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Sports in Chiswick

Old Meadonians

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The race for the Amateur Football Combination Premiership is as keen as ever and is a tight two horse race featuring last year’s contenders, champions Old Meadonians in the lead and last season’s runners up Old Hamptonians, hot on their heels in second place.

The difference from last season is that it is Hamptonians who are the more satisfied since they are on Meads’ shoulder with enough games in hand to overtake. On Saturday, at Highgate, it was the turn of third placed Old Aloysians to tilt at the champions and almost topple them as Meads’ equaliser came deep in injury time.

Not for the first time this season Meads’ depleted defence, without keeper Kris Sayers and sweeper Dan Salanson creaked and was in danger of buckling under pressure. Having said that, they were unlucky not to be two up within fifteen minutes as striker Colin Hawkins’ lob was plucked out of the air by the keeper and then almost immediately, when put away by partner Leon Smith, he was thwarted by a last ditch tackle.

The hosts, buoyed up by these two let offs began to claw their way into the game and were rewarded on twenty minutes when lack of support saw one of Meads’ midfielders robbed for the ball to be put into the box whence Travis Glenn, deputising for Sayers was given no chance. Ten minutes from halftime it was two as Meads’ defence suffered a shunt to concede the second. Hard words during the interval brought an improvement in attitude but, although Meads camped in enemy territory and the hosts were limited to occasional forays, there was no concrete return.

With half an hour to go coach Paul Rumley pulled a masterly stroke with a double substitution and a daring reshuffle. He pushed giant midfielder Alex Hugh Jones up alongside strikers Hawkins and Leon Smith, brought on the fresh and adventurous legs of Pete Lovell in midfield and balanced this by inserting the pace of defender Laurie Pointer to cover any gaps that might be left.

Immediately Hugh Jones was unlucky with a raking header which was just over, but with fifteen minutes to go an exchange of passes between Smith and Hawkins thirty yards out left Smith free just inside the area and he was his usual accurate self. Five minutes later Smith played Hugh Jones in but his goal was ruled out as offside.

Meanwhile at the back Pointer had made two vital interceptions as Aloysians countered. The referee was looking at his watch centre back Alastair McCombe chested down a clearance forty yards out, side stepped one defender and from thirty- five yards dipped an unstoppable equaliser into the top of the net to save the day.

Team : Glenn, Jordan, (Pointer) Hanley, McCombe, D. Gerrish, W. Gerrish, Hugh Jones, Quinn, Rhone, (Lovell), Hawkins, Smith.

January 24, 2007