Chiswick Maintain Unbeaten Run

Rugby Result: Chiswick 11 Kilburn Cosmos 7

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Having been selected Club of the month by “Rugby World” magazine, it would have been embarrassing for Chiswick to lose this match. The ultimate victory maintained Chiswick’s marvellous run of unbeaten games (25 to date), but Kilburn, whose pack had an edge over the Chiswick eight, had chances of winning which ultimately went begging. Both sides dropped the ball too often, and there were few of the flowing moves that have been such a feature of Chiswick’s season.

Chiswick’s full back Pete Townsend had a lot of important tackles to put in early on as Kilburn hurled themselves at the home team in disciplined waves. They looked certain to score as the ball was passed along the threes only a couple of metres from the home line, but the referee saw something wrong, and fly half John Hall relieved the pressure with a good touch kick.

Kilburn were back on the attack immediately, but a rather wayward pass by their fly half was cleverly volleyed back behind their line by Keith Luckman, playing at inside centre. A kind bounce, away from touch, and he retrieved the ball well into the Kilburn half. The speedy Lee Miller, following up, came off his wing and shot inside Luckman to score an excellent try. Luckman’s kick was pushed inches wide.

Lock Chris Jones was next to catch the eye, dispossessing the Kilburn centre after a sustained move by the visitors. Kilburn still had most of the possession, and a quick break by their scrum half tested Townsend’s defence. Scrum half Tom Alcraft was having to put in a lot of tackles for Chiswick, and also did a good job of snaffling the odd loose ball.

Chiswick’s midfield defence was good, as always, but Kilburn nearly always retained possession. Elliot Pickering at No.8 was doing a good job of carrying from the scrums, but the holes refused to appear in the Kilburn defence. Chiswick’s pack then lost a scrum, and the home defence was creaking. Roman Zakrevsky put in a great hit on the Kilburn outside centre, but within a minute the Kilburn pack mauled over the line for a try that was well converted. Half an hour in and Chiswick were up against it. A good chance for Kilburn went begging when their winger knocked on just before half time.

The Chiswick pack succeeded in wheeling the scrum through 90 degrees only to lose their own put in at the beginning of the second half. The game was very scrappy, with any open play destroyed by good tackling on both sides. Chiswick’s American lock Aram Delaney tried to beat the tactics by taking a quick tapped penalty only for the referee to pull him back. The Kilburn mauls were becoming more successful, and when their No.4 escaped from one and belted down the touchline, Zakrevsky did well to stop him in his tracks. Townsend was immediately prominent with another crunching tackle, and Alcraft with an amazing retrieval of a pass going behind him.

A thrust for the line by Pickering was followed by a quick movement across the pitch, but the final pass was poor. Luckily, Kilburn had strayed offside, and Luckman put Chiswick in front with a fairly simple kick. Minutes later a lineout infringement gave Luckman the chance to put Chiswick further ahead. Against the wind the leading Chiswick points scorer slotted a beauty, to provide a bit of breathing space.

A late unsuccessful surge for the corner by Kilburn left several knackered Chiswick bodies on the ground, Jones, Pickering and Campbell amongst them. Miller had to produce a good smother tackle on the Kilburn flanker as they headed for the line again, and Chiswick, starved of possession could only defend obdurately. A knock-on stopped the next attack, as the Kilburn fly half was targeted.

Sub Robbie McLean produced a great hit to the cheers of the faithful few supporters, and a knock-on divested Kilburn of their last chance of glory. Coach Andy Barrington praised the efforts of the whole team, as was only fitting. And now for Doncaster, and the semi-final of the E.D.F Junior Vase, to be played on the national league pitch of the Doncaster Knights.

Chiswick team :- Matulick ( Donaldson ), Maguire, Campbell, Jones, Delaney, McGranaghan ( Samson ), Fletcher, Pickering, Alcraft, Hall ( McLean ), Miller, Luckman, Cheston, Zakrevsky, Townsend

March 10, 2008