Chiswick Edge It After Shaky Start
Rugby result :- London Nigerians 19 Chiswick 23
London Nigerians looked likely initially to improve on the 52 points they had scored at Riverside Lands, being 19 points up after eleven minutes, as Chiswick dithered. In muddy conditions, the first Chiswick attempt to open out proved disastrous, as a back row forward was dispossessed, and the home team surged towards the left corner. Rikki Darroch’s timely tackle stopped the move at the expense of a lineout, but a clean take at the middle required a concerted drive by the Chiswick pack, which was not forthcoming, and the Nigerians piled over the line for a five point lead after 90 seconds. The home fly half, who proved a very tricky customer, could also kick, and he produced an excellent conversion from way out, judging the wind to perfection.
Five minutes later the same thorn in the Chiswick flesh showed his pace while keeping his feet with a darting run, to set up a simple try under the posts for their inside centre, which was converted. Another five minutes, another home lineout near the Chiswick 22, and another try. This was a simple maul and a peel-off. The kick failed, and Chiswick began to pull themselves together. Wing Ray Brooks, back after injury, had already shown huge determination in the tackle, but it was the other wing, Matt Small who made the first positive run, but Ady Lewis’s kick failed to reach touch and the ball was run back well. Rory Fletcher managed to nail the deadly No.10, but then Dave Hill’s nervy penalty attempt from in front of the posts hit one of them and rebounded to safety. Simon Hallett started doing his usual thing of taking on of three players and slipping the ball out of the tackle(s).
Chiswick were now shading possession, but producing little real pressure. Nigerians looked dangerous on the counter, but their handling was iffy, luckily for Chiswick. Another destructive tackle by Brooks was followed by a clever kick towards the right corner by Hill. In an identical situation to that of the previous match against Hammersmith, Hill led the chase, but this time he was not fouled and got the pass in to the supporting Darroch, for a needed try. The kick was pulled left, but it was game on. Chris Morris did well to prevent one counter attack following some fairly aimless Chiswick play, diving on the ball where others might well have desisted. The Chiswick scrum was sliding back on occasions on their own ball, and Luca Vannini and the back row did well to retain possession. When Chiswick tried to attack down the left wing, passes frustratingly kept on going behind the supporting player.
Chiswick came storming out for the second half, with Jan Joubert determined to make a mark. It was Fletcher, however, who put the pressure on, charging down a clearance kick. James Dibble, always available in the loose, carried on a movement started by Lewis, and the ball was eventually swung out right, where Josh Noble, in his first game of the season, showed exactly what Chiswick had been missing, with a blistering run to the line. The kick failed. The excellent kick off was caught by a home player, and Chiswick were under pressure again. A stupid Nigerians mistake allowed Morris to tap and run at the home team as the match warmed up. Joubert got his first real charge in after the home forwards closed the gap in a lineout, and Vannini sold a dummy to get to the five metre line, only for his next wriggle to be anticipated. The referee was soon offering Chiswick a kick at goal, which Hill slotted.
Six points behind, Chiswick increased the pressure, and it became three after another Hill penalty. A damaged Morris was replaced by newcomer Sammi Charad and Chiswick battered unsuccessfully at the home line until Hill produced a deceiving sleight of hand and ghosted through for a Barry John try that put Chiswick ahead for the first time. The Chiswick fly half then added the points to set up a tense final ten minutes, in which Chiswick defended well, the Nigerians got fairly desperate and the referee had difficult matters to attend to, with the Chiswick supporters, who out-numbered the home fans by ten to one, mumbling “handbags”. It was Sam Leslie-Miller who crucially drove the Nigerians five metres back when they were within sniffing distance of the Chiswick line, and it was a Nigerians mistake that allowed Chiswick to put the ball safely into touch after being reassured by the referee that he would then blow the final whistle.
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Marshall, Leslie-Miller, Hood, Morris, Darroch, Fletcher, Vannini, Hill, Small, Hallett, Noble, Brooks, Lewis
Subs :- Joubert, Catliff, Charad
January 7, 2013