Chiswick hang on by a thread

Rugby Result - Old Merchant Taylors 16  Chiswick 22


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OMT’s ground is imposing, and the home team nearly imposed a win in an exciting ending to this league match. Early on an impressive Chiswick team were untroubled, and cruised to a seventeen point lead, starting with a simple penalty by Keith Luckman. Better was to come. Following up a downfield kick, prop Shane Donaldson acquired the ball after OMT’s attempts to run it back had been severely dealt with. Neat passing by Donaldson, Luckman, Ben Hinze and Lewis Hammond gave wing Lee Miller a couple of feet of room, and he showed a clean pair of heels to the opposition to score under the posts. The kick was a formality.

Minutes later scrum half Ian Walker managed to spoil a home attack after they had won a heel against the head, and Mark Williams was first to the loose ball. He passed to Luckman, who fed the ball to Mark Jones. With Simon Slattery in a bit of room, Jones gave the ball early, and Slattery rounded the defence in style to score under the posts. Rugby is simple really, and again Luckman had no problem with the kick. OMTs did get three points back with the last kick of the first half some reward for determined play, but the game looked a formality.

Subtle use of the wind, allied to an increasing dominance in the lineouts, brought OMTs right back into the game, however. Chiswick began to feel the pressure, and the second of two penalty kicks was converted by the home fly half. Penned in their own half, the Chiswick handling and decision making deteriorated. Making a rod for their own back, they twice in succession gave a lineout ball straight to the massive OMT lock. On the second occasion the ball went along the line, and the centre managed to pass out of the tackle to the home No.6, who dodged to the line. The kick was simple, but the kicker slipped, and the ball passed just under the bar.

Another home penalty miss was followed by a successful effort. Chiswick were beginning to struggle, with Walker under great pressure at the scrums as the Chiswick pack were pushed back. Their centres, and Nick Pritchard at No.7 were putting in big tackles, and OMTs looked to be held, until their scrum half found a line on the blind side that took him in at the corner, touching down an instant before his legs removed the corner flag. The kick was too difficult but a home victory was in sight. Until - a long kick by Luckman reached the home 22, where it was knocked on by a Chiswick player. The home heel was wayward, and Elliot Pickering did well to get to the loose ball first. Straightforward passing along the line left 6ft 4in Jones facing the smallest of the defenders, and he went through him to the line for the winning try ( not converted ). Chiswick managed to defend the last five minutes without further scares, and came off a very relieved team, their leadership challenge still afloat.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Pickering E, Campbell, Williams, Pickering M ( Green ), Vinden, Pritchard, Smith, Walker, Luckman, Slattery, Hinze, Jones, Miller, Hammond ( Brown )

December 6, 2005