Chiswick Tough It Out
Rugby Result: Chiswick 19 Hackney 7
This was no easy win for the hosts against a solid hard-tackling Hackney team, but more inventive play, and (marginally) fewer errors brought a successful conclusion to an exciting game. Hackney dropped the ball at the kickoff, and Chiswick stormed through, with Max Burrows putting in an excellent grubber kick to set up a good position. Chiswick pressured the lineout, and the Hackney centre dropped the ball. Great work by the home team, but to no avail as the referee whistled for a Chiswick offside. This proved to be the first of several occasions in the game when over-eagerness cost the home team. It could have been worse, since long floating passes to by-pass the tacklers, but inviting an interception, occurred too frequently, as far as the home supporters were concerned.
Jon Olley soon had a typical break, which looked certain to produce a try, but the pass to him was deemed forward. Later, Simon Hallett thwacked a great long kick towards the left corner, requiring Hackney to put the ball into touch. With Sam Leslie-Miller taking the catch, and setting up the usual efficient maul, Chiswick went over the Hackney 22, only to knock the ball on. Chiswick had a slight edge in the scrums, but not enough to put the visitors’ scrum half under much pressure. With Hackney on the defence, prop Ben Barkham intercepted a Hackney pass to set up a good period of possession. With the backs lacking penetration, the forwards had a go, and Leslie-Miller was just held by his ankles on his way to the posts.
Hackney soon set up a counter-attack down their left wing, and an isolated Gabs Lowe had to boot a kick down the line into touch. Olley did well to get the ball at the tail of the ensuing lineout, with the Hackney flanker’s hand in his face. After twenty minutes Burrows found a way through, and sprinted down the left touch-line, only for the ball somehow to finish up in the hands of a Hackney player, who found touch. Dan Sutherland followed the same route five minutes later, but again was stopped at the Hackney 22. Hackney had the scrum, but were being pushed back, and Olley collared the ball and carried a few tacklers over the line for the first score. Hallett slotted the conversion.
Hackney wasted an overlap, and then Burrows got in a great tackle to spoil a threatening move. Chiswick went back on the attack, with Sutherland putting in another long run, and then Marc Copperwheat bullocking his way down the middle of the pitch, but half time arrived with no further score.
The second half began with some desultory kicks by the home team, presumably seeking territory, and safe against a team with little counter-attacking intentions. Ten minutes in, Chiswick had a sustained fifteen man attack culminating with Hallett being brought down just short, and the ball being dropped by a Chiswick player when over the line. Chiswick now laid siege to the Hackney line, and it was, inevitably, Burrows who found a diagonal line through the defence to score way out left. The referee smiled, but shook his head as Hallett tried to reduce the range a fraction. Hallett was up to the challenge, however, with possibly his best kick of the season.
With fifteen minutes to go, a sustained home attack was capped with another fine try by Burrows, who recovered well from a half-trip to sprawl his way over the line. Hallett’s kick was short, and as Chiswick relaxed a little, the final minutes belonged to a resurgent Hackney, who got a well-deserved try in the left corner. Chiswick held on, but never looked like getting the bonus point try.
December 11, 2017