Cranleigh failed to capitalise on a quick start in a 15-7 defeat to Old Wimbledonians in Surrey Division 1.
Even with the majority of possession and territory, Cranleigh struggled to translate the dominance into clear scoring opportunities despite twice being held up over the opposition try line.
Excellent work in the loose by back rows, Dan Wilkie and Harry Nye highlighted the intensity, combined with excellent set piece play all helped to create a solid platform for Cranleigh to move forward. Dave Eve’s accurate throwing coupled with well timed jumping again by the young Nye showed the increased development from the Cranleigh pack in the lineout over that of the last few weeks.
Frustratingly Cranleigh’s dominance in the scrum, with Andy Morris stepping up as prop doing a sterling effort, did not reap the full rewards it deserved with several seemingly overturned scrums
returning to Wimbledonians for safety reasons.
Cranleigh’s backline appeared to thrive from the early dominance with hard running lines and slick hands which resulted in multiple line breaks. Following a string of phases the ball was shipped to Fly- half Dwayne Parkington who deftly chipped the ball into space into the Wimbledonians 22 and with the help of a friendly bounce collected his own kick before drawing the Full-back and off loading to the now prolific Cranleigh Winger Aaron Beacroft. Parkington slotted the conversion to bring the score to 7-0 Cranleigh.
With slipping discipline and increased possession for Wimbledonians, the visitors moved up the field only for Cranleigh’s first up tackles, lead by example from Christian Morris, halted their progress.
Following a somewhat wayward kick calmly collected by Cranleigh’s young utility back Ben Lyons, the Wimbledonians kick chase benefitted from a delayed Cranleigh pass to allow an interception try finished under the posts with the kick converted. Half-time score 7-7.
A rallying team talk should have put Cranleigh on the front foot for the second half but clearly Wimbledonians had their Weetabix for breakfast and came out firing. The dominant elements from Cranleigh’s game in the first half seemed to have evaporated as a solid half of only three missed tackles was eclipsed by 15 in the second half.
Cranleigh struggled to get a foothold on the second half and Wimbledonians continued to plug away into the Cranleigh half. Slipping organisation and discipline lead to a Wimbledonians converted penalty kick putting them into the lead for the first time.
As the Cranleigh engines began to stutter, the attacking edge was lost and communication and organisation began to wither as the Wimbledonians side camped in the Cranleigh half.
Despite the usual Cranleigh heart and effort, the game was not to go their way and through some sloppy defending the Wimbledonians half-back skipped through several missed tackles to score the deciding try.