With nine changes to last week’s impressive Wimbledon squad this was always going to be a hard ask, against a well-organised, beefy Beckenham team set on claiming their first win of the season. And so it proved.
While there was no lack of commitment from most of the team (and certainly not from the indefatigable Julian Callanan and Jason Anquetil), there was a total lack of teamwork and cohesion.
As Wimbledon’s errors proliferated so Beckenham’s confidence grew; they became quicker to the breakdown and more aggressive ball in hand and in the rucks, securing probably more turnovers than Dons conceded the whole of last season.
Although Wimbledon opened the scoring with a penalty by Mike Simmons they failed to take advantage of the stream of penalties awarded to them and within 15 minutes the game had moved to and stayed in their half.
A most unusual breech of Don’s defence in the centre gave Beckenham’s no.10, Forest, a soft try and soon after, another dreadful lapse let wingman Benham in for a second.
Wimbledon were lucky only to concede a further three points before half time.
Once Anquetil had been yellow-carded three minutes after the re-start and a penalty from Narby had put Beckenham 16-3 ahead, Wimbledon heads dropped and they looked a beaten side. A try from Beckenham’s no.8 Curry confirmed that they were.
The one bright spot in an otherwise abject performance was that Dons were able to rouse themselves for the final ten minutes and string a few moves together, leading to a try in the corner for Anquetil.
Another looked on the cards but, as always happens when one team is playing much the better rugby, the luck of the bounce went with Beckenham and Wimbledon lost possession once again.
They’ll have to secure a lot more at home next week against Gravesend – and use it rather more effectively.