Last Chiswick Attack Sinks Saints
Rugby Result: Chiswick 23 St. Albans 21
Bottom-of-the-table Chiswick’s prospects in this second crucial match looked pretty hopeless with a minute to go. This team lacks nothing in character, however, and victory was plucked with a scintillating try, to a resounding roar from the spectators.
The initial rash of errors was sorted out by Gabs Lowe, the Chiswick full-back. He collected a tentative Saints’ kick and found Chris Morris on his shoulder zooming towards the left corner. After the breakdown Morris got the ball again and the ball finally reached Matt Small who repeated his run of last week, with the same resulting try, except that he got round behind the posts this time, for Dave Hill to add the two points. 7-0 after three minutes!
The Saints replied with some competent simple moves, and Chiswick handed back three points by handling in the ruck. George Dimitriadis had to cope with a couple of raking kicks by the Saints’ fly half, whilst captain Luca Vannini had to be helped out by Tom Adams when Sam Hood, uncharacteristically, hammered the ball back too far from the front of a couple of lineouts. Chiswick showed their improved mauling powers with a great shove almost up to the Saints’ line, but then lost the ball. Jon Joyce showed determination in midfield, and Sam Hood sent Jon Gibson away. Trying to find the flying Dimitriadis inside him, Gibson timed the pass well only for the Saints’ No.8 to get a faint touch on the ball, and spoil the move. Hill then made a great grubber kick through the Saints’ defence, and looked odds on to get to the ball first and score. The kick was just too short, however, and a defender managed to dive past Hill on to the top of the ball as it slowed down just short of the line. Chiswick stayed camped near the try line, and soon decided to take three points from an easy penalty.
A line kick nearly got Chiswick in trouble, the Saints breaking back fast across the pitch, only for the final pass to go well behind their wing. Lowe thwarted the Saints’ No.14 with a great smother tackle close to the home line. The visitors were gaining an ascendancy in the scrums, and the home pack was kept under severe pressure in consecutive scrums near the home line, until the referee decided enough was enough and awarded a penalty try. The conversion brought the scores level after half an hour. Hill pulled a long penalty attempt just left of the posts. It was Lowe again who set things alight with a really determined break, supported by Gibson. He found Sam Leslie-Miller outside him, and Chris Hallewell slipped the ball to Dimitriadis for the final dash to the line. Hill’s kick was pulled left.
Chiswick’s half-time lead vanished as the Saints upped their efforts after the interval, despite the home scrum improving their act substantially. A first successful penalty kick was followed by another, the latter following Chiswick missing a touch aimed right near the Saints’ line, the ball being hoofed back, and Chiswick then trying an over-ambitious counter-attack from their own 22 with insufficient support. The Saints kept the pressure up as home confidence sagged slightly, and another poor kick gave them the chance to run back down their right wing, and inter-pass well before scoring in the right corner. The kick failed.
Six points down, Chiswick redoubled their efforts, and produced a grandstand finish. Hill slotted a penalty, but only ten minutes were left. He then could not quite pick up a dropped opposition pass cleanly, or he would have been right through. Gibson found Dinitrios in a bit of space down the right wing, but he was smashed into touch in the Saints’ 22 by a brave cover tackle. One minute left, and Lowe and Dimitriadis combined well to run the ball from the home 22 to the half-way line, where Jan Joubert joined in. Small, Hill, Leslie-Miller, Morris, and Gibson were all then involved in a final surge, with the ubiquitous Lowe making the vital break before the ball went inside and then out, with Dimitriadis unstoppable on his triumphant burst to the line. The final whistle followed the failed kick. Phew!
Chiswick team :- Shattock ( Chraplewczyk ), Dibble, Joubert, Hood, ( Price ), Joyce, Morris, Adams, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hill, Small, Gibson, Hallewell, Dimitriadis, Lowe
November 26, 2012