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Rugby union: Wimbledon suffer first league defeat of campaign as lead at top is cut

Wimbledon’s lead at the top of the London & SE Premier League was cut to two points after their first defeat of the season – 22-16 at home to Guernsey.

The visitors were better able than Wimbledon to convert the few scoring opportunities they created into tries.

It was clear within 10 minutes of the start that the real battle would be between two first-rate defences and that one missed tackle could determine the end result.

For the first 20 minutes the teams took it in turns to mount waves of attack on their opposition’s goal line, then the visitors nearly broke the deadlock with a break down the left wing only for Ollie Kitto to pull off a try-saving tackle.

Minutes later flanker Kain Rix – one of many who tackled their hearts out throughout the match – ripped the ball from a Guernsey lock, sprinted up the touchline, kicked ahead as he was finally tackled and centre Paul Hendry outpaced the defence to score.

The loss through injury of tight head prop and captain Josh Bayford didn’t help Wimbledon’s cause. Nick Merrien touching down to level the scores.

James Moffat gave Wimbledon the lead with a well-struck penalty but Guernsey’s Jake O’Connor was on hand to take a scoring pass and Joe Andresen had no trouble converting to put them 12-8 ahead at the break.

Matt Armstrong extend their lead to 17-8.

A brilliant run by Kitto from his own 22, dummying and outpacing Guernsey’s defence, then perfectly timing his pass to Luca Rizzo saw the wing race in at the corner, narrowing the deficit to 13-17.

Moffat’s kick  hit the post.

Guernsey went over for their fourth try before a Moffat penalty cut the deficit to six points.

Wimbledon face a trip to Tunbridge Wells tomorrow.

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