Chiswick In Further Difficulties In Kent

Rugby Result :Sevenoaks 45 Chiswick 13


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A bright start by the west London team, applying pressure across the field, swept Sevenoaks into a defensive mode, and with Sam Leslie-Miller able to break from the back of the pack at scrums courtesy of strong scrummaging, and with centre James Bunbury causing problems with his pace, the home team looked vulnerable. After ten minutes they lost a prop to a yellow card, and it looked odds-on a Chiswick score, with a scrum close to the home line. Not so. Solid defence followed by an excellent long kick put pressure back on Chiswick. A bout of poor passes and butterfingers spoilt the home chances at this stage, and Chiswick surged back upfield. A long kick by Gabs Lowe gave Sevenoaks a 22 dropout, well-fielded by Sam Biss. The ball was worked out to the left wing via Matt Newman, and Bunbury streaked towards the corner before the ball was worked infield, where Simon Hallett side-stepped through the defence to score the opening try, after 18 minutes, which he then converted.

Unfortunately for Chiswick, Sevenoaks were stung into an indignant response, and turned the game round with dominating lineout work, and quick movement of the ball across the field by their backs. They were aided by a poor lineout performance by the visitors, and a certain lack of urgency in getting up or back in support. After 25 minutes, a period of home pressure led finally to a missed tackle on their large No.13, who scored right of the posts. The home full back produced the first of a series of excellent kicks to level the score. Sevenoaks, with plenty of ball, kept up the pressure, and Chiswick had a player yellow-carded for pulling down a maul. They survived the immediate threat, but a failed touch-kick put the pressure back on, and the seven-man Chiswick pack could not prevent an eventual score, although they successfully held up the home No.8 when over the line. The kick was good, 14-7. Chiswick came straight back, and Hallett slotted a good penalty kick just before half-time.

The second half belonged to Sevenoaks. The rather touchy referee gave what appeared to be rather a harsh second yellow card to the visitors (there were no really unpleasant incidents in the game), allowing Matt Cooper on to show his scrummaging power, but the Chiswick defensive wall was breached more frequently as the game continued. The Sevenoaks backs kept their shape well, often counter-attacking in a line from way out, as some poor kicking gave them some good ball. It was, however, the speed of the Sevenoaks scrum half which produced the first try of the half, as he went outside the Chiswick defence, running from his own half, and had two players free outside him to take the final pass. The kick, from the right touchline was a rare poor one.

An unusual crossing decision, against a Chiswick forward, gifted Sevenoaks a lineout near the Chiswick 22, and smart lineout work, followed by quick handling by the home backs, led to their fourth try wide out on the left. The kick came back off the post. A good break by Max Burrows, after Barnaby Ware had run back a loose kick, led to a Chiswick penalty within kicking range. Normally a kick for the corner would have followed, but possibly a justifiable lack of confidence in the lineouts led to Hallett taking the three points.

The last half an hour started with the second yellow, and contained three converted home tries. Jon Joyce got his first outing of the season, and Chiswick managed some good moves, but could not create any clear chances. A smart break and chip by a Sevenoaks player seemed certain to produce a try, but Bunbury did well to get back to divert the final pass pass and get a tackle in. The Sevenoaks pack now showed how to control a five metre scrum, pushing forward and then scoring through their No.8. Another home try wide out on the left after a lot of passes was followed by the embarrassment of a try scored directly from a Chiswick lineout, the throw going over the jumpers, and being caught by the home No.7, sprinting across field and with a clear route to the posts. The final score was not a fair reflection on the play, but Chiswick must try to resolve, e.g. the lineout weakness if they are to survive in a League where mistakes are rare, and pounced upon. There is huge effort, but not enough efficiency.

Chiswick team:- McDonough, Dibble, Newman, Hobbins, Copperwheat, Biss, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, Ware, Burrows, Bunbury, Steer, Lowe; Cooper, Joyce, East

November 2, 2016

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