Rugby union: Wimbledon stay top – and with a perfect record – after win at Dorking

Wimbledon maintained their 100 per cent record in London & SE Premier with a 27-16 victory at Dorking last weekend.

It was only in the closing stages that the South Londoners clinched  the win and secured a valuable try-bonus point in the process.

The conditions were pretty horrible, persistent rain churning up an already sodden pitch and making handling tricky.

Dorking coped better as the Dons made an uncharacteristic number of handling errors, particularly in the first half when Dorking’s line speed added to the difficulties their backs were experiencing.

Playing with the slope, the home team went ahead after five minutes with a penalty goal after the Dons had been pinned in their own 22.

There were several glimpses of Dons’ penetrative power but Dorking’s defence held firm until centre Paul Hendry cut neatly through to score their first try. James Moffat – this time out playing at full-back – added the extras.

Wimbledon failed to gather the restart and the loose ball was gathered by Dorking’s lock Jasper King, who brushed off two tackles and charged in to score, Killian Wilson added the two points to make it 10-7.

Wimbledon forwards were showing their set-piece superiority 25 minutes into the contest and a powerful drive from a penalty ended with flanker Jack Flanagan touching down to regain the lead at 12-10.

They lost it again soon after when dissent at a refereeing penalty decision brought Dorking within kicking distance and Wilson kicked three more points.

Both teams tried to play attacking rugby for the final 15 minutes of the half but the game simply stuttered from scrum to penalty to scrum again and was distinctly unmemorable.

The first quarter of the second period continued in similar vein until a 25-metre driving maul by the Dons pack yielded a kickable penalty for Moffat to put them 15-13 up.

His pack was now totally dominating the set scrum, surprisingly earning no penalties, and Dorking’s scrum-half Henry Smith did well to get the ball away from a hurriedly retreating pack.

The Wimbledon back line clicked again going into the final quarter and a nice break by centre Jack Reville earned a penalty 10 metres out. A couple of scrums got an inevitable penalty try and Wimbledon looked clear at 22-13.

But another three points from Dorking brought them back within range. It took until the final minute for a slightly jittery Wimbledon to seal the win with a driving maul from a lineout – hooker Josh Forrester got the ball down.

Not Wimbledon’s finest performance but still a good win in the conditions and against a well-drilled Dorking side – and one that puts them three points clear at the top of the league.

The Dons are at home to Brighton, buoyed by a surprising victory over Sidcup, on Saturday.

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