Successful Southern Foray For Chiswick

Rugby Result - Eastleigh 7 Chiswick 18

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Eastleigh never looked comfortable against the northern invaders, but in the opening stages of this E.D.F. Vase encounter, their ability to put in multiple tackles on each player in the renowned Chiswick back division and to get bodies quickly to each breakdown caused the visitors some problems.

The home team should have gone ahead from an early penalty for offside, but the kick shaved the outside of the upright. Chiswick first excursion upfield was successful.

A long touch kick from a penalty was followed by good lineout work, Jan Joubert’s accurate throw being taken cleanly by Sam Hood: Steffan Davies sucked in the tackles and from the ensuing passing movement in the threes Eastleigh were caught offside. Keith Luckman took an easy three points.

The score spurred the home team into a sustained period of pressure, and after three scrums on the Chiswick five metre line, the home No.8 broke and found a queue of supporting three-quarters to his left facing a couple of defenders. The nimble Eastleigh No.13 exploited the situation and skated through a big hole to score near the posts. The conversion duly followed. From the restart Chiswick attacked. A good touch kick by Lewis Hammond was followed by Hood deflecting the home throw enough for the visitors to gain possession. The ball was worked out to Marc Jones on the wing, and it took two determined tacklers to take him into touch. As half time approached Chiswick pressure mounted, and after a penalty kick to touch near the home line Davies and Jones both made ground before Alistair Pickering surged through despairing clutches to touch down. Luckman’s kick faded right.

Early in the second half a poor long kick by Chiswick gained unjustified reward when the unfortunate home winger knocked on in his in-goal area. From the scrum Chiswick kept attacking, and eventually Davies fell over the line with the ball. The referee, having slipped, was unsighted and the try could not be given. A couple of scrums and one five metre lineout later, and Eastleigh nicked the Chiswick throw. Trying to maul out of danger however, their player with the ball had it stolen in turn by prop Shane Donaldson, and No.8 Hansie Bez triumphantly romped over the home line. The kick was a curler that was missing right until the last microsecond, when the remote control suddenly locked in, and the home supporters looked on in disbelief. There was now a glimmer of daylight between the teams.

With Graham Robbings on for Brynley Price, who had had a good game, Chiswick surged forward confidently. What followed was almost unbelievable. At an innocuous home maul in midfield, the Chiswick forwards were joined from the back by Bez, probably still pumped up by the try. He looked like a small boy trying to see over the fence as he tried to reverse the direction of the maul. The referee blew up, and produced not a yellow, but a red card. The crowd was stunned – what was that for? Apparently head-butting.

Suddenly the situation changed. Chiswick had to hold out for twenty-five minutes with fourteen players. Luckily the plucky Eastleigh team was running out of steam, and the Chiswick energy bank could be reinforced by the introduction of more subs. The next home push was critical. A good maul following a home lineout took play to within a couple of metres of the visitors’ line, but finished with the ball in touch.

Another maul, and even Chiswick captain Jones is in there with his forwards and the hard-working scrum half Nico Fryer, resisting the surge. The ball comes out and Robbings throws himself forward. Chiswick are reprieved by a knock-on in the home threes. Chiswick are then pushed back at their next scrum, but Pickering manages to pick up and lay it back successfully.

Lewis Hammond tried to relieve the pressure with a long kick, which he followed up fast, but Eastleigh worked the ball to their fly half who exploited the gap at the back. Winger Adie Lewis did well to spot the danger and got back quickly to cover, taking several tackles before laying the ball back well.

A typical Chiswick counter-attack followed, with Luckman, Ben Cheston and Marc Jones involved before John Gibson over-lapped on the right, taking two tackles and getting the ball back inside to Jones. Eastleigh did very well to snuff this move out, but not in a way approved by the referee. Luckman’s kick at goal curved and wobbled its way over the bar to give Chiswick a great boost.

Hooker Jan Joubert and prop Davies, both magnificent performers on the day, went off to great applause, allowing Gavin Nichols and Kelvin Campbell their moments in the sun. Chris Hallewell soon followed on to the pitch and steamed typically straight into action. From then on the result was never realistically in doubt, although the home crowd did their noisy best to lift their players, expressing disapproval of several forward pass decisions given against their team.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert ( Nichols ), Davies ( Campbell ), Hood, Delaney, Price ( Robbings ), Pickering, Bezuidenhout, Fryer, Luckman, Lewis ( Hallewell ), Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Hammond

January 15, 2008