Warlingham coach praises team determination in the face of unbeaten foe

Wimbledon Guardian: Outstanding: Second row Ollie Dodwell charges forward in the Warlingham cause Outstanding: Second row Ollie Dodwell charges forward in the Warlingham cause

By Peter Upton

Warlingham provided the shock of the weekend in London Division Two South East by beating the early pace-setters Lewes at Hamsey Green.

Lewes came into the game boasting a 100 per cent record, while Warlingham were enduring a stuttering start to their campaign.

However, it was Warlingham who ran out 30-12 winners, leaving coach and flanker Tom Street a happy man, saying: "After our poor performance last week we were determined to raise our game knowing Lewes would be a tough proposition. 

"The forwards played their hearts out and showed what we can do when we put some phases together."
 

Warlingham came out of the traps with renewed determination and vigour, and the rampant pack took immediate control with captain Zack King, hooker James Delderfield and number eight Mike Fair making severe dents in the Lewes defence forcing regular infringements.

Centre Mark Kozminski slotted two penalties but Lewes struck back with a solo converted try from their full back to put them a point to the good. 

With their tails up, Lewes came again but a try-saving tackle from full back Joe McEvoy and a held-up ball over the Warlingham try line saved the home side from leaking further points. 

Then centre Ben Wimble carved a hole through the midfield and flanker  Street took the move forward and deftly chip-kicked ahead deep into Lewes territory.

Neil Robson galloped forward, took the ball and looked to be a try-scorer. However, he was brought down and his desperate pass went astray. 

On the half hour, Warlingham were camped on the Lewes line and, after several five metre scrums the referee awarded another penalty - Kozminski duly obliged. 

Scrum half Stephen Murtagh made a brace of breaks to keep the Lewes loose forwards honest and Warlingham were awarded further penalties which went just wide.

After the break teenage prop Kieran Scutt and the lanky lock Ollie Dodwell came into their own and, time and again Lewes were forced to infringe.

Kozminski punished them with a fine drop goal and another penalty to put some clear water between the scores.

With the Lewes forwards tiring, fly half Oli Doe was able to marshall his back line with more purpose and, after several swiftly recycled phases of play, Wimble made it across the line for Warlingham's first try. 

The applause from the home spectators had hardly abated when Lewes struck back with a try of their own and looked rejuvenated. 

Dodwell had other ideas and when he put in a bone crunching tackle on the Lewes half back, Warlingham were all over the loose ball and forced yet another penalty. 

Doe took the three points and Warlingham resumed the driving seat. 

Prop Alex Nunn and replacement hooker Dan Street took up the cause and were prominent when Warlingham's pack pressure-cooked their opponents.

The visitors defended stoutly but Street ripped the ball out of a ruck and charged over the line for a try. Doe added the conversion and the result was sealed. 

Warlingham host Sutton & Epsom tomorrow (Saturday) at their Hamsey Green home in the first round of the RFU Intermediate Cup.
 

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