Wimbledon produced early signs they are ready for an instant return to National League 2 as they thrashed Tunbridge Wells 52-8 on Saturday.
The home side were fourth in the London Premier League last season but found themselves 45-3 down at the break.
From the outset it was apparent that the TW pack were no match for Wimbledon’s in the set scrums and driving mauls.
It was clear too, when after just four minutes wing Phil Chesters sprinted and weaved his way 75 metres and almost to the try line, that Dons’ backs were going to prove a real handful. Centre Toby White neatly gathered the ball and went over for the first try.
After Harry Tabb’s touchline conversion a series of penalties saw the home side get points on the board.
Flanker Jack Flanagan got the Dons’ second try after bursting through two defenders. Tabb’s conversion made it 14-3.
The next 25 minutes yielded five sparkling tries for Wimbledon – and with fewer penalties and a little less white line fever it could have been more.
First some slick handling by the backs led to a well-taken try by Tabb. He was injured in the process, resulting in new boy Freddie Hooper coming on as fullback and Ben Hough moving to number 10.
A terrible Dons lineout on their own 22 so nearly let TW in, but wing Josh Charles twice took his man out with try-saving tackles.
A length-of-the-field foray by White almost brought a fourth try, as did a similar run by Hough moments later, but both were stopped just short.
It was left to Dons’ scrimmaging from 10 metres out to set up number eight Kane Alboni to power over the line. Another lovely run by Hough and an offload to White gave the centre try number five, converted by Hooper to take the score to 31-3.
Flanagan was on hand again to burst over for his second try, Hooper adding his second conversion. His third took the score to 45-3 after Charles had rounded off some fine back play set off by a typical tackle-busting break by hooker Bradley Ugodulunwa.
It was 15 minutes into the second half before Wimbledon hit the 50 point mark, with a lovely solo effort from Hough earning him a well-earned try – Hooper again came good with the conversion from near touch.
Wimbledon took their foot off the gas after the break, with Tunbridge Wells grabbing a deserved consolation try.
The Dons are at home to Bedford Athletic tomorrow (3pm)