Wimborne scrape home in thriller
Swanage & Wareham 19pts, Wimborne 20
IN their first Southern Counties South league meeting since 2010, Wimborne won a pulsating battle with Swanage & Wareham at Bestwall on Saturday.
The opening exchanges were even but as the half wore on Wimborne gradually gained the upper hand. The opening score came after 25 minutes when a Swans clearance kick failed to find touch and was gathered by winger Nick Bolton who made ground before passing inside to James Mikolajewski.
The strong running full-back made ground up the middle before being tackled and slipping the ball to Tyler Adams. The debutant prop ran through several tackles before passing to young second-rower Matt Christopher. When he was brought down the ball was swiftly re-cycled and moved wide for speedy winger James Brokenshire to score a marvellous try.
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The conversion was missed but five minutes later Mikolajewski made amends with a successful penalty goal to extend the lead to eight points.
Wimborne were now firmly on the front foot and before half-time increased their lead. This came from a scrum out wide when No8 Declan Foley broke up the blind side of a wheeling scrum. His partners in the back row, Steve King and Sean Murphy, were on hand to carry the ball deep into the Swans' 22. The ball was recycled at the ruck and fly-half Ryan Maidment shimmied through the defence to score a try by the posts. Mikolajewski converted to give the Minstermen a 15-point half-time lead.
The second-half opened much as the first ended with Wimborne extending their lead. The kick-off was returned and Steve King made a strong break through the centre. The recycled ball was moved wide for Brokenshire to go over in the corner for his second try. The conversion drifted wide but the visitors were sitting pretty.
Swans, however, were soon back in the game. Wimborne gave away a silly penalty and from the resulting kick to touch Swans set up a forward drive and scored a converted try. Five minutes later Swanage were awarded a penalty try and in the process Wimborne had Sean Murphy yellow-carded.
The game was now truly on, Swans six points down with a man advantage and the pendulum swinging in their favour. The visitors defence, however, stood tall and repulsed the home attacks with crunching tackles, with Ollie Hamer and Ryan Maidment well to the fore.
The breakthrough had to come and with 15 minutes remaining Swans pierced the Wimborne defence for a try following a long period of pressure. Rowberry saw his conversion kick drift wide to set up the thrilling finale.
Wimborne were now restored to full strength and, with Tarbard, Samways and Unwin brought on as replacements, they managed to hold on and record a memorable victory, much to the relief of their many travelling supporters.