Chiswick's Dream In Ashes

Rugby Result: Doncaster Phoenix 18 Chiswick 13

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With Doncaster calmly controlling this match, ten minutes to go and the score 18-3, an under-performing Chiswick team suddenly seemed to receive a massive adrenalin shock, and suddenly the crowd of 300 or so was galvanised into shrieks of anxiety in one camp, and encouragement in the other. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope that this extremely talented Chiswick team might be able to strut their stuff at Twickenham after all. Alas the hill was just too high.

The match started inauspiciously. The home kick-off was good, and somehow the ball wove its way through the Chiswick team. A peremptory hand on the chest floored the following-up Doncaster player, and the home team were three points to the good. At this rate it would be 240-0. (The guilty player proceeded to have a huge game, tackling his heart out and being involved in everything ). Doncaster competed quite well at the early lineouts but looked nervous when the Chiswick backs had the ball.

Within six minutes Chiswick had equalised. Chris Jones came away with the ball after it had gone loose in a challenge on the home winger. He quickly released Marc Jones down the wing. The Chiswick captain could not free himself completely from the defenders, but got in a good cross kick, Lewis Hammond, following up was right on top of the defender, who gave away a penalty right in front of the posts. Keith Luckman looked up and slotted one of the easiest of the season.

It was at this stage that Chiswick fluffed their lines. A couple of mistakes by the home team gave them chances to have five metre lineouts. The first was adjudged not straight. The second was perfect, and perfectly taken by Chris Jones. The peel round by hooker/thrower Jan Joubert followed the book. The problem was that back row injuries had deprived Chiswick of one of their crash ball specialists, and gutsy Graham Robbings made some minus yardage. The ball was retained however, but the ensuing passing was poor, and was followed by a crossing infringement.

At the other end of the pitch, Chiswick proceeded to give away another kickable penalty, and Doncaster were back in front. Nerves were evident almost every time either set of backs got the ball. The home team were overly conservative in their moves, and Chiswick a little too eager to put their wingers away. Doncaster began to show a bit more confidence, and after missing a penalty kick, a burly Yorkshireman got away down the touchline. Chiswick full back Lewis Hammond put in a brave tackle after others had missed, and got laid out for his pains. Strangely the referee let play continue, and Chiswick struggled to survive the next minute. Doncaster had a head of steam now, though, and their inside centre found a way through the Chiswick defence and scored wide out. The conversion kick was good, and deservedly just scraped over.
John Gibson almost pulled off an interception that would certainly have led to a try, as each team made errors in their attempts to spread the play. The forwards were doing silly things as well. Chiswick e.g. wheeled the home pack through 90 degrees, only to lose their own ensuing put in. At half time Elliott Pickering came on, in place of Tom Adams, who was suffering in the shoulder region.

Early in the second half, Doncaster had their moment of enterprise. Their no.12 decided to run back what had appeared to be quite a nice high up-and-under kick from Chiswick. With great determination he forced his way well into the Chiswick defence before handing the ball on to a supporting player. The ball was then moved quickly out to the right-winger who scored in the corner. There was no conversion. It was quite a Chiswick try.

With home confidence high, Chiswick had a little more room, in effect, and a neat punt by Ben Cheston nearly put Jones away. Both Chiswick props were now replaced, adding substantial bulk to the pack, but losing all the wisdom of age. A quick passing movement got Ben Cheston away down the wing, but his eventual pass out failed to find Simon ( splatter’em ) Slattery. Said Slattery’s subsequent chip into space found Chris Jones , and Chiswick were slowly coming alive. Aran Delaney, Steffan Davies and Alex Matulick were involved in the next Chiswick move as Chiswick desperately tried to move the ball.

The introduction of Tom Alcraft for a completely-knackered looking Fryer, who had put in more than his fair share of tackles, signalled the revival. After a couple of false starts, quick movement across the pitch gives Slattery another chance, and he is in the home 22 before being bundled into touch. More Chiswick pressure, and they have a scrum in the home 22. Elliott Pickering picks up at the back of the scrum, times his pass to Alcraft, and while the defence waits for him to pass he strolls through and scores. Luckman’s kick falls just short.
Pandemonium reigns. Home supporters rush back out of the bar, and Chiswick are on fire. Alcraft takes the kick, feeds Cheston. Cheston to Slattery, finally submerged in the home 22. Ball available. Out to Al Pickering, to Luckman and then to Marc Jones. The captain scores in the corner, and everything is possible. Time is the problem, and as the clock runs down the Chiswick players, having given their all, have to face the sad truth. To lose in the Semis is hell.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Davies ), Joubert, Campbell ( Matulick ), Delaney, Jones, Adams ( Pickering E ), Robbings, Pickering A, Fryer ( Alcraft ), Luckman, Slattery, Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Hammond. Other subs not used :- Ben Maguire, Matt Vinden, Chris Hallewell

March 27, 2008