Rugby Result - Chiswick 21 Finchley 22
In front of by far the largest crowd of the season, the top two had a thriller of a ding-dong encounter, with the visitors’ forwards dominating in some areas of play, and the home threes putting together some scintillating moves. Neither side gave an inch, and the final whistle blew over a pitch littered with collapsed bodies.
After an early penalty miss by Chiswick, who were on top at the beginning, Finchley were roared back by their travelling supporters, and went into the lead with a successful drop goal. After Chiswick full back Sam Brown had produced a try-saving tackle on his opposite number, and right wing Lee Miller had had a couple of good runs, Finchley went further ahead. Penalised for pulling down a maul, Chiswick failed to defend the ensuing five-metre lineout, and the Finchley pack got over in the left corner.
After Alistair Pickering achieved a turnover in midfield, a good kick by Keith Luckman put Chiswick on the attack. A knock-on at the lineout gave Chiswick a scrum, and Luckman linked up directly with Miller, who gave the ball to Brown. Brown out to sizzling Simon Slattery on the left wing, defender drawn and a pass back inside to the supporting Miller. Wonderful stuff – a tale of two wings. Pity the conversion was pulled just wide. More home pressure followed, but good moves were thwarted by knock-ons. Chiswick were not to be denied, however, and Luckman and centre Ben Hinze combined to send Brown away again. Brown out to Miller, who is caught just short of the line, but gets the ball inside to Luckman, who forces his way over the line. Again the kick is just wide.
A neat move from the base of a collapsed maul nearly saw the Finchley flanker through to the line, but Chiswick were penalised, and although the maul was halted just short of the line this time, quick handling led to the Finchley wing getting over in the left corner. No conversion, but a three point lead at half time for the visitors.
Minutes into the second half and Chiswick are back in front. Brown again comes into the line, gives to Hinze who breaks through and puts Slattery into the left corner in another beautiful move. No conversion, but the atmosphere is intense. The play goes back and forth, and at intervals the lead is exchanged as the Finchley scrum half and Luckman swap penalties. Chiswick No.8 Nick Pritchard is denied a well-deserved try when the referee deems the final pass just forward. The Finchley prop is held up on the line illegally, and they slot the ensuing kick.
With Finchley one point ahead and a couple of minutes only to go, all looks lost for Chiswick when, with Finchley feet from the home line, a desperate Chiswick hand is spotted in the ruck, and the player is sin-binned. One last throw of the dice, and swift handling after a tapped penalty puts the dynamic Miller away from within his own half. Through a hobbling defender, past another – one to beat. The cover tackle is all-embracing however, and Miller is in touch as the final whistle goes. What a match.
Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Pickering E, Campbell, Smith, Williams, Maguire, Pickering A, Pritchard ( Robbings ), Ambrose, Luckman, Slattery, Hinze, Lovell, Miller, Brown
February 21, 2006