Chiswick Flirting With Relegation After Another Defeat

Rugby Result : Chiswick 25 Sevenoaks 36


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Chiswick struggled through this match, particularly in the second half, with the referee’s decisions. With Sevenoaks having a slight advantage in the lineouts, the scrums, where Chiswick clearly had the greater shove, should have provided a good share of the ball. These set pieces, however, were punctuated regularly by the whistle - quite reasonably early on for crooked feeds or movement before the ball was put in, but later in the game for no obvious reason (perhaps stability of the scrum?). When a Chiswick player (not the captain) eventually enquired for a reason, he was yellow-carded.

This may all sound like sour grapes, but with Brighton pulling out all the plugs, results are now crucial to Chiswick’s survival in London 1 (South), and this was a match, with a good crowd of supporters, where they were clearly in with a chance. Sevenoaks, a good team, started competently, using their large No.1 in the middle of the back line to try to punch holes in the Chiswick defence. Chiswick were up to this one, and responded with good breaks by Marc Copperwheat (from a lineout) and Dan Sutherland. The support was a little slow, however, and an attempted obstruction on Sutherland, which slowed him down as he chased his kick ahead was not spotted by the referee.

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A rare Chiswick high tackle allowed Sevenoaks to slot an early penalty, and the visitors were soon back in the home 22, with a scrum close to the home line. The splendid Chiswick pack pushed Sevenoaks back at a great rate of knots, won the ensuing scrum and cleared the danger. Not far enough, however, and the ball was soon under the control of the Sevenoaks backs. A clever move involving a dummy run by the wing, with the full back coming in to the line fooled the home defence, and after ten minutes it was 0-10. Chiswick stormed back, and suddenly, from broken play, James Dibble emerged to sprint into the Sevenoaks 22. The ball was recycled efficiently out towards the right wing, but a slow pass allowed the defence to get in position, and Max Burrows’ surge was halted. Copperwheat was again involved before Chiswick gained a penalty, and Simon Hallett collected the three points.

Russ Dovey and Tom Steer combined to set the latter clear from the kick-off, but again the support was slow, and momentum was lost. Chiswick were now on the charge, however, and looked dangerous. After Burrows had just failed to get the ball to Dan Godfrey who was on a trademark diagonal run Hallett slotted another easy penalty kick. With Chiswick temporarily on top, a good move from a lineout was spoiled by a poor pass which Dan Purkiss, who had ghosted into the line, could not quite take. Sevenoaks were soon probing again, and their scrumhalf exposed some poor Chiswick tackling in the home 22 before finding a supporting player on his shoulder, who scored under the posts. 17-6 after the conversion.

A scrum infringement soon gave them a good chance, and a kick to the corner gave them a 5 metre lineout. The throw-in was poor, though, and that chance went begging. Possession was retained, however, and after thwarted moves to the left of the posts, rapid ball out to the right gave Sutherland room to run at and through the defence. The conversion made it 17-14. Sevenoaks stormed back, aided by a Chiswick knock-on of the kick-off, but a forward pass ended a promising move in which their full back almost got his second try. Chiswick then had a disorganised patch of play, culminating with Sevenoaks being awarded a penalty for an intentional knock-on. A quick tap led to Sevenoaks getting a crucial second try, duly converted, just before half-time.

Chiswick were smartly out of the blocks after the interval, with Sutherland and Steer rocketing through the opposition only to mess the move up with an unexpectedly rotten pass. Mistakes soon became prevalent as the play got scrappier, but defences remained generally good, with some great tackles by some of the home players. Dovey did well to recover an overlong throw at a Sevenoaks lineout, and the ball was cycled swiftly out to Sutherland, but the final pass was deemed just forward. Gabs Lowe then came on for Dovey as Chiswick were reduced to fourteen by the yellow card, and chose to kick when for once the whole back division was in space outside, waiting for a pass. Sevenoaks seized the extra man opportunity well, and soon scored another converted try. Chiswick came back strongly, but a good run by Dan Purkiss ended with some poor passing, and an attempted touch kick by an exposed Lowe from the breakdown was charged down and retrieved by Sevenoaks’ No.4, leading to an unconverted try.

Chiswick, restored to fifteen as time was running out, now showed their spirit, with Sam Leslie-Miller leading the charge, and after some dodgy-looking play, with a whistle expected at any moment, sub Jon Joyce touched down in the left corner, Hallett’s kick failing. A penalty then allowed Steer to put his left foot kick into the right corner, and with Leslie-Miller in control the home pack mauled for the posts. The Sevenoaks method of stopping the maul led to a penalty try decision by the referee, and Hallett added the points. Too little, too late.

Chiswick team:- Shattock, Dibble, Newman, Hobbins, Allen-Clarke, Copperwheat, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, Purkiss, Burrows, Godfrey, Steer, Sutherland; Filbey, Joyce, Lowe.

February 20, 2017

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