One To Forget For Chiswick
Rugby result: St Albans 12 Chiswick 14
The final whistle arrived with fourteen man Chiswick hanging on grimly, but it should never have been like that.
The first turnover of the match went to Chiswick, who started brightly, but when they achieved a penalty well within kicking range, Tom Duffy pulled it just wide.
A good break by the Saints left wing was followed by Chiswick hands in the ruck and a kick well into the Chiswick 22. Two home five metre scrums followed, and Chiswick forwards did excellently to turn over possession from the second. Scrum half Dave Thornton then cleared the ball, but the Saints produced a great move down the touch line from the lineout, and Lewis just stopped his man short of the line. Chiswick spun the ball along the line from the lineout, but poorly, and Duffy did well to get his foot to the ball and belt it upfield. He then raced after it and recovered it, and eventually left wing Simon Hallett, finding himself in an overlap situation, drew the defender and put Duffy in for a superb breakaway try, which Duffy then converted. Ten minutes in.
Chiswick rarely make mistakes on the restart now, and Al Pickering and Affy Okeshola made a very solid combination nursing the kickoff ball. The Saints tactics were beginning to show, with their inside centre kicking long, and John Gibson, the Chiswick captain and inside centre being targeted. Both tactics misfired sometimes. Some fairly aimless stuff ended with Stuart Parmeter’s surge and kick down the left touch line – he does like being in the threes. Chiswick suddenly opened up from defence, a huge pass from Keith Luckman putting Adie Lewis away. Lewis kicked well down the line, and Ben Cheston, reaching the ball first tried a delicate chip kick over a defender and back out to Lewis. It lacked maybe a couple of ounces, and the defender just managed to divert it – good attempt. Chiswick moved the ball on the open side from the resultant scrum, Cheston burst down the middle and Duffy came into the line. His pass to Hallett was just behind the wing, but Hallett recovered it brilliantly, and, still off balance, found lock Sam Hood cruising up inside to take the pass and go over the line. Duffy slotted the conversion confidently, and it all looked simple at twenty five minutes in.
Al Pickering not only dealt with the kickoff, but also with the next Saints surge, producing a splendid long left foot kick to touch. The Saints controlled their own lineouts well, despite good Chiswick efforts to compete, but lacked ideas outside. Chiswick managed to nick the ball from a Saints maul, and then Rory Fletcher did well to make a clean take of a return kick by the home full back from a Lewis kick. The fashionable kicking game is a little boring, especially when wayward, and Chiswick, with a talented back division, should perhaps have done a little less of it against this team. It was a neat chip by the home scrum half, however, that undid the Chiswick defence. The ball was heading for the corner flag with two defenders and one attacker after it, when the attacker appeared to fail to control it before being illegally held. Penalty try, signalled the ref, and that made it 14-7.
Duffy made a good swerving run but then passed straight to the home flanker, and Chiswick were then caught offside. The Saints put the Chiswick defence under great pressure just before half time, but a long move ended when Chiswick, having done well to hold a five metre scrum with the home crowd baying support, somehow recovered the ball from near the posts and cleared it well upfield.
The first clear chance in the second half was Chiswick’s. Gibson tried to find his way through the home pack, and then Parmeter succeeded , getting near the line before giving what should have been a scoring pass to Al Pickering. Unbelievably, he knocked on. Hallett, unbelievably, knocked on in the next move. The ref seemed to think he has to help Chiswick at this stage, so yellow carded one of the Saints’ pack. This didn’t work, as Duffy, unbelievably, sliced the penalty kick away from touch and over the dead ball line ( seventeen metres behind the goal-line ). This was catching, and the Saints, with a glimpse of daylight down the touch line, knocked on as well. There were several distracting scuffles well away from play which the ref failed to spot, as well as a blatant taking out of Gibson when nowhere near the ball.
Duffy just missed with another penalty kick, and then, after an aerial ping-pong battle, Duffy had a kick charged down, and Chiswick did well to reclaim the ball from a horde of attacking Saints. Chiswick’s mauling was improving by the minute, and becoming quite a weapon. Chiswick thought they had scored, through Hallett, after a simple move along the line, but the ref had seen a forward pass. An incensed Chiswick pack took the resultant scrum against the head, but then knocked the ball on. As the Chiswick forwards improved, however, the backs became indecisive. Tom Adams nicked a loose ball from the home scrum and put Al Pickering away. Drawing the only defender beautifully, Pickering then forgot to check where Hallett was, and put the ball into touch instead of the wing’s hungry hands.
With the clock running down, the Saints efforts intensified, and they camped in the left corner of the Chiswick 22. Parmeter was yellow carded, and Chiswick, unbelievably, had their backs to the wall. Saints gained a five metre lineout, and managed to maul over the line, with their impressive No.8 the scorer. Five minutes to go. The kick, a good one, was only just wide. The final lineout for Saints, and they set up a maul. Shane McDonald ( back on to complete the front row ) gets his builders’ hands on the ball and wrestles it from the home player. He lays it back, and the ref whistles for a home penalty!
Justice was done when the kick fell short and the whistle went. Tabard, the League leaders, are at Chiswick next week – should be interesting.
Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Davies ), Parmeter, Okeshola, Hood, Pickering M ( Tonkin ), Adams, Fletcher, Pickering A, Thornton ( Sullivan ), Luckman, Hallett, Gibson, Cheston, Lewis, Duffy
February 15, 2010