Sevenoaks 24 - Wimbledon 16
It may be viewed at the end of the season that this result could have been the wake-up that Wimbledon needed to re-focus their efforts after a series of bonus point victories.
Sevenoaks supplied a heavy mid-winter pitch and a heavy duty, experienced pack to play on it, a sympathetic referee also helped as when finally he was persuaded that Sevenoaks were repeatedly infringing the offside line when Wimbledon were attacking close to their line, eventually he resorted to yellow cards. Two for the home team and none for the visitors but crucially he declined to award any penalty tries, unlike other referees seen this season. Wimbledon were forced into a late change when captain Josh Bayford withdrew before kick-off and the two young props Abu Abdul and Bradley Ugodulunwa kept at their task and were not undone by bigger and heavier opposition. Where Wimbledon lost this match was in their errors, knock-ons and forward passes as well as kicks out on the full when under pressure from the Sevenoaks defence. But for all that the free-flowing rugby possible on a hard pitch was never a possibility on this surface.
Wimbledon opened the match with a long period of attack close to the Sevenoaks, they were over at least three times but failed to ground the ball, eventually a penalty was awarded and Wimbledon took the scrum, again held up and eventually Wimbledon decided in the 35th minute that points must be taken and fullback James Moffat made no mistake to open the score. Sevenoaks opened their score on 42 minutes when their tall left wing Pehi sprinted round to score wide out, the conversion attempt was missed.
Sevenoaks started the second half with another offside after four minutes and Moffat repeated the reply, and Pehi repeated his efforts after a long burst down his wing. Two more Sevenoaks tries, one from the openside flanker, and Pehi again for his hat-trick followed to take the score to 24 – 6 before Wimbledon managed to capitalise on the referee’s light-touch style after the first yellow card.
Wimbledon did have the final say with tries firstly by centre Paul Hendry and finally by left wing Kieran Morris but Moffat was unable to convert either score - Sevenoaks had however won the match well before then.
Next week Wimbledon will be at home to Tring with a 2.00pm kick-off time. We hope for a dryer pitch.