Harpenden Humble Chastened Chiswick
Rugby Result : Harpenden 34 Chiswick 5
Chiswick are getting progressively worse playing in Bucks as injuries and non-availabilities make it more difficult to field similar teams from week to week. Rowan Tonkin and Steff Davies were back in the front row, but there was no Sam Biss at hooker, and with Ben Kelly and Tom Adams out, there was a new flanker pairing of Brinley Price and Rikki Darroch. The backs, missing the dynamic pairing of John Gibson and Simon Hallett, took a while to get organised, with Harpenden rushing them throughout the game and proving very strong in the tackle for a team near the bottom of the league.
Harpenden shaded the first fifteen minutes, aided by a strong breeze, but missed a simple penalty kick on seven minutes. Ben Cheston did well to take out the ball carrier as Harpenden had a two-on-one near the Chiswick line, after a bad missed tackle, and then Josh Noble demonstrated how to do it. The same player then had to cover a break down the line after another missed tackle. Chiswick seemed to have weathered the storm as their first real multi-phased attack took play well into the home 22, but then a pass from Adie Lewis to Cheston went astray, leaving Cheston on the ground. The ball was snatched up and was passed straight out to the home right winger, who proved to have the legs of the Chiswick team, and scored under the posts for an easy extra two points and a great psychological boost.
Chiswick were lucky when, having all spurned a loose ball on their 22, the pass out by the surprised home fly half was knocked on. Their luck ran out, however, when two weak tackles allowed the home No.12 to run straight in under the posts for another seven-pointer. Davies was injured, and then, with continuous home pressure, another three points were conceded. Another poor tackle allowed the home scrum half easy access to the Chiswick line, and suddenly Chiswick were looking down the barrel, as the conversion sailed over, with several players lying down and obviously below par. Chiswick scrum half Luca Vannini then got badly winded in a tackle as he broke upfield from his 22 to add to the woes. The referee held up play as he was helped off, and there was still time for Harpenden to take advantage of a penalty given for failure to release to set up another attack culminating in another ( unconverted ) try for their scrum half.
The wind strengthened and played havoc with the Chiswick passing as they tried to take advantage of it. Cheston did well to intimidate the home right winger as Harpenden broke away, but relief was short-lived, as a long kick down field by Keith Luckman was run back by the same player, who linked well with other home players to run in an excellent try in the corner.
Harpenden eased off a little after this, perhaps tiring with their efforts and Chiswick, still attacking in numbers saved a little pride mid-way through the half when Darroch was responsible for a turn-over at the end of a sustained home attack. It was Cheston, inevitably, who made the break and gave the ball to Noble for a well-deserved try. Darroch, Tonkin and Fletcher kept pushing hard right up to the final whistle, and Matt Small did a lot of good work in defence, as did Gabs Lowe.
Chiswick team :- Davies ( Joubert ), Dibble, Tonkin, Hood, Joyce ( Spencer ), Price, Darroch, Fletcher, Vannini ( Lowe ), Luckman, Perfect, Lewis, Noble, Small, Cheston
March 5, 2012