Dorking vs Wimbledon
Saturday 22nd April
Dorking 30 – 41 Wimbledon
By Scott Richardson
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;”
(Henry V, William Shakespeare)
The time had come. After a long and challenging season, the final league game was upon us and, as expected, the Big Field was alive with activity. Coinciding with a tournament of the rounder ball variety, the little corner of Brockham we call home was awash with spectators all out to see three Dorking senior teams run out and culminating with the 1st XV against Wimbledon.
Nestled in second position in the league by some distance from third, Wimbledon were always going to pose a significant threat, but Dorking went into the game quietly confident. Knowing that they were caught cold in their first meeting and Wimbledon’s upcoming playoff run, there was genuine confidence that the boys in red and white would provide at least a strong challenge, if not an upset.
Dorking were slow to start and found themselves five points down early on when an errant pass was pounced upon by Wimbledon and the break-away lead to a short range try soon after.
Five soon became twelve after Dorking missed their first opportunity to get points on the board with a penalty, Wimbledon worked the ball up the field and through a couple of arm tackles to score in the corner.
Dorking were able to get on the board when, following an ugly tackle, Wimbledon received their first yellow of the match and Cam Pimlow, in at 10 for the unavailable Matt Noble, was able to put it through the posts this time.
The positive feeling was short-lived, however, as Wimbledon managed to score a third and then fourth try after sustained pressure drew in the Dorking defenders and they were able to make use of the numbers out wide. At 3-26 down after half an hour gone, it was looking ominous. This was made worse when Stuart Watkins, a rock in defence in recent games, was forced off with a corked thigh.
However, Dorking showed great resilience as the classy Cam Pimlow threw a lovely pass out to James Arbury playing at 13, who had the pace and finishing ability to score in the corner and Dorking had their first try on the board.
Again, the good feeling was short-lived as Fraser Macdonald, who had come on for Watkins, saw yellow for a tackle off the ball. Wimbledon were able to make use of the extra numbers when they broke through the vacant centre channel and a simple switch with the fullback saw him in for their fifth try before half time and a score of Dorking 8 – 34 at the break.
Dorking managed to hold Wimbledon out for the remainder of the sin-bin before James Arbury was forced off with a head knock and Watkins returned to the fray outside Macdonald.
Dorking were then handed another lifeline when, following a great break from Finn Osborne who backed up his colossal display for the U21s side on Monday with another huge showing at six, he deftly popped the ball to Mike Terelak, only for him to get wiped out with an early tackle and the Wimbledon blindside this time was in line for an enforced break on the sidelines for 10 minutes.
Shortly after, one of the plays of the game occurred when Jasper King showed his exceptional pace to break through the Wimbledon defence. Ben Edwards supported admirably and showed great hands throughout the game with some lovely touches, especially here when he found Terelak once more, who rolled back the years, gliding away from the hapless defenders to score under the posts.
The confidence was visibly growing through the Dorking side but when the Wimbledon scrum-half managed to find space around the scrum and go in from 40 metres out, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Dorking came back again, showing real spirit and a refusal to die wondering. This time, Dorking’s exceptional openside, Harry Elbrow, showed quick feet and power to break through and score to bring Dorking within one try of an unlikely bonus point.
The bonus point try came shortly after when Watkins, battling through with his dead leg, showed good pace and a titanic hand-off to make a break and then showed his subtle hands to offload to Tom Hunt who showed the sort of pace and illusiveness that has made him a handful for defences across the league all year.
There was even time for one more as Ed Carne wrapped up an incredibly gutsy display with a try of his own following great phase-play from Dorking, but they were beaten by the clock in the end.
A performance to be proud of from the Dorking boys who came up against a classy outfit and could count themselves unlucky not to come out of the game with more. A lot to look forward to next year.
DoR, Armand Roux, had this to say about the performance:
“It truly was a game of two halves today; one half in which we created so many unconverted opportunities and defended passively and another where we really upped the tempo and scored some cracking tries.
“That gave us a taste what we can achieve when we play with confidence. The character shown today by the boys was really nice to see. Also, from a comparative point of view, the growth we have made from the first game to last game was there for all to see.
“The result was disappointing and so were some of those first half mistakes. The performance in the second half was great and pleasing to see that we had a team in a play-off for national 2 on the ropes and who genuinely looked shell-shocked.
“Some solid performances yet again by so many, but the distribution of Cameron Pimlow at 10 and Harry Elbrow’s terrier-like attitude at 7, meant they really caught the eye.
“One more game on the cards for us and one where we want to build on that second half performance. We have unfinished business against Guildford in the Surrey Cup final on Monday 1st will be a great sign off to the season.”
Team: Fred Evans, Jonny Ellis (c), Ben Edwards, Harry Sheppard, Jasper King, Finn Osborne, Harry Elbrow, Harry Watts, Zack Woodcock, Cam Pimlow, Mike Terelak, Stuart Watkins, James Arbury, Tom Hunt, Ed Carne, Brandon Sweet, Jake Dobson, Fraser Macdonald