Two Late Tries Deprive Chiswick of Much Needed Win
Rugby Result : Tottonians 35 Chiswick 29
Chiswick almost pulled off a thrilling victory in a cracking match on the south coast, with their dominant pack ruling the scrums and mauls, but the home backs were always a threat, with well-worked moves orchestrated by their fly-half.
Chiswick were well in command at the start, with almost total possession, the first home scrum ending with the Tottonians pack slithering back on the slippery pitch. With Dan Sutherland running clearance kicks back at pace, things looked hopeful for Chiswick. Good tackling prevented the speedy James Bunbury from off-loading after a good break. Simon Allen-Clarke made a break from a maul, and got within a few yards of the home line, but a knock-on spoiled a good chance.
Nine minutes in Chiswick opened their account after the home scrum half was trapped behind a reversing five metre scrum, the ball going loose and being snaffled by Chiswick's captain and No.8, Sam Leslie-Miller. Simon Hallett got the conversion.
Tottonians began to get a bit of possession, and it required an excellent tackle by Bunbury to prevent a score after the home backs had shown their pace. After another nine minutes, however, they equalised, with their No.12 weaving his way past slipping defenders before off-loading for a score under the posts.
Soon Tottonians were in front, after a break nearly to the line was well stopped by Dan Sutherland before a forward coming into the home backs line created an overlap for a good score. The two points were duly added. Now the Chiswick pack went into overdrive, holding a couple of players up to gain scrums. Pressure mounted on the home team, and Chiswick were close to scoring when they were penalised for a crossing offence. Bringing Dan Godfrey in to the No.10 slot almost brought an instant reward, after which Chiswick laid siege to the home line, with Dan Purkiss and then Sam Hobbins getting very close. Rikki Darroch tried the burrowing line, but it was that man Leslie-Miller again who finally got over for an unconverted try. 14-12 at half time.
Chiswick kept up the momentum in the second half, and after sustained pressure by their pack had taken play close to the home line, a narrow side move gave Purkiss the chance to dive over the line to restore Chiswick's lead. Hallett produced a great conversion from wide out and then soon put Chiswick further ahead with a penalty goal after a home player was yellow-carded for collapsing a maul.
Chiswick unfortunately now had a poor minute or two with a couple of mistakes, allowing the home team back in, but again it was Sutherland to the rescue, followed by a good take by Jon Joyce in the crucial lineout which followed. 14-man Tottonians had to raise their game, and did so with some surprisingly good mauling. Within a couple of minutes of Chiswick deciding to bring a couple of subs on, Tottonians scored a converted try. Chiswick responded well, and after several phases Hallett drew one player and passed to Sutherland who romped over to stretch the lead again.
Chiswick had now lost their scrum dominance, however, and despite some heroic tackling notably by, amongst others, Hobbins, sadly conceded two late tries as the home team, cheered on by a delighted crowd and now getting much quicker ball from the scrums, produced some scintillating running rugby. The two points gained were poor reward for a huge team effort, however, and Chiswick will regret the chances spoilt by the odd bit of careless play.
Chiswick team:- Shattock, Dibble, Newman, Hobbins, Allen-Clarke, Joyce, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, Purkiss, Godfrey, Bunbury, Steer, Sutherland; Cooper, Biss, Lowe