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Rugby result: Haringey Rhinos 18 Chiswick 34

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With several players unavailable for this rearranged fixture, the Chiswick machine stuttered at first against a Rhinos team well orchestrated by their half backs and with some pace in the back division. The pitch was interesting, with both the ground and the crossbar sloping at one end, and the Rhinos used it to some advantage early on. Ambitiously, Chiswick tried to run the ball out of defence from the first lineout, and

Both teams probed the opposing defences and Keith Luckman, at full back, did well to find a clearance with a clever kick off the outside of the right boot when travelling fast to his left, the ball staying in play, just, and causing the home defence some problems. With the Pickering brothers reunited, the solid Chiswick pack began to get the upper hand, and it was slick handling after a clean lineout take that put Lee Miller in space. He had the legs of a chasing player, but was slowed enough by the defender in front of him to be caught, and this first half-chance was gone.

It was Elliot to Alistair in the lineout which produced the first Chiswick try, after twenty minutes. A withering burst, with hand-offs, and Al found the dynamic Hansie Bezuidenhout up in support. Three or four defenders, whatever, presented no problem as Bez cruised over the line. Tom Duffy was on target with the kick. Haringey surged back, and some excellent handling led to another three points as Chiswick were penalised. John Gibson produced a couple of sizzling midfield breaks as the Chiswick backs began to sort themselves out. Adie Lewis showed great strength in a powerful run with defenders hanging off him. Al Pickering then demonstrated how to turn the ball over, going straight into the home flanker face to face, and taking the ball from him. With a couple of minutes left in the half, Duffy demonstrated his abilities, with a successful 40 metre penalty kick, uphill and against

A brilliant try rocked the Rhinos as the second half got under way. Chiswick, courtesy of Bez, achieved a turnover after some home pressure, and Alex Matulick set off down the line. Elliot Pickering was inside him, and soon got the ball. A long pass out to Tom Alcraft, and Cheston was set loose. The speedster lost his way, but found Lewis in support. With a couple of casual shoulder turns, Lewis wrong-footed two defenders, and chortled through to the posts. Duffy added the points.

Haringey came back with an excellent maul, ending with most of their pack well over the Chiswick line. When they all went down, the referee had little hesitation in awarding the try. The kick failed, but home spirits rose, and Chiswick had to up their play, which they did. Duffy just missed a penalty kick, but then Alcraft had to go off, with a “stinger”, and Luckman went to scrum-half, with Graham Robbings coming on, ( reluctantly at right wing ). Slick lineout work led to the next try, the ball being shipped fast along the line, with Lewis coming in from full back. Drawing the last defender, in approved style, Lewis slipped the ball out, and suddenly, Robbings was less reluctant, as he raced over the line. Duffy had no problem with the kick, and the Chiswick machine was purring again.

Their scrum had been solid all afternoon, and when Bez broke on the blind side, alarm bells were ringing. Miller still had a lot to do when he got the ball, but a couple of slalom turns later he was touching down in the corner, with a flummoxed defence behind him. The try deserved, and got, a conversion. The Rhinos were not finished, and got a good try in the corner after working the blind side. With the touch judges disagreeing over the conversion, ( oddly, Chiswick saying yes, and Rhinos no ), the referee decided yes, and the match was not quite over. It was when Duffy kicked another penalty.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Pickering E, Matulick ( Parmeter ), Delaney, Tonkin, McConnell ( Adams ), Pickering A, Bezuidenhout, Alcraft ( Robbings ), Duffy, Miller, Gibson, Cheston, Lewis, Luckman

March 3, 2009