Given the number of injured players on the touchline and those otherwise unavailable the last thing Wimbledon needed when taking on the league leaders was the loss of three key players during the match.
Number eight Jake Rigby was concussed after just 12 minutes, scrum-half Owen Davies limped off before half-time, as did full-back Tom Milner just after the interval.
Despite the disruption Wimbledon had the better of the first half, the backs running everything – and defending well – and the pack providing good quick ball from the breakdown. Not so at the set scrum though where Dorking’s pack consistently drove Dons backwards keeping them well in the game. A lovely run from wing Archie Brosch almost opened the scoring after 10 minutes but from the last-ditch tackle on him an equally good run by Dorking’s centre was finally terminated by a try-saving tackle from Henry Peuble.
Peuble put the Dons on the scoreboard through a converted penalty a couple of minutes later.
Soon after, following a fine drive from a five-metre lineout, Finn Taylor drew the defence before passing to his fellow centre Paul Hendry – he darted through to score under the posts. Davies’ conversion put Dons 10-0 ahead, quickly reduced to 10-3 after a penalty conversion by Dorking full-back Killian.
For the rest of the half the game swung back and forth with both defences proving umbreachable until just before the whistle when Dorking’s pack were awarded a penalty try on their fourth attempt to drive over from a five-metre scrum.
After Milner’s departure five minutes into the second half the re-organised Wimbledon team again took the lead through an excellent try by Bosch after skipper Jack Cook burst through two tackles on halfway and charged 30 metres upfield before putting the wing away to race in for a try in the corner, superbly converted from the touchline by Peuble..
Dorking hit back quickly, creating enough space for their wing to round Dons’ defence and touch down beneath the posts – the conversion levelling the score at 17-17.
Surprisingly the visitors then took the three points on offer from a penalty on Dons’ 22 to take the lead for the first time. But they lost it again with 10 minutes remaining when Wimbledon’s pack produced one of their own powerful driving mauls to score out wide, with Peuble again converting from the touchline to take it to 24-20.
A victory for Wimbledon looked in the bag with just two minutes to go, but a bad Dons’ mistake gave Dorking a five-metre scrum and after the Wimbledon pack and half their back line had repelled several drives they spun the ball wide where their unmarked wing was able to squeeze in at the corner for the winning score.
It was a really disappointing result for Wimbledon after such a strong performance from every one of the 18 players who took the field, but they can pick themselves up with a good win this weekend away to Maidenhead.
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