Spring Romp Provides Splendid Entertainment
Rugby result: Imperial Medicals 45 Chiswick 34
A spring romp, with intended interceptions out-numbering solid tackles, provided splendid entertainment with some dazzling moves by each side. With the score at 40-5, shortly after the interval, the makeshift Chiswick team began to sort themselves out, and they got within six points of the home team just before the end, only to concede a final try in the dying moments.
The Medics started really brightly, with a lot of narrow side movements, and when they got within sniffing distance of the Chiswick line they produced a super-efficient pushover try. The Chiswick pack, re-organised after losing Stephan Davies to a hamstring injury in the warm-up, had scrummaging problems early on, and what with losing their own lineouts and making no impact on the home ones, the early omens were bad for the visitors.
Luckily, the Medics’ kicking provided some ball to the talented Chiswick backs, where the movement of Simon Hallett to outside centre, and Ben Cheston to full back, looked promising. Unfortunately, Marc Jones, back from illness, had one of those days where the ball wouldn’t stick as he made bursts through the tackles, and when it did, he managed to find the opposition with his pass.
Medics kept up the pressure, and with each successive handler making a few yards, their fly half soon scored a try near the posts, which he converted. Fifteen minutes gone, and Medics pressure was almost continuous, with interspersed occasional Chiswick counter-attacks. It was a dispossession by Jones that started the best of these, with Stuart Parmeter taking the ball on, and probing the home defence. Keith Luckman got the ball, and found Tom Duffy on the wide outside. Up to the halfway line, and Duffy gets it inside to John Gibson. Luckman gets the ball back and sets Hallett free down the middle. He swerves left and finds Duffy wide again. Duffy pins his ears back and makes it to the corner for a special try, but then misses the conversion.
Almost immediately Medics countered with a sizzling run from their right wing, as the Chiswick defence got over-stretched, and with a good kick the lead increased by seven points. A minute later and another seven points arrived, when a last ditch tackle stopped a home player on the line, only for him to manage an inside pass for a score under the posts. With the introduction of late arrival Rowan Tonkin into the pack, the Chiswick scrummaging slowly improved, but the visitors were unlucky when the referee blew up a second too early too end an advantage when an interesting attack was just developing. Unfortunately, the resulting Chiswick lineout was taken by the Medics. The referee managed to spot a couple of forward passes by the home team, luckily for Chiswick, who were still under the sword, but the Medics still managed another converted try before half time.
Another long phase of possession produced another try under the posts for the home team at the start of the second half, the conversion being drop-kicked. At the next Chiswick penalty, Gibson decided to tap and run, and although there was no immediate dividend, the tactic was obviously right. The next tap, by Neil Gillie, made ten metres before Gibson found a gap in the middle to surge through. Cheston took it on, and found Duffy outside him to sprint to the corner. The kick was one of a panting Duffy’s worst.
This try heralded a spirited Chiswick recovery. Gibson forced a big hole in the home defence, but the ball was eventually dropped. Another tapped penalty, and James Oliver crashed through to the five metre line. New boy Constantinos Constantinides got close, and Shane Donaldson carried on the move, before Cheston made a swerving run to the line. The kick was closer this time. Another new boy, Scott Pickering, then joined the party, but Jones lost the ball in the final tackle. The home No.8 was a thorn in the Chiswick side throughout the match, taking several tacklers each time, and still recycling the ball, but Chiswick’s confidence could not be knocked, and they soon produced another scintillating try. Cheston and Duffy were combining brilliantly, and Duffy kept stepping through tackles as if they were a minor inconvenience. Tom Adams, Luckman, Parmeter, and Gibson linked to put Luckman in for another try.
Tonkin took a hand, or rather a foot, with a great kick for the right corner, which nearly led to another score. Gibson demonstrated superbly how to tackle as the Medics tried to come back, and then Oliver showed how forwards did it. With a bit more space opening up, Chiswick came into their element, and Hallett and Pickering combined to put Cheston away again. This time Jones was the recipient of the final pass, and the kick was converted. Seconds later, Sam Hood collected the kick-off, and Hallett set Cheston off from the Chiswick 22. He wove a magic path clean through the field before sending Duffy in for a try under the posts, to the sound of frantic swearing by the home team. Hallett drop-kicked the conversion, and Chiswick were within sight of a famous victory.
It was not to be. Attack was followed by counter-attack as both teams threw caution to the winds. It was the Medics, however, who found another hole in the Chiswick defence and scored in the corner after a good rolling maul.
March 30, 2010