By Adam Hookway
Tonbridge Juddians got their top-four hopes back on track with a 19-12 National League 2 East win over Wimbledon.
TJs needed only seven minutes to break the deadlock. They forced the visitors back from a catch-and-drive at a lineout and Will Holling touched down, Sam Evans converting.
Wimbledon had a chance to reduce the arrears but their fly-half missed a 10th-minute penalty and both sides struggled to make inroads until the half-hour mark, when Judds’ Howard Packman found room down the left and as Wimbledon hurtled to cover a well-timed inside pass to full-back Alex Browne thwarted them and he dotted down under the sticks. Evans converted for 14-0.
The hosts didn’t need long to add to their tally after the interval. Several phases went left and then right before the ball was spun wide left to find Jack Nay on the wing. Too strong for his would-be defender, Nay crashed over in the tackle.
As the third quarter ebbed and flowed territory-wise Wimbledon grabbed two tries, one converted, to put TJs on edge at 19-12. It could have been worse but for a miraculous save by Browne after the Wimbledon fly-half had dummied through and tried to chip instead of dummying. Browne caught the ball, thwarting a certain try.
With the away side a converted score away from levelling matters the last 20 minutes saw some nervy moments for TJs, but they hung on to win - their first victory since late September.
Tonbridge, in seventh, visit 13th-placed Worthing on Saturday.