After last week’s inspirational win over league winners Chichester, Wimbledon had expected to travel to Old Reigatians for their promotion play-off but appeals in the South East league meant a change of opposition as late as Tuesday to give a play-off match instead against Aylesford Bulls in Kent.

Confidence was high and after taking a few minutes to settle Wimbledon were into their familiar tempo.

Aylesford opened the scoring after five minutes with Wimbledon not staying in their feet at the tackle and Aylesford’s full-back Hutching took the penalty on offer.

This was equalised almost immediately by Andy Reilly for Wimbledon with Aylesford being caught offside.

A similar offence by Wimbledon gave advantage to Aylesford swiftly followed by a yellow card being given to Wimbledon scrum-half Alex Pye for use of his feet to free the ball.

A sliced kick gifted the ball and give Aylesford left-wing Beaumont a try in the corner, the conversion was missed and Aylesford sniffed victory with the score 11 – 3 and only 20 minutes played.

Pye’s return to the pitch was the signal for Wimbledon’s first try after the ball had moved through the hands of Cupido, Rawlinson, Mockford, Willoughby before Pye touched down.

Reilly made no mistake with the conversion and Wimbledon were 11 – 10 behind. The pace of the game was getting to the bigger Aylesford forwards but their power forced another penalty from Hutching.

A high tackle on Reilly was spotted and the resulting free ball gave Cupido the chance of a drop-goal which he took with no mistake.

On 37 minutes and with some missed tackles in mid-field Wimbledon’s captain Will Davies powered through for a try under the posts with the conversion taken by Reilly. Wimbledon were ahead 20 – 14 for the first time.

The second half started with a yellow card for the Aylesford flanker and captain Sam Carroll and Wimbledon seized the chance with a try wide-out by Reilly, his conversion was missed but taking Wimbledon 25 – 14 ahead.

Wimbledon’s fitness was telling on Aylesford and despite Hutching being given and taking two more penalties and similar replies from Reilly the margin was increased and victory sealed with a try in injury time from full back David Charles after flanker Chris Lewis had made an overlap in midfield.

The final score of 36 – 20 to Wimbledon was a fair result on the day and all the players from 1 – 15 played their part. The forwards took on and eventually subdued a heavy pack and at no time were the front row of Davies, Symon and Hellier ever under sustained pressure.

Flankers Jason Anquetil and Chris Lewis it seemed were involved in every move and the only advantage Aylesford had was their line-out which secured their own ball but did not steal any from Herman van der Merwe and Julian Callanan for Wimbledon.

In this match the refereeing of Mr Walker (Eastern Counties) was as good as any Wimbledon have seen all year.

This season has seen Wimbledon only lose one league match at home, and that by one point, as the season has unfolded so have the margins of victory increased, a tribute to the coaching skills of Chris Yates and Duncan Cormack and the leadership of the team by captain Ben Nightingale and in the final two matches by Will Davies.

With an enlarged league next season life in London Division 1 (South) will be exciting.