Keeley scored wide on the right hand side on 77 minutes, which was unconverted.

Replacement Ahern scored and followed up with a conversion to bag a bonus point.

Wimbledon go to third-placed Sutton & Epsom on Saturday before a home game against Hertford on December 8.

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