Giantkillers Strike Again
Rugby Result :Harrow 10 Chiswick 23
To prove their earlier victory over the League leaders was no fluke, Chiswick proceeded to outplay them comprehensively again at Stanmore. This was a team performance with everybody pulling their weight, and the defence being so good that Harrow did not cross the Chiswick goal-line once. A dog prevented a start on time, but when the whistle went it was Chiswick who gave the impression of a Swiss locomotive, with Harrow watching in awe. Jon Gibson put in the first crunching tackle of the match, with Josh Noble a close second. The first Chiswick attack started just inside their ten metre line, with Joe Grindle given the ball. Thirteen seconds, seven or eight would-be tacklers and seventy metres later, the irresistible crown prince of jink touched down under the posts for almost certainly the best individual try of the season. Simon Hallett stroked the ball over to a deathly silence from the goodly crowd of home supporters.
The Chiswick pack managed to hold the vaunted home eight at the first, and subsequent scrums, the front row of Tom Dean, James Dibble and Marko Chraplywyj performing outstandingly, and with Harrow being given no room outside the scrum, the home team were only fitfully dangerous. Their main thrust came from the strong-running back row, often operating in the middle of the back line, with numbers seven and eight proving difficult to stop. After ten minutes Harrow pulled three points back with a penalty kick. Luca Vannini was resorting to well-executed high kicks over the pack when Chiswick were occasionally under pressure, which proved a good tactic. The hard-working Mike Fatsis was soon forced off by injury, and replaced by Phil Gray.
The visitors now moved into a purple period, probing the home defence at all points, before eventually achieving an overlap. It was right wing Dan Sutherland who benefitted, somehow being in position to score in the left corner, with the game twenty eight minutes old. Hallett could not get the conversion. A lineout infringement, however, soon gave him another, easier chance, and the resolute fly half, who also seemed to be involved in trying to rescue every breakdown for the visitors, took the chance to pile on the agony for Harrow. It was Grindle who started the move leading to the next score, kicking cross-field after skipping round a couple of defenders on the right touch-line. Gray gave chase, and panicked a Harrow man into carrying the ball over the line. After much Chiswick pressure following the five metre scrum, Harrow infringed, and Hallett took the Chiswick total to eighteen with the last kick of the first half.
Chiswick started the second half as they had the first, and it was not long before they moved within scoring range of the home line with a sustained fifteen man move. It was Mikhail Alhoa who powered over for a very popular try. No conversion though, and Harrow’s ire was up. They began to work their way into the match, and with twenty five minutes left they still had a chance. Chiswick would still not give an inch, however, and Harrow had to fight to gain any ground, not being helped by a lack of pace in their threes. A few penalty kicks helped their cause, however, and once camped in the Chiswick 22, they kept the pressure hard on until the referee awarded them a penalty try, after various perceived Chiswick infringements. With the inevitable conversion, Harrow were back in it.
In the last twenty minutes Harrow had a slight edge in possession, but had no clear cut opportunity to score as the determined Chiswick team ran the clock down efficiently, whilst still threatening a break. Sutherland almost created a scoring chance with a neat chip over his opponent, but Chiswick were very happy with just a win.
Chiswick team :- Dean, Dibble, Chraplywyj, Joyce, Fatsis, Alhoa, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Steer, Gibson, Sutherland, Grindle; Gray, Cooper, Lowe
February 12, 2015