Chiswick Cope Better In Stop-Start Game

Rugby result : Chiswick 21 St Albans 7

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Neither side could convince the referee of their good intentions in this match, which remained tense until near the end, given the determination of the Saints’ forwards to convert their extra power into points. Chiswick, however, with a clear advantage behind the scrum, were determined and organised, and weathered the storm.

Keith Luckman, with the kicking duties in the absence of Tom Duffy, fluffed an attempted touch kick from a penalty, but his next effort, ten minutes into the game, bore fruit, with the Saints’ defender knocking on. Although losing the scrum, Chiswick gained another when the Saints’ No.8, in turn, knocked on, and this time a good heel gave Luckman time to run diagonally and slip an inside pass to the electric Ben Cheston. He sprinted through an invisible defence to score near the posts, and Luckman converted.

A good counter-attack by the Saints, started by their prop with a convincing dummy, ended near the home line when their winger gave an immaculate pass to Marc Jones, the Chiswick winger. Both sides made mistakes, as the play swung excitingly from one direction to the other. One of the Saints’ centres broke several tackles, only to be smothered by Tom Adams, as the home defence was given a good testing. Adie Lewis did well to pin the arms of another Saints’ back, having been forced to leave his winger to make the tackle. Suddenly Luckman had the ball on his 22, left side, with a bit of space down the touchline. He needed a speedster outside him, and there was Cheston. One pass sufficed, as Cheston evaded the front row man in his path, and outpaced the pursuing threequarters. With Luckman’s easy kick, that was 14-0 after 22 minutes.

A tapped penalty five metres from the visitors’ line just before half-time nearly brought points, but John Gibson’s neat pass inside to Stuart Parmeter was well anticipated, and Chiswick then knocked on.

The immaculate Lewis Hammond naturally produced a perfect kick off for the second half, and soon Chiswick were battering at the visitors’ line, with Jan Joubert and Parmeter prominent. St Albans had a couple of breaks, and then got some reward for all their efforts, when Chiswick went to sleep, and a blind-side break from a scrum left Hammond facing a speedy winger near his line. His tackle was good, but the Saints’ No.8, following up, did well to take one tackle and then lunge over the line. An excellent conversion followed, and there was one score in it.
Chiswick immediately produced a brilliant riposte, with Jones switching to the left wing, and then lulling the opposition into a dreamy state, whilst awaiting a scrum on the Chiswick left, as he appeared to be having great difficulty in replacing a contact lens. The pack were going backwards, but nevertheless produced ball for the Chiswick backs, and there was Jones, under full sail, surging through the middle for an impressive try, well converted by Luckman. Ten minutes gone, and the status quo restored.

Al Pickering, immense throughout for Chiswick, made his first mistake of the match when he managed to deflect the kick off towards his own line, after the catchers had missed it. Unfortunately it found its way into enemy hands, and Chiswick had to defend a scrum five. Another penalty for offside followed, but then Al Pickering made amends, nicking the ball from the oppositions hands after the scrum. What a player. However, he was then spotted doing some illegal lifting of an opposition player, whose overt physical response ensured that both players were sin-binned.

The match was ebbing away from the Saints when Parmeter followed the others into the sin bin ( “persistent moaning” about the failure of the referee to deal with a binding problem in the front row, apparently ). The remaining thirteen Chiswick players defended well up to the final whistle, Elliott Pickering, exhausted by his efforts to play lock, dealing manfully with suddenly being given the ball in space – completely empty space, with absolutely no support.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson ( Warriner ), Joubert, Parmeter, Hood, Pickering E, Adams, Robbings ( Fletcher ), Pickering A, Febrache ( Feltham ), Luckman, Lewis, Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Hammond

November 9, 2009