Chiswick End Season On Top
Rugby result: Chiswick 51 U.C.S Old Boys 5
There was a chance this would be a close encounter, but once Chiswick got the bit between the teeth, there was no contest for the third place in the table, and the second, play-off, spot was won elsewhere by Harpenden. The first half was fairly uninspiring, UCS relying on their pack to gain ground with mauls and linked short bursts, whilst Chiswick seemed disinclined to pass the ball out wide, but worked the fringes pretty competently, with flanker Ben Kelly and hooker James Kibble prominent from the off, and Keith Luckman trying a number of different ploys.
The home team’s regular scrum half having been delayed by a burst boiler, apparently, there was some excuse for playing conservatively, and Chiswick slowly built a platform, with a couple of penalties kicked by Tom Duffy, interspersed with a try when Ben Cheston tore into the line, ripping the fragile UCS back division to shreds, and leaving Duffy with a simplish conversion. Chiswick defended well when UCS made the occasional break, with their centre looking sharp until Cheston closed him down with a lightning burst. Chiswick offended at the subsequent ruck, and lost Kelly to the sin bin, despite which they resisted the inevitable push-over attempt from the five metre scrum, forcing UCS to pass the ball out, where the home tackling, particularly that of Simon Hallett and James Hitchmough, ( although there were no shirkers ), kept control, until a forward pass relieved the pressure.
John Gibson broke up the first dangerous attack by the visitors in the second half, as UCS tried hard to come back into the game. Chiswick were doing well retrieving the ball at breakdowns, and suddenly the visitors’ defence was opened up by a searing run by Duffy, after dummying to kick. Chris Hallewell made a brilliant pick-up after the move broke down, and a flashy swivel pass by Matt Cooper put speedster Cheston in near the corner. Duffy slotted the kick with aplomb. With problems in the lineout, Kibble used Rowan Tonkin as a good default option at the front, and Tonkin was also the default when five metres ground was needed whilst others took a breather.
Luca Vannini finally arrived with twenty minutes to go, and Chiswick defending. That was soon to change, although in the interim, UCS were convinced they had scored, touching down not once but twice ( to make sure ) just over the five metre line ( rather solid at this point ). Vannini soon released Cheston down the right wing, taking the play well into the UCS half. Graham Robbings, in the wars even more than usual, was off the field being patched up when Duffy, gaining in confidence the while, found himself in a one on one, and took on the lone UCS defender with a powerful burst, in and out, to score try number three from way in his own half. One more for the bonus, and it arrived very shortly, when a move started by Vannini, and carried on by Jon Joyce and Tonkin, was finished in style by Luckman who weaved his way through the remnants of the defence to go under the posts. An impatient Duffy drop-kicked the conversion ( practising for the Sevens ?). Duffy was then adjudged in front of Cheston when the final pass of another scintillating move reached him.
Vannini was trying hard to get his money’s worth, and when the home pack, bolstered (?) by “Tubs” Davies, pushed the UCS pack back in their own 22 Kelly and Vannini stormed around behind, and combined well for the latter to score. Duffy added the points. In a last gasp UCS attack, the Chiswick defence was stretched one way and then the other before an overlap finally appeared, and they scored a competent try. Not to be denied, strong tackling produced another turnover for the home team, and a long phase of possession ended with a perfectly weighted cross kick by Luckman being taken on the full, and flat out, by an unstoppable Duffy, who then added the points. There was just time for one more try, scored deservedly by Hallett, who shredded the defence for the last time.
Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Davies ), Kibble, Addison, Tonkin, Hire ( Joyce ), Robbings, Kelly, Cooper, Hitchmough ( Vannini ), Luckman, Duffy, Hallett, Gibson, Hallewell, Cheston
April 11, 2011