Chiswick Shade Saracens in Vase Match

Rugby Result - Chiswick 6 Saracens Amateurs 5

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After defeat in the Finals last year, Chiswick are hoping to go one better, but they almost went out in the first round against a hard-working Saracens team. Both sides blended youth with experience, and both had excellent fly halves, but there were major differences. Saracens generally ruled the lineouts ( when the wind didn’t ), and had the edge in the scrums, but Chiswick had the edge outside, especially on the wings, and the first real break was made by Adrian Lewis on the Chiswick right. The ball was eventually knocked out of his hands as he looked round for support, and the rest of the game largely comprised short breaks, in alternating directions, with knock-ons and off sides proliferating. Both sides defended well, and it was rare for the ball to be near the goal line at either end.


Stalwart Marco Chraplewczyk did well to nick one lineout ball on the oppositions’ throw and Ben Maguire got a few flick-backs at the front, which gave some momentum to the Chiswick backs, with Keith Luckman filling in well at scrum half, and Sam Brown doing his utmost to get the new centre pairing going. Both lines were flat, and the tackling good, and the excitement came with chased kicks, and the occasional slip as a defender chased back. Lewis Hammond was a rock at the back for Chiswick, and was never fazed by the onrushing attackers. Saracens missed a penalty kick and the first half finishes scoreless to the satisfaction of the home team, who had been playing into the wind.


Both teams nearly scored at the beginning of the second half, as the play rocketed from end-to-end. A period of intense Sarries pressure required desperate defence, but eventually the ball was turned over, and belted up field. Sarries came back, and mauled over the line, only to lose the ball at the last moment. Centre John Gibson made a great break down the blind-side for Chiswick, only for his pass inside to go fractionally behind the supporting Graham Robbings.


Finally the stalemate was broken, an hour into the game, when Luckman slotted the second of two attempts at a penalty kick. Chiswick were being subjected to a number of mauls, but managed to defend them fairly well. Then a good lineout ball was tidied up by the impressive No.6, Tom Adams, but as he made it available, the ball suddenly shot into the hands of the Sarries scrum half, who showed an impressive turn of pace as he scudded down the blind side touchline, chased all the way, to score in the corner. He failed with the conversion attempt. Hammond’s drop out kick was not one of his best, but the Sarries No.10 made a rare mistake, and his clearance kick was charged down. Reacting sharply as the ball ballooned up, one of the home centres jumped in the air to catch it, and was tackled in mid-air. Penalty to Chiswick, and Luckman made no mistake with the kick as the home supporters held their breath. They continued to hold their breath as the Sarries upped the pressure, and had two quite kickable chances in the last five minutes. The Chiswick nerve held ( just ), and the happy but exhausted home team heard the final whistle with huge relief.


Chiswick team :-  Donaldson, Campbell, Betts, Nicolle, Chraplewczyk, Adams, Robbings, Maguire, Luckman, Brown, Slattery, Gibson, Cheston, Lewis ( Vere ), Hammond


December 12, 2006