Chiswick Finally Win At Harpenden

Rugby result- Harpenden 17 Chiswick 35

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Still with an outside chance of promotion, Chiswick started off in determined manner, and after five minutes went ahead. They achieved a turnover on their right wing, and Simon Hallett kicked long down the line for full back Gabs Lowe to chase. Suddenly the knees were pumping high, the flanking defenders dropped back and only a bad bounce could have prevented the try. Chiswick’s luck held, and Hallett added the extra points in comfort.

Four minutes later, Sam Hood, under pressure, managed to knock the ball back at a Chiswick lineout in the home 22, a maul was set up efficiently, and Chiswick worked towards the try line. As the maul started to spin, captain Luca Vannini emerged with the ball on the blind side, and with no defender in front of him strolled over in the corner for try number 2. Hallett’s kick from two metres in from the left touch touched the inside of the left post, but went over the bar, and Chiswick were flying.

Gabs Box was doing a good job of getting under his opposite number in the scrums, but both teams were heeling the ball well, and with Harpenden challenging hard in the lineouts, the set pieces allowed equal possession. Behind the scrum, however, Chiswick were dominant, and there was no surprise when they went further ahead. A quick heel on the half way line, and rapid transfer of the ball from Hallett to Jon Gibson gave space for Ady Lewis to burst through on the inside. The most capped player in the team strode down the middle of the field before passing out to Reggie Regan who immediately set the eager Tom Steer free down the left wing to score number 3 in the left corner. Hallett’s kick from the identical spot was even better than the first, bisecting the posts.

As coach “Rocky” Skinner said afterwards, Chiswick let Harpenden back in the match at this point. The home team tried to up the pace, but an attempted Garryowen blew back and came down in their own 22, luckily being knocked on by Chiswick. Whilst Vannini and Hood were doing a good job of stifling the home moves from their scrums, Steer almost got another try after an awful pass by a Harpenden player, but then at the next promising attack an over-keen hard-working Tom Adams knocked on. As the referee played advantage, Harpenden put in their first serious attack at the end of which Lowe’s clearance kick was charged down, only to fall conveniently for a Chiswick player to touch down. Keeping up the pressure, Harpenden finally scored when their No.6 broke from the back of a scrum in the Chiswick 22 and powered over festooned with defenders. The kick failed, and two minutes later the whistle went.

Harpenden played with more confidence and care in the second half, and Chiswick’s cause was not helped by a couple of yellow cards. Harpenden knocked on when close to the Chiswick line, and Lowe had to go off with a hand injury. Tom Shattock and Vince Walker came on at the same time, to replace Rowan Tonkin and Jon Joyce, and had to face a home team now being spurred on by the noisy, if good-willed, crowd of home supporters up in the stand. Critically though, Chiswick now got their fourth try, against the run of play, after neat blind-side work down the left touch line from a scrum on the half way line. Hood was involved, and then Steer kicked ahead and won the race for the left corner. Hallett could not miss from his favourite spot, and Chiswick were out of sight – or so we thought.

The first yellow card came at this point, but was followed by the heartening sight of prop Gabs Box showing a clean(ish) pair of heels to the home pack, having spotted a tempting gap in midfield. The next gap to open was in the Chiswick defence, and despite a great tackle back from Steer, and with the aid of an apparently forward pass, the home wing ran round behind the Chiswick defence, and that was seven points off the Chiswick lead. As one Chiswick player reappeared, a second one left after incurring the referee’s displeasure at a ruck near the Chiswick line.

Harpenden’s pressure eventually brought reward, when a grubber kick over the Chiswick line evaded Steer’s fingers and was touched down by a home player. The conversion kick was successful, and Chiswick had a tense few minutes before a well-practiced move was neatly enacted, ending with Jon Gibson streaking untouched over the home line, and Hallett getting the conversion.

Chiswick team:- Tonkin, Dibble, Box, Gray, Joyce, Adams, Biss, Hood, Vannini, Hallett, Lewis, Gibson, Regan, Steer, Lowe. Subs:- Shattock, Walker, Johns


January 20, 2014