Priorians Romp Home From Chiswick

Rugby result: Chiswick 16 Old Priorians 18

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Three leagues below, but oozing confidence, Old Priorians deservedly won a cracking Middlesex Bowl semi-final match against a Chiswick team which performed sporadically throughout.

A forced reshuffle brought Adie Lewis back at full back for Chiswick, with Chris Halliwell on the left wing, and as normal recently, the home back division looked a bit disorganised.

There was little in it early on, with Priorians out of the blocks first, and playing very tidy rugby. Typically, in this period, both Halliwell and Ben Cheston had a surfeit of attackers to deal with, but both coped competently.

The first Chiswick chance went begging, when they lost their own lineout, from a penalty kick, in the opposition 22, but when they gained another penalty, a little closer in, Keith Luckman took the three points on offer. Priorians scrum was efficient, the ball shooting through and giving their No.8 room to break nearly every time.

Their left wing skinned the Chiswick defence with a lightning break, only to hurt his knee in the tackle and be forced to retire. A Priorians kick went just under the bar, as Chiswick were forced to concede a penalty, the visitors moving the ball at speed around the pitch. Lewis made some important tackles, and the home forwards worked hard, but it was all defence for the home team.

Half an hour in, and Chiswick were still under the cosh. An attempt at a dropped goal by Priorians hit the post and came back, but a penalty had been awarded, and the kick was slotted to level the score. Suddenly Chiswick were galvanised, and produced sixty seconds of vintage rugby, starting with a good lineout, Jan Joubert to Sam Hood to Stuart Parmeter, along the line to Halliwell, and a charge down the line. Five metres out, and Chiswick got another lineout, also efficient. This time it was Joubert to Rowan Tonkin at the front, a maul and a crash over the line – try to Joubert, and Chiswick were in front. Luckman’s kick was not quite good enough. Chiswick had another chance just before half time, but again they lost their own lineout on the opposition’s five-metre line. Unlucky Tom Adams had to go off, to be replaced by Chris Morris.

Priorians again started strongly after the break, and Chiswick were unfortunate to lose Marc Jones early on with a knee injury, Simon Slattery coming on, changing places with Halliwell. The opposition pressure eventually paid off with a try in the right corner after a sustained handling move. The kick failed but Priorians kept throwing the ball around with gay abandon. With James Oliver on for an injured Morris, the home scrum started giving the opposition scrum a going over, but any advantage was immediately wasted when Parmeter committed an offence under the gaze of the referee, and was yellow-carded.

Lewis did a high downfield kick, and got up to tackle the catcher, who then dropped the ball. Chiswick retrieved it, and an exquisite kick by Luckman towards the right corner set up a chase. Halliwell, who had an impressive match, barged the opposition off the ball, and gave a scoring pass to his captain, John Gibson. The kick failed. Slattery was given a run, but with three Priorians on him, he did well to find a good touch up-field. Lewis’s attempted dropped goal from the right touchline hit the bar, but anyway the whistle had gone.

Priorians missed a fairly easy penalty kick, and it looked as though fourteen man Chiswick might survive the ten minutes. It was not to be. A poor kick gave the Priorians defender room to skip around Gibson’s tackle, and with a tidy line outside against a strangely static home back line, their wing sped through a large gap in the centre to score. The all-important kick put Priorians ahead.

Chiswick sprung back with a full fifteen, and Luckman slotted a penalty to restore the home lead. Nothing daunted, Priorians defended stoutly, although Cheston thought he had scored until a referee’s recall ruined his effort. With injury time approaching, Priorians stepped up the pressure again, and after John Feltham had done brilliantly to charge down an on-target dropped goal effort, the referee awarded the visitors a penalty for offside, which their kicker coolly converted.

The atmosphere was electric as Chiswick restarted with desperation. The kick was well taken, but Chiswick gained a scrum in the Priorians 22. After an abortive attempt by Gibson to run through the visitors’ pack, Hood correctly spun the ball wide, and Halliwell and Slattery were man for man on the defence. Halliwell decide to trust the big man outside him in a one on one, and Slattery got over in the corner.

No flag from the line judge, but after a consultation between him and the referee, the final pass was adjudged forward, and the final whistle went with wild whoops from the massed Priorians supporters.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Parmeter, Pickford, Tonkin, Adams ( Morris ) ( Oliver ), Robbings, Hood, Feltham, Luckman, Halliwell, Gibson, Cheston, Jones ( Slattery ), Lewis (Sutherland)

April 20, 2010