Wimbledon's 36-29 defeat by Sidcup in London Division One South was not so much a game of two halves as one of three parts.
Part one: the opening 15 minutes belonged to Wimbledon, with the forwards winning plenty of ruck ball (although creaking a bit in the set scrum), Rob Tait in charge of the lineout, and the backs looking sharp and dangerous.
The pressure on Sidcup showed after just five minutes when Dons’ number eight Karl Roche pounced on an error at a 5m lineout to score out wide - Neil Hallett kicked an excellent conversion in the gusty wind.
Part two: it began with a simple try from Sidcup’s lively scrum half, Ibrahim, jinking through from a 5m scrum.
Wimbledon then seemed to switch off and the game stayed almost entirely in their half until the final quarter.
During that time Sidcup’s pack began to take charge, then totally dominate Wimbledon’s, denying the home team all but scraps of possession, which they all too frequently meekly gave away.
Sidcup wing Dean capitalised on the first glaring error from Dons with a 70m run to score in the corner after gratefully accepting a pass from a Wimbledon centre. Sidcup’s Jim Hardy converted.
Increasingly scrappy Dons play and some aimless kicks gave Sidcup the chance to add a further try by Ibrahim just before half time and Hardy’s conversion made the score 7-19.
Within minutes of the restart that increased to 7-26 when Lowe gathered a loose ball to touch down for Sidcup’s fourth try, again converted.
It got worse for Wimbledon five minutes later when a great run from flanker Chris Lewis was halted a metre out, play quickly moved the length of the field and centre Thomson scored number five for Sidcup. The conversion made it 7-33.
Part three: it comprised the last quarter of the match, when Wimbledon suddenly came to life again.
The forwards, though outgunned in the scrum pounced on anything loose, half-backs Rhys Morgan and Bryan Croke, showed again what a good combination they make and the backs began to enjoy themselves once more, creating four excellent tries, very well finished by Jonny Rawlinson, Tommy Moore, Neil Hallett and lock Gary Crowe in quick succession, Hallett converting two of them.
Sidcup’s only score in the period was a single penalty. With a few more minutes, Dons might just have sneaked a surprise win, but as it was, they came away with just the two bonus points.
This weekend, Wimbledon are away to Staines.