Rugby: Tunbridge Wells brought down to earth by Wimbledon

Pam Mills

TUNBRIDGE WELLS were soundly beaten by a strong Wimbledon side who were relegated from National Two South, despite taking some notable scalps at the higher level.

The visitors confirmed their status as favourites for the London & South East Premier League with a 28-15 win over last season’s third-placed side, Tring, on the opening weekend.

But Tunbridge Wells, who were fifth last time, were in buoyant mood after their bonus point win over Hertford, who were fourth in 2017-18.

Wells were simply blown away in the first half. Wimbledon attacked from all areas through their lethal backline and there were several tries from inside their own half.

Their platform was provided by a very large pack that were dominant at the set-piece. An early Frank Reynolds penalty was all Wells had to show for their efforts with the away side ran away with seven tries and 45 points.

It was a test of character for the home side and they regrouped at half-time. With instruction from coach Mav Anderson and the introductions of Luke Hawkins and Carl Straeche from the bench, Wells came out fighting.

The home side had the majority of the possession and territory after the interval and went through a number of phases as both sides managed a single try in the second half.

Toby Talbot went over for Wells in the right-hand corner after a crisp pass from Rich Webster following a long period of possession.

The hosts had managed to up their game and showed plenty of grit and determination with Mike Hathaway as their man of the match.

Tunbridge Wells now travel to Shelford on Saturday (September 15, kick-off 3pm).

PICTURE: TITANIC STRUGGLE: Josh Pankhurst gets to work against Wimbledon PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

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