Chiswick on Top at End of Topsy-turvy Cracker

Rugby result: Tabard 29 Chiswick 36

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Whilst coaches tore their hair out, the spectators enjoyed a romp in the sun, with even Tabard veterans having to admire some of the visitors’ sleight of hand.

The start was all steady Tabard pressure, with Chiswick newcomer Matthew Small having to do some high speed defensive work, whilst Al Pickering, welcome back after a year out, tried to come to terms with the pace of the match. Ten minutes in, hands in the ruck gave Tabard a simple three points.

Ben Cheston took a great low catch from a poor kick to put Adie Lewis away, but his inside pass to John Gibson was just forward. Five minutes later Small picked up a loose ball and did very well to get near to the home line, but good recycling gave Cheston just enough room to skim the defence for the first try. Luckman’s kick was pushed right. Tabard took advantage of some clumsy defending from the kick-off to come straight back, pressuring Luckman into a poor kick. This was run back by the Tabard winger, who put their full back away for a good try, comfortably converted.

Chiswick were doing a lot of passing just trying to get into the Tabard half, and it was a relief when Simon Hallett decided to boot the ball sixty metres up the pitch into the home 22. Tabard’s attempts to maul their way forward were only marginally successful, and Chiswick retained possession well as they foraged at the edge of the home 22. Eventually they found Lewis, whose dancing feet kept just off the line before he cut back to score. No conversion, though.

A good return kick by the home full back put Cheston in trouble, and despite Small’s support, a penalty was conceded. Worse was the accompanying yellow card, and the last twenty minutes of the first half were a bit of a nightmare for Chiswick. First Tabard achieved a two-on one on their right, and their winger rocketed in near the posts for a simple conversion. James Dibble, who had done well in open play, had to go off, with Sam Biss replacing him. Tabard missed a penalty, but then the same winger got another (converted) try.

The second half was mostly Chiswick as the back row of Ben Kelly, Adams and Al Pickering followed the exhortations of captain Rowan Tonkin and tore at the home team. The forwards couldn’t quite make it to the line, however, and it was the “fairies” who showed them how, Lewis side-stepping through the defence as if strolling in the park. Luckman converted, and the chase was on. The hard-working Luca Vannini was making life difficult for the home scrum half, but a mix-up behind a (retreating) scrum in the Chiswick 22 allowed their flanker to kick through and win the chase to the line. The kick was charged down by the Gibson/Cheston duo, and Chiswick blood was up.

A prolonged move, started by Kelly ripping a ball loose, was carried on by the threes, and then by Biss before Adams showed how a forward should score. Luckman produced a great conversion, and Chiswick kept the foot down. Small, racing down the wing, found Cheston inside in support, and a deadly accurate cross kick fell sweetly for Kelly to score a well-deserved try. The kick was poor, but Chiswick weren’t finished at 29 all. Matt Pickering made a good front lineout take, and an inside pass by Luckman to that man Kelly led to the ball going back to the short side before coming out again on the long side, where Kelly scythed through the defence for his second, and the winning, try.

Chiswick team :- Addison ( Donaldson ), Dibble ( Biss ), Tonkin, Pickering M, McCullan, Adams, Kelly, Pickering A, Vannini, Luckman, Lewis, Hallett, Gibson, Small ( Hallewell ), Cheston

October 31, 2011