Hallett on song for strangely impotent Wimbledon in win over Hove
It was not a vintage display, but a 33-15 win over Hove in London Division One South keeps Wimbledon fourth in the table.
A glut of late changes was largely to blame for the holes in Dons’ defence and for the unusually impotent attack – and it was fortunate that a sufficient number of players displayed the individual flair they all possess for the team to record the win.
Number 10 Neil Hallett was one of them, distributing well and converting three out of three tries and all four penalty kicks to keep Dons ahead at critical points in the game.
And the three try scorers all took their chances well: wing Leon Driscoll got the first after just eight minutes, powering down the line and diving over in the corner.
The two flowing backs moves which led to it gave false promise that more of the same was to come, but Hallett’s excellent touchline conversion set his standard for the day.
Wing Tommy Moore, who was aggressive in defence and prop Joey Nanai, who carried well in the loose, were two of the others who gave strong individual performances.
A spectacular solo try from centre Kua Palakua just before half time put an end to Hove’s best period of play, during which they took control in the loose and sliced through Don’s defence for wing Marshall to score and number 10 Whiting to convert.
Hallett’s conversion of Palakua’s try, which began with a break on halfway before two outrageous dummies put him clear to score beneath the posts, brought the half-time score to 20-7.
Twenty minutes into the second half, after a penalty goal apiece, Hove’s Silcott manufactured a good try while Dons looked half asleep, to narrow the gap to 23-15, before Hallett extended the lead again by a further three points.
Don’s third try came from Pete Wallace, who showed his strength as a prop and speed as a former wing to burst through Hove’s forwards and score in the centre. Hallett’s conversion was a formality.
There was no time left for Wimbledon to score a bonus point try, but plenty of time afterwards to reflect on the areas that will need improving before travelling away to eighth-placed Havant next weekend.