Good Performance By A Rejuvenated Chiswick

Rugby result : Chiswick 40 Welwyn 24

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Riverside Lands, Dukes Meadows, Chiswick, London W4 2SH

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The pitch at Riverside must take some credit for this result, for with firm ground under foot, Chiswick were a rejuvenated team compared with the sorry bunch who played at Hemel. With the backs reverting to an earlier formation, with Keith Luckman back at fly half, Simon Hallett at inside centre, John Gibson at outside centre, and Ben Cheston at full back, there was a more relaxed and composed look about the team. Bringing in Matt Addison at prop also worked well, but the greatest difference from last week was caused by the return at hooker of Glen Tucker, who seemed to be trying to get two matches worth out of one.

Chiswick, with a following wind, attacked from the kick-off, with Luckman feeding Jan Joubert, Ben Kelly and Graham Robbings with short passes, and then getting long passes out to Adie Lewis and Ben Cheston. When Cheston lost the ball, a poor defensive kick drifted back and was knocked on.

The Chiswick pack then pushed the larger Welwyn pack back, a quick heel led to an open side move, with Tom Duffy on the wing slipping the ball back inside for Cheston to breeze over for try number one. Duffy converted, and then it was Tucker who made a text book catch from the kick off. A short spell of Welwyn pack pressure followed, but opening out was a mistake, as Duffy read the move and intercepted well. He did not quite have the legs to reach the line before the speedy Welwyn winger caught him, but it was the ubiquitous Tucker who was up first in support, and regained the ball. Another quick move along the line, and Adie Lewis went hard for the corner before stepping neatly inside to glide over the line. The kick failed, but after eight minutes Chiswick were in double figures.

Welwyn were already, sensibly, resorting to the maul and narrow side moves and it was a sustained maul which led to their first try. They appeared to be being driven back when their scrum half suddenly emerged from the pack and shot over the line. The conversion attempt only rose about two feet, to the kicker’s embarrassment. Luca Vannini got in a good long relieving kick after another period of Welwyn pressure, and the visitors gave away a penalty to prevent a Chiswick breakaway. Duffy’s magnificent kick went into touch a couple of metres from the Welwyn line. Matt Pickering got the ball back, and after a seeming sequence of errors by both teams, Gibson chased a loose ball over the line, and a try was awarded. Duffy duly converted, and Tucker duly dealt with the restart kick – what an easy game it is.

With home confidence high, Luckman made a break in midfield, failed to find Hallett, but the ball reached Lewis. Another try looked odds-on, but a Welwyn defender intercepted Lewis’s pass in front of the posts. A great throw by Tucker ( given the wind ) found Jon Joyce at the back of the line to start another series of home moves. The support was good, and when Luckman was caught in mid-break, he was pushed forward by willing hands ( what a contrast to earlier games!). Lewis was supported by Kelly for the next break, and the ball was worked along the line to Joyce, who went outside the cover, over the line, and then half way back towards the posts, allowing Duffy an easy conversion.

This time it was Hansie Bezuidenhout who showed he too knew exactly what to do with an overlong restart kick. Lewis found himself confronting four defenders, so kicked hopefully over their heads, allowing Welwyn to cods things up again. Bez, Robbings and Tucker all just failed to reach the line from the scrum, so it was reluctantly passed to Cheston to add to his tally. Duffy added the points. The first Chiswick mistake followed, with the anonymous catcher getting caught himself, and possession nearly being lost in front of the posts. A little luck, and Chiswick cleared well. There was just time for one more try before half time. Sustained home pressure worked again, although it required a great effort by the supporting Addison to recover a fairly wild chuck back by Lewis before the ball was spread wide to Hallett, who demonstrated the inside step, and then did it again to rub it in. Duffy added the points to make it forty.

The second half was a non-event for Chiswick, Welwyn scoring nineteen hard-worked points ( three tries and two conversions ) by keeping the ball in the home half, and using their pack, and particularly their No.8 well. Chiswick tired a little, but kept tackling with determination. A couple of half chances to break were spoilt by handling errors, but the overall performance was good.

Chiswick team :- Addison, Tucker, Joubert ( Parmeter ), Joyce, Pickering ( Tonkin ), Robbings, Kelly, Bezuidenhout, Vannini ( Lowe ), Luckman, Duffy, Hallett, Gibson, Lewis, Cheston

January 24, 2011