After an early scare, Wimbledon romped to an 81-7 success over London Two South West's bottom side Bognor on Saturday.
When Bognor’s centre Dave Sweeney scored a fine try just 90 seconds into this game, with a conversion by Rob Parry, it was difficult to tell whether it was his team-mates or their hosts Wimbledon who were the more surprised.
Bognor, with just two league wins to their name, foot the league while Wimbledon are very much in contention for promotion and expected to romp home here.
From the next minute on though, when prop Pete Wallace plucked a high ball from a defender’s grasp and slipped it to Jonny Rawlinson who jinked past two men to score, the game ran true to form.
Tries followed in quick succession from Dave Rees, Dave Charles, Charlie Morgan, Brett Box, James Hayes, Kua Palakua, Charles again and finally a second for Rawlinson, each one rounding off the sort of teamwork that makes even the surliest of coaches smile.
With no fewer than seven conversions by Dave Sharp, four from out wide, Dons had accumulated 59 points to Bognor’s 7 by half time.
In the third quarter a combination of over-eagerness by Wimbledon to continue the scoring spree and a spirited fightback by Bognor, restricted Dons to just the one try, a drive over from a 5m lineout, touched down by Box. (From the touchline it appeared that Dons had scored three more tries during this period, but the referee disagreed).
But they stopped trying to force things in the final quarter and three more tries resulted, two almost identical by captain Rich Stewart picking up from the base of a scrum won against the head and powering over the line, and another forward drive from a 5m lineout, touched down by Graeme Symon. Sharp’s conversion added two more points.
Every Wimbledon player who failed to get his name on the score sheet will know that he contributed equally to this impressive win, none more so than replacement scrum half, Tommy Moore, making his 1st XV debut after working his way right through Wimbledon’s hugely successful minis section. Hopefully more of his like will soon follow.
At home again next week Wimbledon will be looking for a four-try win against Tottonians to keep the pressure on league leaders Gosport and Fareham, who they face the following week in what could well be the promotion decider.