Shelford give promotion-chasers Wimbledon a scare
Visitors pose a stern test to second-placed side
Shelford gave second-placed Wimbledon a run for their money in National League Three, London & SE before losing 32-18.
Lewis Cracknell landed an early penalty to give the visitors the lead, but a Wimbledon centre went straight through for a converted try.
Good carries from Aki Lea, Paddy Reilly and Dave Hill led to Shelford being awarded a penalty, but Cracknell’s effort floated just wide.
Shelford were wielding the dominance at the scrum, but Wimbledon were able to increase their advantage to 10-3 at half time through a penalty.
But from the restart, they were almost immediately back on level terms.
Dave Hill claimed the kick and spread play right to Lea, who shrugged off numerous tacklers to offload to Warrick Anderson, and he carried the defender over the line for a try on his 100th appearance. Cracknell added the extras.
Shelford then went ahead when Tuli Paea was set free to beat the cover defence and race clear from 35 metres for a try.
Redmond Newberry was sin-binned for killing the ball, and Wimbledon levelled matters at 15-15 through a resulting try.
Cracknell landed a second penalty to put Shelford 18-15 ahead.
But the hosts, who are hot on the heels of leaders Tonbridge Juddians, put pressure on Shelford and from a maul from a line-out made it over the line to make it 20-18.
A poor chase from a clearing kick led to Wimbledon then spreading play to score in the corner for 25-18.
And the hosts completed the win as their fly-half ghosted through from halfway to score a converted try.