Tabard Wins Exciting Game Despite Chiswick's Effort

Rugby result: Chiswick 11 Tabard 17

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Tabard won this exciting game, in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, despite the huge efforts of the home team, whose pack shaded the forward battle.

Chiswick started well, a Tom Duffy superkick putting them well into the opponents half, and after a number of phases of possession a clever cross kick by Keith Luckman landed in Marc Jones’ arms in the Tabard 22. Unfortunately in endeavouring to shake off the arms already round him, Jones lost the ball forward.

The first scrum was exciting for the home supporters, as Tabard were sliding back under the pressure. Their No.8 did well to get the ball out, and indeed had a good game. Marcus Rowley flattened his man, but a second too late – the Tabard’s fly half kicks are exceptionally high and long balls.

On occasions, he runs, and the first such break was devastating, the inside centre breaking the first tackle and out-sprinting the opposition. He was caught near the home 22. The attack continued with the outside centre and the wing, but Jones collared the latter, and the move petered out near the home line.

Ten minutes in, Tabard had their first penalty kick within range, and their fly half made no mistake – first blood to the leaders. The visitors kept up the pressure, but Affy Okeshola suddenly made his massive presence felt with a surge up from the home 22 to the ten metre line, with Tabard players bouncing off him. Quick mis-passing got the ball out on the open side, only for the final pass to go behind Simon Hallett – not the last time this happened during the match. Another Chiswick surge, with Okeshola and Al Pickering prominent, took the ball to five metres from the Tabard line, only for Tabard to win the scrum, “going forward”. Marc Jones ran back a high clearance, and it was a despairing flick at his ankles that prevented a probable try.
Chiswick, mainly through Sam Hood, did well on their own lineouts, but failed to disrupt the frequent throw to the middle by Tabard, whose jumper was quite short.

The home mauls were very competent, but sometimes appeared to be pulled down illegally. The ref then invoked home crowd wrath when failing to spot a knock-on by the Tabard defender from a Luckman kick, after Al Pickering had come charging into the back line. A neat chip by the Tabard fly half into space was well dealt with by Tom Adams, but then a well-conceived long kick by Luckman for Jones to chase just faded into touch. After a really quick heel, Duffy did well to pick up Dave Thornton’s pass from his toes, and get a huge left foot clearance into touch. Chiswick were doing well in the loose, but impetuous hands in the ruck gave Tabard the chance to move into the home 22, and set up a maul. Chiswick managed to cope, just, but failed to attack the maul from the next lineout, and Tabard appeared to get over the line. Not so, said the ref, giving Tabard another scrum, and yellow-carding a Chiswick forward. Accidental offside saved Chiswick, after they had done better in attacking the next maul.

Tabard had really stepped up the pressure, and nearly paid the price when Jones came very close to intercepting a rapid passing movement in the home 22. Chiswick seemed to have survived the fourteen man period, only to be undone by a neat chip through by their inside centre, retrieved by their outside centre, who played a one-two before scoring. The kick succeeded, and Chiswick were then restored to a full team.

Chiswick blasted off in the second half, and Okeshola gave Matt Pickering a half chance from fifteen metres, but he was collared by the last defender. Tabard defended well as Chiswick camped near their line, but the pressure paid, and Chiswick got a penalty. Duffy’s kick was pulled just left. Luckman made a scintillating break down the middle, but Tabard blocked off the support. Rowley and Al Pickering joined the home back line to good effect, but still the Tabard defence stood firm. Chiswick then gave away a penalty just in their half, but the kick was just wide – so he was human after all.

Al Pickering got a blow to the head and had to leave the field, but the ref had awarded a penalty, and Luckman slotted the kick, Duffy having been substituted. The sub lasted only a couple of minutes before being hamstrung, and suddenly Chiswick had five front row forwards on the field, all in the pack ! This seemed to work OK, and with Chiswick cranking up again, a rare mistake by the Tabard backs forced them to give away a penalty, which Luckman converted. It was a Luckman cross kick, however, which bounced seemingly badly for the defence which led to the killer try. A missed tackle, and Tabard decided to run the ball from their half. Their full back showed a clean pair of heels to the home pack, and then slowed when confronted by Ben Cheston, to allow the support to reach him before swerving in from the left wing. He then spread the ball wide towards the right corner, where a supporting player got in for an excellent try, which was converted.

Chiswick, initially shattered, then came back determinedly, and a Tabard player was yellow-carded. Luckman then eschewed a couple of easy kicks and went for the lineout and then a scrum. The last five minutes was all Chiswick, who had many chances before Cheston streaked over from a short pass for an unconverted try.

Chiswick team :- Davies, Parmeter, Okeshola, Hood, Pickering M, Adams, Rowley, Pickering A ( Donaldson ), Thornton, Luckman, Hallett, Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Duffy ( Sullivan, Joubert )

February 23, 2010