Rugby union: Dons winless in seven league outings after defeat to high-flying Esher

Wimbledon are winless in seven National League 2 East matches after a 34-14 defeat to Esher.

The final score didn’t quite reflect the game as a whole but the visitors  deserved their win that took them to second place in the table.

A huge tackle count from all 15 players kept Wimbledon firmly in the game until the closing stages.

The first half was pretty even and but for a few simple errors at crucial moments Wimbledon could well have been ahead after 40 minutes.

Instead they trailed 10-0. A fine run from his own 22 by Esher wing James Botterill, during which he evaded three Wimbledon tacklers, led to a try in the corner, converted by Sam Morley. Morley then added a penalty conversion.

The first five minutes of the second half was all Wimbledon and a trademark drive from the Dons’ pack ended with hooker Macauley Casey touching down and fly-half Edward Morgan converted from the touchline. Then five minutes later that exact passage of play was repeated by Wimbledon, taking them into a 14-10 lead.

Shortly after it was Esher’s turn to score from a lineout and Conor Ganley’s try plus Morley’s conversion made it 14-17.

The last quarter belonged to Esher. They kicked deep into Wimbledon’s half and their backs were forced into errors by their ever-present, speedy opposition.

Esher ran in two good tries, the first by Finlay McBrearty and the second with just five minutes remaining by flanker Hugh Sloan and the score moved to 14-27.

Centre Harry Chamberlain  intercepted a Wimbledon pass and sprinted clear from halfway to score beneath the posts, the simple conversion bringing up the final score.

Wimbledon host North Walsham tomorrow.

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