Chiswick Repeat 2012 Success

Chiswick 24 Harpenden 14

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Strangely similar to last season’s clash ( 26-13 ), this match also started with an early Harpenden try, as Chiswick kept kicking poorly under early pressure from the visitors. An early minor injury to Simon Hallett caused some reshuffling of the backs, but that did not excuse some sloppy handling when they did try to run the ball. An offside decision gave Harpenden a chance of three points, but the kick faded left. Keeping up the pressure, Harpenden developed a good maul from a lineout, and when the ball was spread along the line, their full back, with a little help from behind, managed to push between a number of home players to score an unlikely try. The kick was successful.

Another poor defensive kick presented Ray Brooks with a one-on-two situation, which he handled with aplomb. The Harpenden kicker got another couple of chances, however, the first of which Chiswick did well to clear from their line when the ball came back from the post. The second, from way out, had the legs but just faded left. The next dangerous Harpenden attack, down the right wing, fizzled out when a kick-to-chase bobbled over the dead ball line. Jon Joyce finally got a run with the ball, but when it went loose, a hopeful Harpenden kick was followed up more enthusiastically by the visitors, and a two-on-one situation produced a try in the corner for their left wing, well converted.

Chiswick slowly improved, as they had to, with Rikki Darroch first to the ball after the kick-off. A lineout in the visitors’ 22 was followed by sustained pressure close to the Harpenden line, and then another five metre lineout. The pressure was maintained and after numerous players had got within feet of the line, it was Darroch who found a way under the opposition and over the line. Gabs Lowe missed the kick. The Chiswick pack were beginning to dominate the scrums, and Luca Vannini was trying hard to find a way past the Harpenden pack as it became clear that Harpenden were dangerous on the wings. With quick ball from the scrums Chiswick at last began to use their backs, with Reggie Regan orchestrating the moves, and their forwards’ running ability, with Joyce, Brooks and Rowan Tonkin all making good ground with surging runs. The lineouts were less successful, as a couple of penalty kicks to touch failed to produce any ball.

The second half started scrappily, but as Chiswick stepped up the pressure, Jon Gibson forced his way through on the blind-side, but was stopped short of the line. A good Chiswick maul took play well into the Harpenden 22, and after Jan Joubert had gone close. Joyce forced his way over near the left corner. Lowe placed the ball sloping backwards, and calmly slotted a beauty.

Adie Lewis and Brooks both did well in difficult defensive situations before Lowe made a good long run to relieve the pressure, as Harpenden tried to get back into the game. Hallett came back and the game went away from the visitors as home confidence increased. A series of moves developed, with Chiswick retaining the ball well, and with Lowe coming into the line on every possible occasion. Eventually it was Vannini who managed to plonk the ball on the line to put Chiswick ahead, the kick failing. Harpenden’s scrum half made a dazzling run from his ten metre line, but after some last ditch home tackling he failed to find the nippy left wing in time and the move petered out.

The final, bonus point, try was a slightly contentious penalty try, awarded rather early on as the Harpenden scrum collapsed backwards in all sorts of trouble. Very unusually, all the Chiswick tries came from the pack or scrum-half, and even in the dying moments the backs were mainly performing defensive duties.


Chiswick team: - Shattock, Dibble, Tonkin, Hood, Joyce, Adams, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Brooks, Regan, Gibson, Lewis, Lowe. Subs:- Joubert

September 30, 2013