Reckoning Day for Chiswick

Rugby Result :- Old Haberdashers 52 Chiswick 0

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With a “nearly full strength” Haberdashers team playing in front of their twos (whose match had just been called off ), this was always going to be a tough fixture for Chiswick. Given also the exodus of a large number of established players, lured away for the day by the siren sound of wedding bells, it required a huge effort by the valiant makeshift fifteen, with the regular scrum half drafted in at fly half, to hold the home team to 52 points.

The first scrum was shaded by Haberdashers, but the next (after the referee had stopped a Chiswick advantage in their 22 rather precipitately) was disastrous, as the visitors’ pack was pushed back and wheeled on their own put-in, the ball then being plucked from the back by the home scrum half, who had only a couple of metres to make to the line. The crowd bayed its approval, cheered the successful kick, and was vociferous thereafter. An early home error gave Gabs Lowe a chance to pick up three points, but his kick from outside the home ten metre line hit the post.

Ray Brooks and Josh Nobel looked good at this stage, but every loose ball was seized by the voracious home team and smartly recycled. Chiswick were nearly through on the right, and fifteen seconds later only a desperate tackle by Ady Lewis in the diagonally opposite corner prevented a home try. The Chiswick full back then did well to catch a through-kick , but failed to find support from his own team, and Haberdashers got the ball and their winger raced to the corner to score. No conversion, but home heads were high. After a ruck in mid-field, a home prop stormed away from the pack, and Nobel had to put in a crucial tackle. Haberdashers retained possession, however, and their two wingers linked up to score another try in the right corner, again not converted.

The next home attack produced another try, a simple maul from a five metre lineout still accelerating as it went over the line, for the forwards to accept the applause. Third time lucky for the kicker – 24-0.

Jon Joyce had had some early success in the lineouts, but at crunch time, after a long penalty kick to touch by Nobel had set up a good position, the home jumper got in front of him at the tail of the line. Matt Small did well to retrieve the resulting kick, but the ball was lost when he was tackled. Chiswick had a sustained attack, and eschewed three points a couple of times, but the tapping and running only reinforced the fact that they lacked real penetration ability on the day. Haberdashers slotted a penalty kick to complete a highly successful half for them.

The second half was almost as bad for Chiswick, but they lacked nothing in effort. The firm pitch allowed Haberdashers’ backs to carry out extravagant manoeuvres, and it was only two minutes before a Chiswick forward in the defensive line was chosen for a demonstration. The kick failed. Two minutes later, and the home team mauled over again from another five metre lineout – the kick failed again, however. Nobel saved another try in the corner with a great tackle, and Chiswick redoubled their efforts. Scott Carroll, Matt Cooper and Marcus Rowley came on and did their best to stem the flood. Cooper, in particular, made a difference, retaining possession behind the backwards-sliding scrums, and allowing the forwards to re-group.

Despite all the Chiswick efforts, Haberdashers ran another try in down the right flank, with impeccable handling but no conversion. After a more even period of play, in the middle of the half, Haberdashers finished off in style, with a brace of unconverted tries, the first a rumble from a five metre lineout, and the second another demonstration one in the left corner after a quick tap and sidestep.

Chiswick team :- Donaldson, Biss, Addison ( Carroll ), McCullun, Joyce, Darroch, Kelly ( Cooper ), Fletcher, Lowe, Vannini, Small, Hallett ( Rowley ), Nobel, Brooks, Lewis


December 13, 2011