Chiswick Storm Armoury
Rugby result- H.A.C. 6 Chiswick 45
The super-smooth lawn behind Armoury House, originally home to “Armourers and Brasiers” in the City of London, was the oasis-like venue for a contest that became more-and-more one-sided as the quest for bonus points becomes the grail in London 2 North West. Chiswick were off the pace in the first half, missing the dynamic presence of Riki Darroch and the bravery of Tom Adams at the break-downs, but improved enormously in the second half, aided by a stiff breeze and a good interval remonstration by the coaches.
The breakdowns caused Chiswick problems from the start, and they were soon three points down after failure to release the ball. They had a scrum advantage however, which Luca Vannini was quick to exploit. Simon Hallett soon put Chiswick on level terms with a relaxed strike which soared over the bar. HAC, not for the last time, then shot themselves in the foot, failing to reach the ten-metre mark with the kick-off. Despite the presence of maestro Sam Hood, Chiswick were having problems in the lineouts, partly due to the wind, and a good opportunity was wasted in the home 22. The small pitch thwarted Joe Grindle’s attempts to run around the opposition when they kindly kicked the ball to him. The sides swapped penalties and then, after Chris Morris had put in a try-saving tackle in front of the posts, HAC missed a simple chance to go three points ahead. Chiswick sniffed danger, and as HAC failed to make progress in mid-field, their fly-half tried one kick too many, anticipated and charged down brilliantly by Hallett, who caught the ball himself and stormed through for the first, critical try. This kick failed, puzzlingly, but just before half-time he converted a penalty.
Chiswick laid siege to HAC in the second half, with the wind, despite valiant efforts by the hosts to mount counter-attacks. The work rate of Vannini, Jon Gibson, Sam Leslie-Miller and James Dibble in particular was remarkable, and the support was always there from the rest of the team. Another successful penalty kick by Hallett was followed by an HAC yellow card for offside. Gibson, having failed to weave through the whole home team, now tried successfully to carry half of them over the line to score an unlikely try, easily converted as the wind was now really in the Chiswick sails. A momentary blip occurred as Chiswick gained their own yellow card, but their defence remained stout as HAC tried to exploit the situation.
In the last twenty minutes Chiswick turned the screw, with converted tries for Hallett, for Vannini/Morris from a maul following a lineout, and for Ady Lewis from a cheeky interception.
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Joubert, Hood, Joyce, Morris, Gray, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, McLaughlin, Gibson, Regan, Lewis, Grindle. Subs:- Tonkin, Walker, John
December 9, 2013