Croke impresses as Wimbledon win
12:23pm Monday 30th September 2013 in Sport
Brian Croke scored more than half of Wimbledon's points on Saturday as they beat Beckenham 51-17 in London One South.
Croke scored two tries and kicked another 16 points to add to two tries from Peter Scott and once each from Joey Nanai, Gary Crowe and Josh Charles.
Wimbledon took the field against previously unbeaten Beckenham with six changes through injury/unavailability and more importantly a complete change of attitude from the whole squad, determined to erase the memory of last week’s debacle against Cobham. And they did it in spades.
Despite being outweighed, Dons’ pack dominated the set scrum, with the superb front row of Wallace, Nanai, Davies and Skjolde in control throughout. In the lineout Crowe, aided by Ed Lewis, reigned supreme and in the loose Rich Stewart, James Watkins and Jamie Doubleday contributed equally to the pack effort.
Throughout the match, captain Charlie Morgan made the most of the possession the pack won, as did the excellent no.10 Croke in only his second match for the club.
After 15 minutes of stalwart defence against a fired-up Beckenham, it was Croke who opened the scoring with a penalty, moments later converting a classy try by wing Scott after fellow wing Charles and fullback Jonny Rawlinson had combined to take play deep into the visitor’s 22.
Beckenham’s Joe Simpson got three points back but a surging run from Wallace and a neat try by Croke took Dons lead to 15-3, which he converted to 17-3 and then 20-3 just before half time.
The scoreline accurately reflected the excellent back’s defence, with centres Tommy Moore and Neil Brown prominent.
Two minutes into the second half, the score moved to 25-3 after a great miss-pass by Doubleday gave Scott the half metre he needed to leave his opposite number for dead and streak down the touchline to score. Crowe extended the lead by another five when he touched down a powerful pushover by the pack.
Beckenham then hit back with two tries of their own, one converted, but there was no stopping Dons.
Nanai surged over for a good forward’s try, converted by Croke, who scored and converted the next try himself after chasing a neat kick-ahead by Stewart.
Then in the dying minutes the impressive Charles scored a well-deserved try under the posts. Croke’s conversion brought up the 51 points and his personal tally to 26 – just reward for a fine all-round performance.
More of the same next week hopefully, away against old adversaries, Sutton & Epsom.