Chiswick Sparkle In The Sun

Rugby Result : Chiswick 17, Tottonians 14


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With Parliament under attack again, Chiswick chose the appropriate moment to produce their best form of the season and blow up the aspirations of the Southampton team who started the day in third place in the league. Right from the start the home pack got stuck into the relatively light Tottonians’ eight, producing a fifteen metre maul to take play well away from their own 22. Tottonians proceeded to use a cold northerly wind to gain territory, forcing Chiswick on to the defensive. With Tom Steer and Jamie Millais on the wings, Simon Hallett forming a shield in the midfield, and Gabs Lowe having his best game at fullback, Chiswick absorbed the pressure well after scrum half Russ Dovey had got them out of their first hole with some good anticipation.

Cold fingers excused some early passing mistakes from the visitors, soon giving Chiswick the chance to get upfield, the home forwards, with returnee Jon Joyce to the fore, making hard metres against quick tackling Tottonians. A splendid Chiswick maul took play to within five metres of the visitors’ line, only for centre Max Burrows to knock on – cold fingers again. As Tottonians counter-attacked confidently, the speedy James Bunbury put in the first of several saving tackles. Sam Biss then saved a dodgy situation where he found himself faced with a large number of Tottonians and little support. The referee was very lenient with, e.g. angled lineout throws, and the Tottonians No.11 almost got right through the home defence after a super-quick delivery from one such lineout. The visitors then got a penalty for a subsequent handling offence, and opted for a simple kick at goal- which they then missed. Within sight of the line again they failed with a dropped goal attempt. Riki Darroch caught the Chiswick kick-off, ( a first for the season?), and a kick brought a Tottonians’ knock-on, but no further joy.

Sub Ed East, on for a winded Tom Steer, hit the accelerator just in time as a couple of tacklers converged on him as he caught a long kick. Chiswick confidence was growing, and Bunbury almost made it to the line. Sam Leslie-Miller, in everything, got an important tackle in on the elusive Tottonians’ No.8 as he was trying to run the ball out of the 22. Hallett was the next to suffer cold fingers when in a good attacking position. He made amends right on half time, however, with a tackle-breaking burst down the left wing, followed by a deft one-handed inside flip to Leslie-Miller, who romped gleefully over the line. Hallett’s kick just failed.

Wounded Tottonians came back strongly in the second half, and were soon ahead when their No.11 streaked through a small gap in the home defence to touch down by the posts. On the attack again, the visitors’ No.21 tore down the middle, and looked certain to score before Lowe got in the perfect tackle – probably the turning point of the match as the visitors’ momentum was reduced, and home confidence increased . East proved necessarily powerful in the tackle as Tottonians kept up the pressure, however, eventually getting another score, as their No.4 stretched over the home line with bodies everywhere. The conversion followed, and the gap was 9 points.

Chiswick were soon grateful for the rolling sub rule, as one player after another had to come off with e.g. hamstring, calf or shoulder problems, often getting a only short rest before having to forget the injury and carry on. At least three others hobbled but stayed on. Confidence was still high, however, and it was James Dibble who started the next scoring attack, retrieving the ball at a lineout, and setting Stewie Parmeter off on a twisting surge. Joyce, Hallett and Bunbury joined in before the ball reached Lowe, who got the touchdown wide out on the left. Hallett calmly slotted the conversion. With time running out, both teams stepped up the pressure, but it was the underdogs who got the score, a kick to the corner by Lowe leading to a touchdown by Steer, after apparent mistakes in the visitors’ defence. Chiswick got very close to scoring a bonus point try, near the end, but were very happy to take the win.

Chiswick team:- Shattock, Dibble, Newman; Hobbins, Joyce, Biss, Darroch,R., Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, Steer, Burrows, Bunbury, Millais, Lowe; Parmeter, Darroch,B., East

November 7, 2016

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