Fifth Defeat For Chastened Chiswick
Hampstead 39 Chiswick 15
This match was almost a disaster for Chiswick, with the loss to injury after fifteen minutes, of Simon Hallett whose solid presence in the backs has been a mainstay of the team. The speedy Hampstead packs’ back row, together with a sprightly back division, were already causing a relatively sluggish Chiswick team problems before this event, however. A rare missed tackle by Hallett was followed by an unimpeded surge by Hampstead down the left wing, and then by a misdirected, bafflingly long, throw-in for Chiswick near their own try-line. Chiswick were caught offside after the ensuing scrum and the left-footed Hampstead fly half made the kick look easy.
Chiswick came back strongly with a turn-over and a strong run by Jon Joyce, carried on by Gabs Lowe. Another good attack followed, with John Gibson, Tom Adams and Ady Lewis linking well, but the final ferocious pass out to the unmarked Matt Small on the wing was off-target. Chiswick kept up the pressure and went ahead after Hallett gave Lewis enough room with his pass for the wing to glide through the defence with his invisible shield deflecting would-be tacklers. Dave Hill’s adequately long kick from the right touchline was not quite straight enough, but Chiswick were ahead!
Hampstead replied decisively, with their outside centre weaving past about six would-be tacklers before sending their wing in for a good try, easily converted. Soon after this the injured Hallett was replaced by newcomer George Darrah, who went on to the wing, with Lewis going in to outside centre. The scrums kept collapsing and the binding, or lack of it, gave the referee a bit of a headache, but the packs were fairly evenly balanced. The next home try was a really bad one for Chiswick, when a tackled, but not held, home player was allowed, after a decent interval, to pass the ball up to one of his team, who stepped neatly over the incumbent figure and sprinted under the posts. The conversion made it 17-5. Second newcomer Gabs Box, who had been having a good game, was the next injury for Chiswick, to be replaced by the stalwart and reassuring figure of Jan Joubert.
Hampstead slotted another penalty kick, but then Hill, in the middle of the back line released Joyce who broke through the centre of the defence but failed to find Adams on his shoulder. Luckman then gave Gibson a scoring chance, but the captain failed to take a pass which was just behind him. Hill slotted a simple kick for three points, and then third newcomer Dan Marshall produced a great tackle as Hampstead threatened a break from their own 22. Lowe was trying hard to work the right touchline, with some success, and then it was Darrah again with a twisting run down the right, giving Chiswick some hope. Lewis was a bit unlucky when a chip ahead found the eager hands of a home defender as Chiswick again targeted the right touchline. Hampstead came back with a sustained attack against some weak tackling, and Chiswick finally conceded an overlap try, well converted. Lewis got clean through again, but with no close support the move fizzled out. Hampstead then somehow kept first Fletcher, then Joubert, then Sam Hood out from a couple of yards, before running the ball out of defence.
The second half saw both teams trying to run the ball at every opportunity, but it was Hampstead, with more power and determination near the line who scored despite a couple of tackles and Luckman’s efforts to prevent the ball being grounded. The kick was good. Chiswick’s attempts to keep the ball alive nearly cost dear with an interception, but they managed to rescue the situation. Joyce kept making half-breaks, but Chiswick could not convert these into sustained pressure. When they tried kicks, the home full back coped very easily, always looking for the counter-attack. Hampstead then got a try against the run of play, with what looked clearly like a forward pass. The kick failed, but then Marshall had to retire with a back problem.
Chiswick responded well with more and more determination in their play, and created a number of chances, so it was no surprise when Darrah turned the home defence inside out to score under the posts, Hill converting. Chiswick were attacking strongly in the home 22 when the final whistle went.
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Box ( Joubert ), Marshall ( Pickering ), Hood, Joyce, Adams, Fletcher, Leslie-Miller, Lowe, Luckman, Small, Gibson, Hallett ( Darrah ), Lewis, Hill
October 22, 2012