Rugby Result :- Stevenage Town 5 Chiswick 8
For a lot of the match, Chiswick’s swarm of tacklers were on the verge of being pushed back over the try-line by the relentless weight of the massive Stevenage team, but the far better looking visitors retained just enough energy for a late and successful counter-attack.
The scrums provided the young lady referee with a major problem, given the weight disparity and therefore the frequent rapid rotation and/or linear movement, but at times it seemed as if it only required an elegantly raised eyebrow by the Chiswick full back for her to blow the whistle and thwart the home pack.
The first Chiswick player in the wars was Luca Vannini, victim of a high tackle, obvious to all bar the referee. Tom Duffy then leapt into the air to deflect a touch-bound home kick infield and set up an early run for Ben Cheston. From the first lineout, Stevenage tried to maul, but were finally penalised for failure to release – first round to Chiswick.
Stevenage were foiled again when Jon Joyce took their throw at a five metre lineout, but they kept play in the Chiswick 22, and their scrum half nearly scored with a break down the line. The Chiswick tackling was exemplary, however, until the home No.8 picked up from the base of the scrum and combined well with the scrum half to set up a simple run in for the first try, nineteen minutes into the game. The kick was, surprisingly, wide of the mark.
Tubs Davies did well to catch a well-directed kick down the line under pressure from two attackers, as Stevenage kept the ball in the Chiswick half. The visitors occasionally got a sniff, however, and were unlucky when quick recycling after a couple of Joyce surges allowed Cheston to burst through the home line, only to just fail to link up with winger Josh Nobel.
Minutes later, after Simon Hallett got his first run, Chiswick gained a penalty, and Duffy produced a fine kick for three points. Cheston then was almost through again as the talented Chiswick backs began to probe the home defence, only to spill the ball after a despairing ankle tackle. Stevenage came again and a score seemed certain until a multiple tackle on their No.8 in front of the posts produced a loose ball, seized upon by the ubiquitous Chiswick back row, for Cheston to streak up to half way. Chiswick then somehow survived the last five minutes of the half.
Territorially Chiswick did better in the second half, but then lost Ben Kelly to a yellow card. Stevenage then had a five metre scrum, but although they pushed to the line, when their large No.8 picked up he was stopped dead by the Chiswick defence. Davies’s knee decided it had had enough as a second five metre scrum was ordered, and Shane Donaldson came on at a tricky moment. The scrum wheeled, but No.8 was held again, and the ball was spun out. The home scrum half received the ball on the loop, and appeared to get through, but his shirt was firmly grasped by Nobel, whose defence was exceptional. Another scrum five wheeled and the home supporters screamed in disbelief as Chiswick were awarded the reset. Fletcher did well to hold the heeled ball and somehow smuggle it to Vannini for the kick as the home pack overwhelmed the Chiswick eight. Keith Luckman got an interception, but the Chiswick backs could not get going, and a series of interceptions followed as each side got over-excited in turn.
Stevenage finally tried a new tactic, a short chip over the Chiswick line from an attack on the Chiswick 22 – fatal. Cheston streaked up, linked with Hallett, who found Luckman on the overlap. Chiswick held their breath, but Luckman’s athleticism triumphed, and although the kick failed, Chiswick had a slender lead, which they held for the twenty minutes up to the final whistle, with only minor scares.
Chiswick team :- Davies ( Donaldson ), Biss, Tonkin, McCullan, Joyce, Adams, Kelly ( Hood ), Fletcher, Vannini, Luckman, Duffy, Hallett, Gibson, Nobel ( Hallewell ), Cheston
November 22, 2011