Chiswick's Dig Deep To Retain Bowl
Rugby Result: Chiswick 15 Teddington 5
As winter returned, Chiswick took inspiration from their determined surge forward from the low point of last winter, when they were bottom of the league, as Teddington put them under huge pressure in this Middlesex Bowl final.
It came down to team spirit in the end, and the home team have this in abundance.
The first chance of points went to Teddington, but the penalty kick was held up in the wind. The play was cup-typically scrappy, with Keith Luckman putting in long wind-assisted kicks, and both teams appearing to have eighteen players on the field.
Teddington were spurred on by a large and vociferous group of supporters in the crowd of around 150. One passage of play involved a missed touch kick by Teddington, a superb long spin pass across field by the cover defence in the slim shape of Nico Fryer, an ambitious volley forward by Lewis Hammond, reached first by himself, another kick straight into the Teddington’s full back’s hands, a counter-attack, foiled by an attempted interception by the marauding Chiswick captain, Marc Jones, and a knock-on.
Chris Jones at No.8 rose magnificently at a lineout, only to suffer a broken jaw for his efforts. This episode brought merely a penalty, and Chiswick spurned the chance of three points only for Teddington nearly to get an interception try as the ball was spun along a flat home line with the visiting threes right up. Chiswick proceeded to lose their next scrum. Luckman took his next chance of a kick at goal, but the kick ricocheted off the left post just forward of the right post. Human giraffe Mike Samson was a good alternative throw-in target, and he took the next throw cleanly. The delivery was slow, but when Luckman got the ball he found Marc Jones on his shoulder and the Chiswick express ripped past the first defender. Jones then found the sprinter Ben Cheston with a perfect pass for another glorious try, admired even by the distant soccer players. Luckman got his kick central this time.
An interesting cross kick by Fryer for Marc Jones nearly proved disastrous, but Fryer just managed to dispossess the speedy Teddington full back on the counter-attack. A horizontal hailstorm then made viewing difficult, but it was soon apparent that Steffan Davies had been yellow-carded, apparently for a shoulder charge. Teddington took full advantage of this, and after sustained pressure near the home line, their No.8 picked up from the back of the scrum, whose forward momentum had been stopped by a determined Chiswick effort, and dived through the depleted cover to score. The kick failed. Simon Slattery had a couple of thwarted runs, and then it was half time.
Conditions improved a little in the second half, and Chiswick came under increasing pressure. Al Pickering, Aran Delaney and Graham Robbings, John Gibson and Ben Cheston were all rocks in the Chiswick defence, but the Teddington full back was nearly to the home line after a good move sparked by their No.13. Andy Barrington now made a crucial substitution, bringing on Tom Alcraft in place of Fryer, who had covered miles in defence. Still Teddington attacked, but the home defence was resolute.
The home scrum was just holding, but going back, with Jan Joubert, and Elliot and Al Pickering prominent in trying to tidy up the ensuing messes. Eventually a tremendous penalty touch kick by Luckman allowed Chiswick to camp on the Teddington line, and after a couple of thwarted attempts at mauling over, Alcraft scorched round the side of a scrum to score a trademark try. The kick failed, but Chiswick were back in the driving seat. A crucial tackle by Gibson on the Teddington full back led to the final score, via an inspired but cultured left foot kick down field by the multi-talented Al Pickering. Ben Cheston’s sprint for the ball was illegally stopped and the final successful penalty kick by Luckman added a little icing to the cake. What a season!
Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Davies ( Campbell ), Delaney, Samson ( Chraplewczyk ), Pickering A, Robbings ( Maguire ), Jones C ( Pickering E ), Fryer ( Alcraft ), Luckman, Slattery ( Lewis ), Gibson, Cheston, Jones M, Hammond