Chiswick Scrape Through Middlesex Quarter-Final

Rugby Result :- Chiswick 18 Hammersmith and Fulham 15

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A fine squad effort produced a very satisfactory result for the Chiswick coaches and supporters in this local deby. With loads of substitutions allowed in this competition, it was hard to pick out the most successful combination, but all of the home players melded well, with the overall defensive work, the tackling especially, being much improved on the early season form.

Hammersmith missed an early penalty kick, but the opening quarter was pretty even. Finally a bit of retaliation by a Hammersmith player allowed Dave Hill to slot an easy three points for the home team. Hill was already probing the Hammersmith with long high kicks, generally clearing the defending backs. Hammersmith were quick on the counter, however, and it required a great last-ditch tackle by Gabs Lowe to prevent a Hammersmith try, Tom Adams doing well to engulf the following –up attacker as he received the ball. Hammersmith then squandered a couple of overlap situations as they put the home team under pressure.

Hammersmith’s lineout work was impressive, and eventually Chiswick conceded an easily-kicked penalty, and lost a player temporarily, for “deliberate foul play”. Chris Hallewell’s impressive tackle gained Chiswick a penalty near the Hammersmith line, which Hill eased over. Chiswick’s seven man scrum came under some pressure, but as it was wheeled, Hansie Bez managed somehow to find Luca Vannini with a slick pass, and the captain gave Matt Small just enough room to slip the first tackle, get in top gear and defeat the final defender with a perfect in-and-out swerve. Hill could not oblige from wide out. Chiswick’s defence was tested by a good diagonal kick, and Small risked an injury plucking the ball from the attacker’s toes.

The second half was marked by some difficulty in identifying the home players as the Chiswick coaches rang the changes in accordance with the Cup regulations. The play was accordingly a bit scrappy as Hammersmith were pressurised into mistakes, and Chiswick reorganised themselves. Hammersmith got quick ball from their lineouts and had the better possession. Jim Spencer and Bez were making good metres for Chiswick whenever they got their hands on the ball, and Hallewell had one lovely diagonal run, but couldn’t find the outside support as he was caught. Ady Lewis forced a five metre passage through the clingy defence, and quick re-cycling gave Sam Leslie-Miller a chance to hurl himself at the opposition. With support on both shoulders he chose the inside option, slipping a perfect pass to Lowe, who rounded off the move in style under the posts, Hill converting.

The last twenty-five minutes was nearly all Hammersmith, making less errors and giving the home defence a torrid time. Russ Dovey had to produce a good tackle to save one situation, but a well-controlled attack down the left wing ended in a try in the corner for the visitors. Soon after it was Hill who covered across to get a try-saving tackle in as Hammersmith continued the left wing attack. Rikki Darroch was the next to show, with a great pick-up from a clever kick. Jan Joubert showed he could tackle as well, before Chiswick conceded a penalty right in front of the posts. The kick was nervy and wide, luckily for Chiswick.

Hammersmith kept the pressure up and after wasting a five metre lineout they forced their way over in the left corner. The kick was good, and the chips were down. A rare attack by Chiswick nearly succeeded, with Lowe, Small and Bez linking well before the final surge was forced into touch feet from the line. One dangerous Hammersmith attack was thwarted when Bez forced their centre to veer away from his overlapping backs, and then another one failed due to a knock-on. Darroch got in the last all-important tackle to secure the victory.

Chiswick team :- Spencer, George, Chraplewczyk ( Joubert ), Leslie-Miller, Joyce, Adams ( Morris ), Darroch, Fletcher ( Bez ), Vannini ( Dovey ), Hill, Small, Hallewell, Lewis, Dimitriadis, Lowe


November 14, 2012