Chiswick Survive Green Storm

Rugby result :- Chiswick 30 Grasshoppers 23

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After a scintillating start by the home team in this local derby an inspired period took the visitors into a deserved half-time lead, and the second half was a nail-biter.

Jan Joubert wrested the Chiswick kick-off from a few reluctant Grasshoppers’ hands, whereafter the visitors infringed, and Luca Vannini exploited the blind side of the scrum to put Ray Brooks in for a try in the right corner. Simon Hallett’s kick went just under the bar. Within five minutes, Chiswick got offside, and Grasshoppers’ fly half slotted the easy kick. Chiswick kept the ball close to the forwards early on, with Hallett favouring the inside pass. Grasshoppers, however, stretched the play wide, and soon their outside centre found a large gap opening before him, through which he surged. A kick for the corner gave wing George Darrah apparent difficulties as he chased back with two players in green in attendance, but this classy player got the ball, escaped the trap and accelerated smoothly up to the ten metre line before being stopped.

After a Chiswick move down the right wing had been halted, Hallett made a strong diagonal cross-field break, Jon Gibson streaked inside and then passed out left for Riki Darroch to score a loudly-applauded try under the posts, converted by Hallett.

Grasshoppers then missed a simple penalty kick after Chiswick failed the kick-off catching test (for the second time) and another, harder one, after handling in the ruck. Chiswick were finding it difficult to stop certain players, namely the Nos. 5 and 8, and the full back, hence there were more gaps than usual in the home defence. Grasshoppers then applied sustained pressure, and finally exploited a four on one situation to score a simple try. The kick just failed.

Chiswick’s pack produced their best maul of the season before Hallett’s penalty kick staggered over the bar to increase the lead. Darroch showed how to deal with the kick-off in exemplary style, hurdling a couple of tackles only to land in a third. Half an hour in and Grasshoppers were gaining confidence, and a missed tackle on their inside centre led to an unconverted try for their wing.

Sammi Charad’s try-saving crash tackle on his opposing number was applauded even by the Grasshoppers fans, whose pack then demonstrated their mauling ability, and only a final pass into touch prevented another overlap score. Surprising problems with the home lineout were giving the visitors extra possession, and they scored another try, in the left corner. This was a difficult kick for the left-footed kicker, so of course he slotted it. Chiswick came back strongly, but having failed to exploit a good position, after Jon Joyce was adjudged to have been held up over the line, they settled for a simple three points to go in 20-18 down at half-time.

Chiswick survived sustained early pressure in their 22 after another rapid bulldozing run by the visitors’ full back, during which Vannini had to touch down behind the line to concede one of a number of five metre scrums. The Chiswick captain, always in the centre of things, then squashed the movement of the ball away from the most threatening (central) of these after some treatment for a knock. Finally the Grasshoppers’ hooker knocked on to relieve the home line. It was Darroch again who finally demonstrated how the visitors’ full back could be brought down as play finally moved away from the home line.

Chiswick, under threat, became more clinical, and efficient lineout play, followed by a text-book maul, ended with Joyce breaking from the maul and passing out, only for the recipient to be flattened. Another lineout, another good take, this time by Sam Hood, and suddenly Joyce thunders over the line. No conversion. Chiswick now had the bit between the teeth however, and it required a good saving tackle by the visitors’ full back to put Brooks into touch after a sweeping movement. The pace did not slacken as both teams scented victory with fifteen minutes left.

It was Chiswick who nosed further ahead eventually after multi-phase possession in which Joyce was pulled down just short before Hallett and sub Dave Hill worked the ball out to Darrah. He was held around the ankles short of the line, but managed a standing dive over the line to huge cheers from the many supporters. Hallett’s excellent kick from the left touchline bisected the posts. Grasshoppers kept attacking , and after carelessly ignoring an overlap, pulled three points back, but failed to puncture the resolute home defence, despite Chiswick being reduced to fourteen players for the last couple of minutes.


Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Joubert, Hood, Joyce, Charad, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Darrah, Gibson, Noble, Brooks, Lewis Subs:- Tonkin, Morris, Hill


March 11, 2013