League Season Ends On High Note For Chiswick
Rugby Result: Chiswick 18 West London 18
Desperate for a result, the lowly placed visitors piled on the pressure from the off, embarrassing a lethargic Chiswick team with a try in the second minute. The West London No.8 took a clean catch from a lineout in the home 22, and set up a maul that rumbled over the line in a few seconds.
The kick missed, but within a couple of minutes Chiswick were further behind, West London taking the ball from a Chiswick five metre throw, and producing a similar, albeit slower, mauling try. An easier kick, but missed again.
Chiswick were now fully awake, and moved downfield with the wind behind them. The rejuvenated slim-line James Oliver and Jan Joubert were prominent as Chiswick showed they could play the pick-up and surge game, but Marc Jones, at inside centre for this match, was submerged every time he received the ball. Nico Fryer nearly put Al Pickering away and clear, but the pass was adjudged forward.
Alex Matulick did well to take a swirling kick for the Chiswick corner flag cleanly, and then to show a clean(ish) pair of heels to a number of surprised opponents. A well-timed pass out to Simon Slattery on the wing should have given him a chance down the line, but the ball inexplicably fell from the winger’s grasp. Slattery soon redeemed himself, disrupting a potentially dangerous blind-side move after yet another Chiswick lineout failure.
Keith Luckman was having to keep a cool head dealing with passes reaching him on or behind the goal line, but he managed to produce some good long touch kicks. Chiswick eventually won a lineout, in the opponents’ half, courtesy of Elliot Pickering, but were pushed back at their next scrum. Fryer did well to get the ball out to Jones, but the skipper was flattened by unfriendly bodies. The ball was available, though, and went from Fryer to new boy Bryce Dorrian, then via Elliot Pickering to Oliver. He teasingly juggled the ball momentarily, before putting the unsquashable skipper Jones through for the inevitable try under the posts. Luckman stroked the ball over.
Chiswick stepped up the pressure now, with winger Roman Zakrevsky getting into the action with a number of short powerful runs, and were eventually awarded a penalty. Luckman produced another excellent kick. It should have been level at half time, but Chiswick were unluckily penalised from the kick-off, and that was three points conceded.
Chiswick really started to turn it on in the second half, but some great moves foundered on missed passes and knock-ons as the weather deteriorated. Al Pickering, Jan Joubert, Matulick and Oliver were all prominent, but the West London defence gave nothing away. The pressure was maintained, and Dorrian, Al Pickering and Fryer each got very close. New boy Rowan Tonkin joined in the handling moves with noisy gusto as surges by Matulick and Shane Donaldson took the ball close to the visitors’ line, but it was the ubiquitous Al Pickering who finally picked up and dived over to put league champions Chiswick ahead for the first time. Luckman’s kick was pushed wide. As West London began to give away penalties under the home pressure, Fryer kept making his trademark slithery runs, and soon he gained a penalty at a point from which Luckman ( probably in a minority ) reckoned he could reach the posts. The doubting thomases were confounded as the kick floated serenely over the bar.
Five points down, West London were not giving up, and aided by the strengthening wind and a sudden downpour, they profited from a penalty when the cross field kick whistled past the startled Zakrevsky into touch. The wind luckily took the ball away from the visitors at the ensuing lineout, and Matulick tidied up well. The visitors kept setting up mauls, however, and although excellent home defence kept them out for several minutes whilst the Chiswick players were being lashed in their faces by the rain, a score seemed inevitable, and it was appropriately the hard-working West London scrum-half who pivoted and dived over in the corner. The kick from the touchline was never going over as the wind howled and the lightning flashed.
The final whistle went with both teams still battling away, but a draw was about the right result. The bedraggled Chiswick players, undefeated in the league, were first congratulated by coach Andy Barrington, and then reminded that training for next season ( in the London league ) commences in six weeks time. Earlier in the day the second team won their play-off 15-3 to gain promotion in the merit league, so the league season ends on a high note for the club in its anniversary year.
Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Matulick, Delaney, Oliver ( Robbings ), Dorrian, Pickering A, Pickering E ( Tonkin ), Fryer, Luckman, Slattery, Jones, Cheston, Zakrevsky ( Ulstein ) , Hammond
April 16, 2008