Perfect Start, Poor Finish
Rugby Result : Chiswick 15, Tabard 27
Chiswick made the perfect start against the team that had just overtaken them in the league, Jason Perfect scoring a try in the left corner after one minute. Luca Vannini, Chris Morris, Keith Luckman and, inevitably, Simon Hallett were involved in a straightforward move, with Perfect keeping just ahead of the pursuers. Luckman’s kick just lacked a few ounces.
As the match progressed, it became apparent that Tabard’s ugly, but effective physical game was causing Chiswick problems, especially in the scrums, where Rory Fletcher again proved his value at No.8 behind a retreating pack. Tabard’s kicker hit the post with an early penalty, but Chiswick’s inability to take the rebound was not penalised when Tabard knocked on. The home pack was pushed off the ball at the next scrum ( Chiswick would have preferred the advantage being played to continue ! ) Tabard immediately achieved a five metre lineout, but knocked on again. Fletcher then rescued another demolition job at the scrum, but at the next five metre lineout, Tabard controlled the ball well and mauled over the line to even up the score.
On twenty minutes Tabard went ahead from another five metre lineout, their centre punching a hole through the middle of the defensive line, and then slotting the conversion. Jon Joyce was achieving good lineout ball on occasions, and there were some useful home passing movements, but Tabard defended vigorously. Eventually a good sustained home attack looked certain to succeed, Hallett having the ball in a three on two situation ten metres out. His decision to go alone proved a poor one, although understandable with a wet ball, and the chance went begging. Chiswick applied good pressure towards half-time, and after a quick tap by Vannini, Hallett found Joyce on the wing. The talented lock somehow found a way through a crowded defence to score about ten metres in from the corner. Luckman produced an excellent kick, and it was all square again at the whistle.
The last day of the Six Nations not only weakened the teams, ( six forced changes in the Chiswick team ) but the spectators for the second half comprised, on one side of the pitch, a Tabard sub, two old disgruntled footballers, who had just watched their first and second teams lose, and two young Rumanians on holiday. The play was not scintillating, either, although initially exciting as Chiswick kept the pressure up and yellow cards were swapped. After five minutes Luckman kicked a penalty goal to put Chiswick ahead. Chiswick kept the pressure up until suddenly Tabard broke down their right wing to reach the home 22. With most of the home team pulled in to defend in the corner, Tabard moved it well on the open side, and Matt Small could not quite prevent their centre going over the line. The conversion was good.
Tabard kept pressing and the home pack did well to hold the ball up as Tabard mauled over the home line. Moments later, however, a sustained attack produced another Tabard try as two home players pulled one attacker down near the corner, but failed to prevent the outside pass. This kick failed, but Tabard added another three points with a penalty kick which went in off the post this time. Vannini, switched to full back, produced a magnificent try-saving tackle, and Chiswick still looked dangerous when in possession, but a poor final pass scuppered one good opportunity to reduce the gap, and a dropped ball the next, and last.
Chiswick team :- Addison, Biss, Joubert, Gisby, Joyce, Adams ( Price ), Morris, Fletcher, Vannini, Hallett, Small, Luckman, Brooks, Perfect ( Thornton ), Lewis
March 19, 2012