Wimbledon prepared for their London Two South West promotion play-off with a thumping 65-5 win over Twickenham on Saturday.
The Dons, who finish the league in second, will host London Two South East runner up Charlton Park at home next Saturday for a place in London One South next season.
It was hard for Wimbledon not to feel some sympathy for Twickenham, their situation mirroring Wimbledon’s this time last year: comfortably mid-table at Christmas, then a plague of injuries resulting in an inexorable slide down to eventual relegation.
The visitors got a glimmer of hope of avoiding Wimbledon’s fate when a quickly taken penalty four minutes after kick-off yielded a well-taken try by wing Randell, but over the next 10 minutes that hope was extinguished as it became evident that there would only be one outcome.
Hooker Nathan Kemp scored the first of Dons’ five first half tries after a perfectly timed pass from flanker Ed Lewis, and lock Rich Stewart got the second, driving over after a 20m forward surge and neat back play by Dave Sharp and Jonny Rawlinson. Sharp added the conversion.
Wing Joe Croft then scored the first of his hat-trick of tries and scrum half Charlie Morgan added another, also converted by Sharp, following a fine break and solo run.
An excellent chip from fly half Dan Brown to flanker Chris Lewis brought no.5 and the half time score of 29-5 After just two minutes Morgan broke again and lock Tait showed great pace to run in a try from 45m. Sharp converted well from out wide and put the next one over too when Chris Lewis intercepted on half way to sprint home for his second.
With Wimbledon totally on top in every department the final quarter produced the final four tries, Sharp getting one and Kemp his second of the match after some great back play Croft then took his chances well to score his second and third and to round off a good personal and team performance – and one that Wimbledon will want to emulate next week.
Their greater points difference gets them a home fixture and a big crowd will be expected for this crucial game.