Dorking 56 Wimbledon 7
Wimbledon were put to the sword at Dorking as their extensive injury list consigned them to a chastening afternoon, writes Tony Mann.
The team-sheet for Saturday’s London & SE Premier League match highlighted the problems they currently have, particularly in the pack, with not one forward among the replacements.
And from the kick-off it soon became clear that the Don’s pack was again lacking experienced players and they were heavily outweighed, out-scrummaged and out-jumped.
They did not win a single lineout in the first half, and no8 Ted Bunn and scrum-half Owen Davis did well to secure any possession behind a rapidly-retreating scrum.
But it was slow ball and Dorking’s fast and efficient runners allowed Don’s normally free-running backs little room to move and caused them to make mistakes and hand back possession.
Playing downhill and with the wind, the home team ran in three tries in the first 20 minutes, through James Catton (twice) and Joe Spurgeon – all converted by the captain Matt Noble, who celebrated his final home game for his club by converting every one of his side’s tries on the day.
Despite living off scraps, Wimbledon showed glimpses of their creative play. In one of those, following a break by centre Paul Hendry on half-way, standoff Jake Noble sidestepped one man then outpaced the defence to score in the corner and convert from touch.
Earlier in the move though, Dons suffered their first injury of the day, with flanker Grant Paterson having to be replaced.
The resulting reshuffle saw wing James Millais move into the pack.
Some good defence, including try-saving tackles by Noble, Hendry and Henry Peuble, kept Dorking at bay until the final minute of the half, when their centre Fraser Mosley notched up their fourth try, the conversion making it 28-7 at half-time.
The second half started really badly for Wimbledon, conceding a fifth try three minutes in to Fraser Macdonald and, worse still, losing full-back Ollie Kitto, plus Bunn and Millais to injury ten minutes later.
They were soon followed off the pitch by the last surviving back rower, Tyler Reichardt, meaning Wimbledon had to see out the final 15 minutes of the match with only 13 men – all of whom did incredibly well to limit Dorking to just two more tries.
But they took the final score to one which Wimbledon have not seen the likes of for many a season.
Darragh Chambers, Finn Osborne and Louis Flynn took the final try tally for the hosts to eight.
It will be interesting to see if they can raise a squad of 18 fit players for their final game of the season in two weeks’ time at home against Tring.
But whatever the result of that game, Wimbledon will finish an impressive seventh in the league.
Credit for that must go to Collin Osborne and his coaching team for putting out so many makeshift
sides that have still been able to compete well and win more than half their games.