Wimbledon progress in Community Cup

Wimbledon won 28-21 at Bridgnorth in the Community Cup and host Syston this weekend in the same competition.

The Dons travelled on their longest away fixture for several years to Bridgnorth in Shropshire on the banks of the River Severn, a ground that has been flooded twice this season but nevertheless was in perfect condition even following recent weather.

They knew that this would be a very tough fixture given that the home team had finished second in the Midlands League in the regular season.

Bridgnorth had a strong pack who had spells of domination during the match but also, like the visitors, made handling errors at crucial times with a slippery ball.

The result of this was a larger than usual number of scrums where the home team enjoyed some supremacy. But Wimbledon’s taller pack enjoyed supremacy in the line-outs and the expert kicking of outside half Ed Morgan was able to keep Bridgnorth pinned in their own half for long periods at the expense of yielding the throw-in.

The first score of the match came after six minutes when right wing Ollie Kitto added to his season’s tally of tries following Wimbledon pressure. The ball was moved across the pitch for Kitto to outflank the defence and give Morgan a tricky conversion to attempt, he made no mistake with his first of four conversions.

Bridgnorth’s fullback Will Beddell was also on target with his three conversions.

Wimbledon lost prop Bradley Ogodunuluwa and replacement Abu Abdul joined the match. After 18 minutes a Bridgnorth penalty was kicked to the corner and flanker Calum Bradbury was able to force his way over from the lineout for the first try and Beddell’s conversion.

Both sides had attempts at tries held up over the line and also a yellow card was awarded to Wimbledon scrum half Alex Kerr. Despite this Bridgnorth were unable to benefit and the half-time score of 7-7 was a fair reflection.

Within a minute of kick-off for the second half Kerr burst through a gap from a lineout and scored, this time under the posts, with Morgan converting.

Immediately from the restart Bridgnorth forced a scrum in the Wimbledon 22 and later another at five metres, from the resulting drive the powerful Bridgnorth loosehead and captain Jonah Boyce forced his way over and Beddell converted.

At no time could either side gain dominance for more than a few minutes, the Bridgnorth forwards again attempted to pick-and-go near the line but were held-up with dogged defence.

At the other end of the pitch after 73 minutes a big scrum from Wimbledon on the home team’s 22 forced a penalty and the kick to the corner. After the lineout and maul, flanker Will Trimmer emerged with the ball and sustained a head knock in the process. Morgan’s conversion regained the lead.

The home team were still competing hard and their replacement forward Russ Gauden, forced his way over and the conversion tied the scores, 21-21.

The final score sealed a victory. Not for the first time flanker Max Freeman charged down a clearance kick and the deflection crossed the goal-line, very alert centre Jack Reville pounced on it and with the conversion from Morgan it sealed the victory.

There was no time for Bridgnorth to attack and the final whistle went.

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