11:08am Monday 5th March 2012
By Eddie Bell
Old Wimbledonians secured a vital 43-21 victory over fourth-placed Old Whitgiftians on Saturday.
This performance was one of their most spectacular for many years and showed their free running backline at its best.
The visitors had the edge in the forwards and kept coming back at the home team despite frequent tries pegging them back.
The Whitgiftians took the lead with a penalty for offside early on, but were soon left standing by a jinking run from skipper Richard Travers who beat three men to score under the posts, for James Hodgson to convert.
Another period of even play followed, but the stalemate was broken when Hodgson at stand-off put in a high kick ahead from his own 10 metre line for Jamie Crone following up to take a friendly bounce and run 40 metres to score. Hodgson again converted.
This try by Crone was the first of a hat-trick of tries by the left winger, the first to be scored by an Old Wimbledonian for some years.
Further tries ensued from Frankie D'Souza and Crone again, the former when the mobile prop forward collected a pass and scorched ten metres to the line, the latter from a sprint along the touchline out pacing his opposite number.
From a half-time score of 26-13 in their favour the Old Wimbledonians had to play against the breeze in the second period.
This next half-hour saw the visitors come more into the game with their forwards dominating the tight scrums and having the better of the lineouts.
However, frustrating for them, the Wimbledonians despite going backwards were prompted by Harry Tabb and Hodgson into scoring two long distance tries against the run of play.
Crone's third try came from a brilliant interception in the centre and 50m run, whilst Chris Harper at full-back supported Travers up the left wing to be given the score behind the posts.
With the introduction of veteran Matt Bell replacing Jason Worman's cramped leg the Wimbledonian scrum started going forward in the tight and the lineouts were more closely fought.
One more try came to the home side with a strong sprint from Paddy Donaghy up the touchline into the right corner.
This result augers well for next Saturday's away league game against C L London. Outstanding performances by Phil Reid and Emil Krugman in the back row should be noted.
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