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Rugby Result :- Chiswick 27 Harpenden 20

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Chiswick were deservedly down 17-12 in this league match, but an injury to the effervescent Harpenden scrum half upset the balance of the visitors’ team, and Chiswick took full advantage in a rather muted display.

From the kick-off, Harpenden ran the ball out of defence, but then tried an ambitious kick for the left winger ( or touch?). The winger juggled with the ball and was dispossessed by Romano Brooks, who outpaced the defence down the touchline for a one minute try. Tom Duffy’s kick slid left.

Harpenden kept running the ball at Chiswick, who were pinned on the back foot and conceded a simple three points for preventing release. Simon Hallett’s excellent restart kick was retrieved by Chiswick, and after Duffy’s surge was halted, Hallett made a clean line break, drew the last defender and handed Josh Noble a scoring pass. Duffy converted. The scrums were fairly even, with a slight home advantage, but the Chiswick lineouts were poor, and Harpenden had the edge there. It was from a lineout that the Harpenden centre sliced straight through the home defence, Brooks only getting his abortive tackle in over the try line. The kick was good, and Harpenden began to believe.

A good run by the Harpenden full back was thwarted by the combination of Ben Cheston and Tom Duffy. The combination of Cheston and Chris Hallewell was less successful, and the Harpenden right winger had an easy run-in after a good kick through by their fly half. The kick succeeded, and Harpenden were in front, with their form belying their league position. Brooks and Hallett just prevented another score, and the Harpenden scrum half got inches from the line. Chiswick made a great effort, and eventually ran the ball out of defence, but kept making small mistakes. Cheston had a brief chance, but slipped. He got the ball to Al Pickering, however, who charged down the side line before getting the ball inside to Tubbs Davies. Duffy did well to fight through a couple of tackles, but then Noble lost the ball forward. With play surging back and forward, suddenly two players were down, and after treatment only the Chiswick player could continue.

Hallewell did well to retrieve the situation after Cheston managed to york himself trying to run a kick back at the beginning of the second half. Davies then anticipated a low kick through by the Harpenden fly half, swallowed the ball up and surged up the field, Duffy continued the attack, and Hallett and Rowan Tonkin got very close before Harpenden gave away a penalty, three points and a player. Chiswick began to dominate with the extra player, and Hallewell nearly got a touch down from an exquisite Duffy chip. When Chiswick finally got their act together at a lineout in the visitors’ 22, Seth McCullan drew the pack around him, and they romped over the line, with Jon Joyce getting the touchdown. Duffy stubbed his kick, but Chiswick were in front and looking good.

The match dragged on into the gloaming, the bright spots being firstly a great take by Rory Fletcher of a Garryowen, and another Ben Kelly follow-up try from a superb cross-kick by Hallett. Cheston had finally decided to make a long run down the right wing. Coming back inside he found Hallett, who switched back again to the right wing, supported by Brooks, before putting a bouncing ball right under the posts for the predator. Duffy could not miss. Harpenden made a late rally and managed to get the three points necessary for a bonus.


Chiswick team :- Davies ( Donaldson ), Biss, Tonkin, McCullan, Joyce ( Adams ), Fletcher, Kelly, Pickering, Vannini, Duffy, Hallewell ( Luckman ), Hallett, Noble, Brooks, Cheston


November 15, 2011