Gritty Chiswick Defeat Swarming Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers 5 Chiswick 18
With both teams fighting to get away from the bottom of the league, on a damp afternoon with a slippery ball and pitch, this could have been pretty dire. However, all of the players coped well with the conditions to produce an exciting match, with the excellent Chiswick defence finally prevailing.
The conditions were immediately revealed as the returning Ray Brooks slipped whilst trying to run the ball out of defence. Newcomer Joe Cormack was soon in the thick of things, as with a slow ball there were always numerous would-be tacklers arriving with every pass. Ten minutes into the match, Grasshoppers went ahead after a scything break by their No.6. George Darrah made a good tackle in his 22, but the ball was recycled out to the right wing, who got outside Matt Small to score. The kick failed.
Soon after a good take in the lineout, Sam Hood showed how to pick up a slippery ball. Jon Gibson was already proving a handful for the Grasshoppers defence, but could not really get going over the slippery turf. Suddenly it was all go in the home 22. Tom Adams and Darrah were both hurt and had to be subbed, Chris Morris and Russ Dovey coming on. In the meantime, Chiswick were awarded a couple of penalties, the second of which Gabs Lowe kicked into the corner for a lineout. With Hood in command, Chiswick caught and got over the try line, Tom Shattock running back with the ball and a smile on his face. Lowe’s attempted conversion was pulled left.
The Chiswick pack were causing problems for a young Grasshoppers eight, and after a fortunate break for Chiswick when the referee failed to notice that the ball had earlier gone into touch in the Chiswick half, a lineout up near the home 22 allowed a number of Chiswick forwards to break for the line, and it was Jon Joyce who timed an exquisite inside pass into Dovey’s hands, the latter, who had come on at scrum half whilst Luca Vannini went to full-back, cruising over for a try which Lowe comfortably converted. Minutes later, Lowe had an easier kick, after a Morris break, and added three points to the Chiswick total. Chiswick had to resist ten minutes of sustained Grasshoppers pressure before half-time, during which the home team, perhaps mistakenly, eschewed a kick at goal from a good position.
Grasshoppers immediately attacked from the kick-off, but Chiswick resisted well, with the occasional attempt at a break, Cormack nearly getting an interception, and Brooks being unlucky when Lowe failed to spot him loitering in space. Small managed three successive forward rolls with the ball, but failed to hypnotise the opposition. Eventually Chiswick got up-field, and after several lunges for the line, pulled up just short, Lowe took three points when they were offered.
This turned out to be the final score, but that was not for the want of effort, both teams trying hard to attack at every opportunity, but being thwarted by good tackling and the difficulty of sustaining passages of play. A good long kick by Sam Leslie-Miller set up a useful position for Chiswick, but Lowe managed to pull his kick just left. Cormack, supported by Brooks, did well to deal with a cunning grubber kick through the Chiswick line, and then Grasshoppers went for a penalty kick wide out on their left – which proved too difficult for their left-footed kicker. Riki Darroch became more and more prominent with his tackles, and Chraplewczyk could just be seen in the descending gloom extracting the ball from under his comrades’ bodies. A vociferous group of Chiswick supporters cheered on their team right up to the final whistle.
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Marshall, Hood, Joyce ( Chraplewczyk ), Adams ( Morris ), Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Lowe, Small, Gibson, Cormack, Brooks, Darrah ( Dovey )
November 26, 2012