Chiswick Chewed Up but Saved by Darroch Double

Rugby Result : Welwyn 12 Chiswick 12

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It took a long time for Chiswick to warm up, losing five points within a minute as Keith Luckman’s clearance kick was charged down, and as their players made futile attempts to track the ball, it was a Welwyn hand that touched it first. Unexpectedly, it was the visitors’ backs who looked most out of touch, with the home threes looking lively wide out, although the lineouts were also a problem, with the ball moving unpredictably in the breeze.

Chiswick dealt well when Welwyn tried the mauling game, and coped just about adequately with their scrum, but found it difficult to gain possession in open play, with the home team’s weight advantage paying off on a sticky pitch. Pinned in their own half, Chiswick were lucky that the home kicker missed two easy penalty kicks, but they defended well on their line as Welwyn applied continuous pressure. When Welwyn put the next penalty kick into the corner, it was Seth McCullan who saved Chiswick, getting in front of the home jumper, for Luca Vannini to put in a long kick down the line. Welwyn took a quick throw, however, and ran it back at pace, and after the first surge was stopped, they attacked again down the left wing, and ran in a good try, the final touchdown being near the posts, allowing an easy conversion.

With knock-ons and misdirected kicks, Chiswick were still not functioning, although a good break by Vannini showed some encouraging weakness in the home defence. Simon Hallett then made a longer break, linking well with Rory Fletcher, then with Ben Cheston. With the ball at last close to the home line, disaster struck, the ubiquitous Ben Kelly suffering what appeared to be a fractured tibia amidst a pile of players. He was carried off the pitch and, after a long delay, taken by ambulance to a hospital in Stevenage, where apparently he was insisting he was fit enough to attend the Club dinner the same evening. Tom Adams came on, and Chiswick laid siege to the home line. After a couple of minutes, Welwyn were reduced to fourteen by a yellow card, and after another sustained assault, a number of bodies, including the ball-clutching Rikki Darroch, surged over the line in the left corner. The kick failed, as did an attempted penalty kick by Welwyn, immediately before half time.

Chances went begging for wind-assisted Chiswick in the second half, with knock-ons and failures with their own lineouts the main culprits. A sudden home counter-attack was cut off by an attempted interception, the referee being soundly booed for this decision. Chiswick in turn nicked a home lineout, and Fletcher and Darroch made good ground before the attack was halted.

When Josh Nobel came on for Luckman, Hallett moved to fly half, with almost instant success, as a good heel gave Vannini some room, and Hallett found Darroch up in support, with enough speed for his momentum to take him over the line when tackled. Tom Duffy slotted the kick and it was all to play for. In the event the most exciting incident thereafter, amidst surging back-and-forth play, was a sudden attack by an apparently docile dog on the Chiswick club president as he helped out on the line, leaving an impressive thigh wound. Chiswick did have one good chance, but the final pass out to the flying Nobel was deemed forward.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Addison ), Biss, Tonkin, McCullan, Joyce, Darroch, Kelly ( Adams ), Fletcher, Vannini, Luckman ( Nobel ), Duffy, Hallett, Gibson, Lewis, Cheston


January 30, 2012