Chiswick Hang On
Rugby result : West London 19 Chiswick 23
With most of the possession in the dying minutes, West London will consider themselves unlucky not to have stolen this one, and they certainly look too good for relegation. This league is incredibly tight, however, with no obvious candidates for the drop, and even Chiswick, at present in third place, are not out of the danger zone.
Right from the start, the home team controlled the play, but Chiswick had the benefit of a gentle, but bitterly cold breeze behind them, and defended well, with Sam Hood and Jan Joubert making crucial tackles. Tom Duffy relieved the early pressure with a long kick, and then Jon Joyce nicked a home throw-in from in front of the West London jumper. With play in midfield a laborious home build-up irritated a chilly Adie Lewis, so he cruised into the home line, took the pass and got under the posts, with an exasperated defender on his heels. Duffy converted, and then Joyce made a good take of the restart kick. This was more like it, but a weaving run by the lightweight home scrum half nearly embarrassed the Chiswick backs, as they failed to get a grip on him.
Simon Hallett was in the thick of everything, but the gaps just would not open up for Chiswick, and when Keith Luckman got in a neat chip, it deflected off one defender to another one. Both Graham Robbings and Hansie Bezuidenhout got close to the home line, but when West London came away, their outside centre was proving difficult to tackle, as he did good steps inside. West London could not straighten the attacks, however, and would eventually lose the ball. At last a ball went loose behind a tackled home player, and found its way into Gabriel Lowe’s hands. He did a good switch with John Gibson on the narrow side, and got the ball out to Duffy on the left wing. Duffy put in a long kick down the line, with Lowe and a couple of home players in pursuit. Lowe shaded the race, dribbled over the line, and dropped on the ball in the corner for another opportunistic try. Duffy’s kick was not quite good enough, but Chiswick maintained the pressure, and Robbings got close again, before Duffy slotted a simplish penalty.
The referee was very keen to keep the play going, with a lot of penalties for not releasing the ball, but it was ostensibly handling the ball in the ruck that earned Bez a yellow card just before the interval. Chiswick survived until half-time, however, and indeed could have scored a couple more tries with better final passes, usually a Chiswick strength.
The second half was a different story, as the wind strengthened a little, and Robbings had to limp off with a foot problem. Under a lot of home pressure, fourteen-man Chiswick defended well until they were undone by a neat outside-of-the-foot chip towards the corner flag, with their winger going over. The kick failed, and Bez was allowed back on. A rare lineout loss was followed by a clearance kick ballooning back, and Chiswick put themselves under pressure. A couple of thrusts for the line, and a home forward got over close to the posts, allowing an easy conversion.
Chiswick got a couple of half chances, courtesy of some good tackling, and then Duffy picked up three points with a good kick. Bez did well to get the ball back from a wheeling scrum, and after a couple of phases, Hallett made a good break, carried on by Lewis. He had to check his run for the corner as the defence came across fast, but Ben Kelly snatched up the loose ball and romped exuberantly over the line. Duffy’s kick was not great, and West London were still in it. The home centre was still causing problems, and it was Matt Addison who finally got in the telling tackle at the end of another weaving run.
It was a great break by the home No.5 that set the home fans alight. Kelly chased, and eventually caught him, but the ball was recycled fast, and an overlap situation led to a try in the left corner, well converted. With ten minutes to go, things looked good for West London, but Chiswick held on for the win with some grim defending on their own line.
January 31, 2011