Chiswick Startled out of Summer Trance

Rugby Result : Hemel Hempstead 48 Chiswick 24

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Chiswick’s first league match of the season was almost a repeat of the Grasshoppers fixture of last year, where a speedy back division including an elusive No.13, wrought havoc with their defence. Last year, even the excellent Ben Cheston had been submerged, and this year, without him, Chiswick did well to keep the score below fifty points. Keith Luckman put Chiswick into an early lead with a good penalty, but after about twenty minutes Hemel got into their stride, and were soon well ahead.

A number of missed tackles allowed Hemel to put pressure on the Chiswick line, and a dropped Chiswick pass gave the Hemel right wing a chance to show his paces, which he did all the way to the line. The kick failed. In the next run by the same wing, three would-be tacklers were shrugged off, and it began to look like tackling practice sessions were called for. Hansie Bez was causing Hemel some problems with robust bursts, but Chiswick wasted some chances with poor kicks and a couple of knocks-on. There seemed also to be a lack of support for the man with ball, resulting in a lot of extra possession for the home team. A hopeful kick-through by Hemel caused problems for Lewis and Vannini, and the heel from the resultant scrum led eventually to the home hooker running through three poor tackles to score. The conversion followed, and after new scrum half Russ Dovey had done well to pull down the home winger from behind, disaster struck. Chiswick had mounted their first decent attack, started by Bez and involving a number of players when the Hemel left wing, not to be outdone by his fellow wing, intercepted a pass and made it comfortably from his 22 to the line. The conversion was a formality.

Hemel’s No.13 showed he, too, could run through the Chiswick backs, immediately after the next lineout, and another seven points swelled the home total. Chiswick finally mounted some sustained pressure, and after Bez got inches from the line, Simon Hallett wrong-footed the defence and cruised to the line, Luckman converting the try.

Other newcomers Tom Shattock and Sam Leslie-Miller were getting involved as the Chiswick pack tried hard to impose some sort of control at the beginning of the second half, but the ball kept on being lost after the tackle. Some desperate defence kept a strong Hemel move out, but then a hopeful kick out of defence was run back by the substitute home full-back, who wove his way right through the Chiswick defence for an excellent try, duly converted. Chiswick, with Marco Chraplewczyk and Tom Adams on, attacked strongly from a tapped penalty, but Sam Hood was held up over the line. Hemel’s right wing then scored another unconverted try. With John Gibson and Rory Fletcher becoming more prominent, Chiswick began to attack more, and after Gibson had a great break, it was unlucky that he picked out the wrong team to pass to, as did Alistair Pickering moments later. Hemel’s No.13 then showed the art of leaving two defenders sprawling with another darting run to make it 43-10.

Tom Adams did well to straighten the line in attack, not a common Chiswick tactic after the departure of Bez, and Gibson proved he was no slouch, reaching the right corner with enough room to touch down even when hit hard from the side. Luckman produced an excellent conversion. Another Gibson run gave Fletcher a chance to express himself with a late try, as the referee decided that he had not been held up by the multiple tackle that hit him as he went over the line. Luckman drop-kicked the conversion, but Hemel sealed the game with another try by the right wing.

Chiswick team : Mattock (Chraplewczyk), Dibble, Joubert, Hood, Leslie-Miller, Pickering, Fletcher, Bez (Adams), Dovey, Luckman, Slattery (Catliff), Hallett, Gibson, Lewis, Vannini

September 17, 2012