Chiswick Miss Out In Riverside Thriller

Rugby result: Chiswick 30 Hammersmith 36

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An easy win for each of these teams last week suggested an interesting match – and it was a cracker. The visitors applied immense pressure early on, keeping Chiswick on the back foot after winning a scrum from the initial Chiswick kick-off take. Five minutes in, and with Chiswick having never left their own half, the Hammersmith No. 8 broke from the back of a scrum and found Ali Lines, the ex-Chiswick, now Hammersmith scrum-half in space. The Chiswick winger, playing out of position after a number of cry-offs, held off for a second, and Lines was through for the opening try, well-converted.

A stung home team responded immediately, and after centre Romano Brooks had been brought down, the ball was quickly back to Keith Luckman, who slipped a great pass to Simon Hallett, on a diagonal run which took him clean through the Hammersmith defence.

Luckman’s kick came back off the near upright, his first miss of the season. Six minutes gone. Nine minutes later, Luckman made no mistake with a penalty kick, and Chiswick were in front.

An offside ruling gave Hammersmith a chance to set up a maul near the home line, leading, after several minutes, to a yellow-carding for a home front row man. Marco Chraplewczyk arrived to fill the gap, and Chiswick did well to survive the onslaught which followed. Another careless offside gifted Hammersmith the lead again, however, as Chiswick seemed determined to run the ball out of defence.

Hammersmith came within a whisker of another try, following a neat flip-on pass to the winger, but great Chiswick defence just kept two players out, and the third attempt was knocked on. The visitors went further ahead with another, simple, penalty kick but Chiswick came back with a well-supported run by Adie Lewis, putting the home team well into the Hammersmith 22. Props Stuart Parmeter and Shane Donaldson, the latter on his 250th appearance for Chiswick, both made thrusts for the line, and with Ben Kelly and Chris Morris both putting in great work for the back row, against a heavier Hammersmith pack, Chiswick kept the pressure up until half-time.

With Tom Duffy on for an injured Brooks, Chiswick started the second half brightly, but Duffy missed a long penalty kick. It was Lewis who had the home crowd screaming, with a blistering run followed by the neatest of kicks over the defender, which he caught himself. Kelly was in support, but could not quite reach the line – Neil Gill, on his shoulder, could, and did. Luckman failed with an easy kick but the scores were level again. Not for long. With two home players temporarily out of action on the ground Hammersmith had players over, but Lines was caught in possession, and the visitors eventually settled for three points, with a successful kick from right in front.

Parmeter did well to stretch up and take an attempted chip which might well have led to another Hammersmith score. Lewis, thwarted by weight of numbers on the right wing, laid the ball back well, and quick passing to the left gave Hallett the opportunity to run at, and through the defence. Luckman converted. Chiswick led for around one minute, before a simple move along the line, and some poor tackling, led to a Hammersmith centre streaking into the corner. The kick was a beauty. A penalty for holding on led to a Hammersmith lineout, and a clever pass released their No.8 to hare past a tired-looking defence. The kick failed.

John Joyce and Sam Hood were doing well at the lineouts, but Hammersmith were preventing quick ball from the Chiswick scrums and the backs’ movements were therefore a bit untidy. The home pressure eventually forced another penalty, however, and Duffy slotted this one. Hammersmith came back strongly, and gained another three points after a home defender got isolated by a long kick. The game was getting ever more open, and the best move was to come. It started with brilliant work by Lewis, who wrong-footed two defenders as he took a hopeful Hammersmith chip, then caught his own chip before finding Ben Cheston speeding along on the outside. Luckman converted, and one point separated the teams.

The final score came after scrum pressure on the home back led to a loose ball squirting out, snaffled by Lines. With Hammersmith camped on the Chiswick line, a short side move saw the Hammersmith No.12 produce a good pass off the ground as he was pulled down, for a supporting player to score. The kick failed, but Hammersmith ran the clock down after catching the kick-off, and Chiswick were deprived of a grandstand finish.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Chraplewczyk ), Tucker, Parmeter, Hood, Joyce, Morris ( Adams ), Kelly, Cooper, Gill, Luckman, Halliwell, Hallett, Brooks ( Duffy ), Lewis, Cheston

September 21, 2010