Wimbledon pay the penalty to miss out on all the points at home to Gravesend
Despite sustained pressure from Wimbledon over the final 10 minutes, Gravesend clung on to their slim lead to clinch a 19-16 victory they just about deserved.
Dons’ defeat though was due in part to their inability to understand the referee’s interpretation of the laws relating to scrums, rucks and mauls.
The resulting penalty count against them, plus too many unforced errors, gave the visitors the majority of possession and territory in the first half and their 6-3 lead at the interval – courtesy of two penalty goals by Zanirato against one from Dons’ Neil Hallett - was a fair reflection of the game.
The second half began in much the same way, with G’s kicker adding three more points from a penalty in front of the posts.
But then, in the best move of the game, Wimbledon’s pack won and kept hold of the ball, and some flowing rugby from their backs ended with Pete Scott and Tommy Moore combining to put prop Pete Wallace over in the corner. Hallett’s conversion gave Dons a 10-9 lead.
Prepared: Jonny Rowlinson gets set for a crunching tackle SP79017
But almost from the kick-off flanker Rich Stewart was harshly yellow-carded and number eight Danny Craven, on his first outing of the season, went off injured.
After 15 minutes of the second half, Gravesend’s pack got a great shove on in a 5m scrum, Dons collapsed it and the referee had no option but to award a penalty try - 10-16 to Gravesend.
Five minutes later though, Hallett reduced the deficit to 13-16, only for Zanirato to slot his fourth penalty and restore G’s lead to six points.
With 10 minutes remaining, a rare Wimbledon penalty was quickly taken by skipper Charlie Morgan, to start a fine backs move which ended with wing Josh Charles brought down just a yard short of the line.
The ref had been playing advantage though and from the penalty Hallett brought Dons back to 16-19.
A typical surging run from Chris Lewis, making a welcome return after a long term injury, led to Charles almost scoring again, but although the team threw everything they had at Gravesend they just could not break a defence that proved almost as impenetratable as their own, and they had to be content with just a losing bonus point.
After a break this weekend, Wimbledon go to Brighton on October 26.
Leading the way: Peter Scott in possession SP79017
Up for it: Ed Lewis in the defeat to Gravesend SP79017
Where you going? Bryan Croke brings an end to a Gravesend attack SP79017
Day of kicks: Bryan Croke attempts a three-pointer for Wimbledon SP79017
Stop there: Peter Scott gets to grips with a Gravesend forward move SP79017
War of attrition: Gravesend took the points home after a 19-16 win at Wimbledon SP79017
Wedgie: James Watkins is lifted in the line-out SP79017
Defence: Charlie Morgan SP79017
Halt: Neil Brown working hard to keep Gravesend at bay Both pictures: SP79017
Comments are closed on this article.