Cheston’s Chiswick finish Finchley

Rugby result: Finchley 15 Chiswick 34

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Bottom of the table Finchley, with the wind and slope in their favour, started brightly. Chiswick, trying to run the kick-off back, gave away a penalty and three points. The first Finchley offence, however, allowed captain John Gibson to weave his spells, and give Ben ( Messi-ah) Cheston the chance to show his class, which he did emphatically, Extraordinarily, Tom Duffy hit the post with his kick from in front, and it was only five points.

Finchley came straight back, and after five minutes another attempt to run the ball out of defence left Graham Robbings desperately hooking the ball into touch a couple of metres from the goal line in front of several attackers.

An earlier knock-on meant that it was a scrum, not a lineout, and the Finchley pack wheeled the scrum in the right direction for their No.8 to break and, with a helping shove from his team-mates, go over. The conversion was good. Chiswick began to pull themselves together, but made a number of elementary errors in trying too hard to force the pace. Finchley in turn were failing to put the ball in straight to the lineouts, thereby letting Chiswick off the hook.The scrums were another matter, and a lightning break from the base by the Finchley No.8 led to a try, via their flanker and the scrum half. The kick hit the post and stayed out.

The first concerted move by the Chiswick backs ended with a diagonal kick by Cheston, anticipated by no other member of the team – a shame as it included a brilliant pick-up by the same player. A great thrust by Marc Jones came to nought when the pass from the ruck on the home goal-line was far too low for Robbings to catch. The Chiswick pack were improving, with Sam Hood and Rowan Tonkin doing well in the lineouts, and Jan Joubert making some telling thrusts, but the backs, with Simon Hallett unavailable, again looked as if they were beginning a training session. A heel against the head by Chiswick looked useless when the home No.8 got round and kicked the ball downfield, but Jones collected it and found Keith Luckman. Chiswick were on the retreat, Sevens style, but eventually the ball reached Cheston, and, using wing Chris Halliwell as a decoy, he bolted around the home wing and scored. The kick just failed. Duffy made a great break upfield, but in trying to get the ball out when tackled, damaged an elbow, and was replaced by Ben Sutherland.

Scrum half John Feltham opened the second half with a lively blind side break which took him to within spitting distance of the home line. Penned on their line, Finchley resisted well, but finally it was Stuart Parmeter who managed to pass out of the tackle as he was held up just short. The happy recipient was Tonkin, and Luckman added the points to nudge Chiswick ahead. Ten minutes into the half, Chiswick went further ahead when Gibson found Jones on his shoulder on a diagonal run which was far too strong for the home defenders. Luckman slotted this one as well, and Chiswick were looking comfortable. Sam Hood managed to divert a rare straight Finchley throw into the hands of Tonkin, allowing Luckman to use the wind with a long downfield kick as the confidence increased.

With ten minutes to go, another long kick to touch gave Chiswick a footing in the home 22, and the match was sewn up when Jones forced his way over from close range. There was time for Cheston to complete his masterclass, which had included some impressive long touch kicks, with his third try as Chiswick finished both Finchley and their league season off in style.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Joubert, Parmeter, Pickford ( Chraplywyj ), McDonald, Robbings ( Constantinides ), Hood, Feltham, Luckman, Halliwell, Gibson, Cheston, Jones, Duffy ( Sutherland )

April 12, 2010