Past One, Two To Catch For Chiswick
Rugby result: U.C.S Old Boys 16 Chiswick 25
The battle for second place behind champions Tabard couldn’t be tighter. The play-off place is up for grabs between Imperial Medics, with the best points record and the easiest programme, Hammersmith and Fulham, who have to play Tabard at home, and Chiswick, who have the Medics away.
Matches between UCS and Chiswick are always close, and usually exciting. This one was far too close to call.
A glorious day and a good surface encouraged open rugby, with the home locks and back row, and their full back, particularly prominent early on. Good scrummaging and lineout work kept Chiswick well in the match, however, and the yardage came from Keith Luckman’s kicks and Jan Joubert, John Gibson, Marc Jones and Simon Hallett in particular in the loose. It was thirteen minutes before the first score, which looked far too simple. Chiswick pushed well at a home scrum in their 22, and collared the home scrum half, but when the ball was recycled, a blind-side move found an unmarked player on the touch-line, and he touched down in the corner for an unconverted try.
Chiswick attacked strongly from the kick-off, but a good move foundered on a knock-on by a player with his eye off the ball. Hallett did well to be first to a ball in the Chiswick in-goal area. A third high tackle by UCS provoked a yellow card, but the home team redoubled their efforts and kept Chiswick, who became a little predictable in their moves, from taking advantage. Jones was frustrated by a much smaller opponent, who refused steadfastly to get out of his way, but suddenly Gibson found a way through only for his pass to Cheston to be knocked on as a mass of home players converged on the Chiswick centres. Lewis Hammond, on his return to the team, was coping well with a number of excellent high kicks by the home scrum half, and Graham Robbings put in a large number of good tackles to keep the pressure on UCS.
It was Al Pickering, firstly with a quick tapped penalty, and then with some marauding work on the home halves, who turned the game around five minutes before half time, a cock-up in the home defence leading to the ball bouncing off the foot of the home scrum half to Hallett, who zipped down the line before touching down in the corner as a thank you. Luckman’s kick failed.
The match became ding-dong, with two penalties for UCS followed by two for Chiswick. In this period of play Tom Adams’ charge down almost brought a try, but after Matt Pickering’s forced withdrawal, Sam Hood did well to continue supplying Dave Thornton with good balls from the lineouts as a sole jumper. Chiswick were denied a try by what appeared to be a deliberate knock into touch after good work by Hammond and Al Pickering led to a sprint down the line by Hallett. The introduction of Tom Duffy led to some spirited Chiswick handling movements, producing the two penalties which were slotted by the substitute to restore the Chiswick lead. The second was from wide out and went over via the near post – a collector’s item.
The final frantic minutes produced unsuccessful demands by the crowd for the referee to disclose the time left, but the situation appeared to galvanise the Chiswick team, and a series of exciting moves culminated in a subtle inside pass from Duffy putting the greyhound away. Finding his captain in support, as usual, Cheston did the right thing, and Gibson finished with a flourish under the posts. Duffy kicked, and the final whistle blew.
Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Chraplewczyk, Hood, Pickering M ( Tonkin ), Adams ( McDonald ), Robbings, Pickering A, Thornton, Luckman ( Duffy ), Hallett, Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Hammond