Patched-up Home Team Prove Too Strong for Visitors

Rugby Result - Chiswick 17 Old Merchant Taylors 12

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A patched-up home team finally proved just too strong for the fourteen men of OMT. With contradictory views about relegation floating around, this was, or wasn’t, an important match. Both teams tried to play open rugby, and generally succeeded, but defences were on top, and scoring opportunities few.

The first tackle on the boulder-like OMT No.5 was successfully put in by Alistair Pickering, just back from a long period of recuperation. The visitors soon started using the diagonal supporting breeze by kicking long for the left corner. The predictable maul followed, but the home pack, stiffened by the return of James Oliver, and with Jan Joubert in rollicking mood, resisted well, and although OMT kept the pressure up, there was no way through. Keith Luckman’s defensive kicking was really high class, and eventually Chiswick worked their way into the opponents’ half. From a lineout and subsequent maul, Luckman slipped the ball inside to Ben Cheston, and a well-timed pass to Adrian Lewis allowed him to put Roman Zakrevsky away with just enough room to squeeze in at the corner. The kick failed.

The Chiswick tackling was impressive, with Cheston and Euan Smith as well as Pickering prominent in this respect. It was a desperate tackle on the Chiswick line by Luckman, however, knocking the ball out of the would-be scorer’s hands, which prevented an equalising try for OMT, following a neat passage of play. A minute later their outside centre did score, after a heel against the head as OMT got temporarily on top in the scrums. The kick failed.

With a number of minor injuries, mainly sustained by OMT, the play was scrappy in the second half. Chiswick had a good spell in the visitors’ 22 after a break down the left wing, and after Mark Hookham had been held out by a high tackle, John Lovell dummied the ensuing tapped penalty one way and gave the ball to Oliver. The veteran cruised over the line and got close enough to the posts for Luckman’s kick to be almost a formality.

Chiswick went further ahead when Pickering broke from the back of a maul formed around Luckman after the latter made a break towards the left corner. He slipped the ball to Lewis, who struggled over the line with Zakrevsky’s offer to carry it over spurned. Pickering then did well to pick up a loose ball in midfield, only for his attempted pass to bounce forward off an OMT player, with the referee unsighted as the visitors played on. With Chiswick reduced to 14 by a yellow card offence, the final ten minutes got a bit tense. Hookham tackled the OMT winger into touch feet from the home line, and then the OMT No.13 got a good second try, duly converted, before the referee called halt.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Chraplewczyk, Oliver ( Nicolle ), Smith, Maguire, Pickering, Vinden, Lovell, Luckman, Zakrevsky, Cheston, Lewis, Hookham, Miller

February 28, 2007