Hammersmith and Fulham 13 – Chiswick 67
What is usually a close encounter turned into an autumnal frolic in the sun with an almost flawless Chiswick sweeping the nervy home team aside. After the setback against Staines, the return of the dynamic sextet of Jon Gibson, Jon Joyce, Rikki Darroch, Joe Grindle, Luca Vannini and James Dribble transformed Chiswick into a promotion-chasing team again, although it was the scrum, where the front row were outstanding, which established the early dominance which was then maintained throughout the game.
When Reggie Regan’s first touch kick bounced kindly into touch, preventing a quick counter-attack, one sensed this might be Chiswick’s day. The first Chiswick maul, a minute later, looked very promising, also. With Sam Leslie-Miller and Joyce coming into the back line, Hammersmith were already struggling in defence. Leslie-Miller soon shook off a tackle and set Dan Sutherland free down the left wing and over the try line. It was a forward pass, however. Ten minutes in, Simon Hallett landed an easy penalty kick, but soon parity was restored when the home fly-half converted a more difficult chance.
Chiswick’s enthusiasm was evident in their tackling as well as the desire to attack from any position, and Hammersmith really had little answer as the match progressed, although they had some success wide out with speedy wingers. The Chiswick forwards looked really hungry, and were soon up en masse near the home line. When the ball was finally, reluctantly, released, Hallett strolled over for the first try, which he converted magnificently from the touch-line. Five minutes later, after heavy involvement by the forwards again, Hallett found another gap and went under the posts. Matt Pickering and Joyce were providing good possession from the lineouts, and with the Hammersmith scrum in real trouble, Chiswick had possession aplenty. After wholesale plunder of one home scrum, Vannini got his foot to the ball, Sutherland had a great run down the wing, lost the ball to his opposite number, before causing him to drop the ball with a strong tackle, and bingo!, there was Hallett again to pick up and go over for his hat-trick. No conversion, but close.
Hammersmith’s pride had taken a battering, but with half-time approaching they put in a good sustained attack, and scored a good try out on the left wing, with Darroch, for once, unable to cling on in his last-ditch tackle. After a snort of disbelief, the Chiswick dragon replied with a sprint by Sutherland, taking him clean round the home defence for Hallett to add the points from in front of the posts. Half time followed immediately.
Chiswick got a pushover try early in the second half, Leslie-Miller getting the touchdown, after Rowan Tonkin had been held up when over the line, which Hallett converted, but Hammersmith came straight back with a strong run by their full back who chipped over Grindle’s head and had the cheek to win the race to the ball. Hammersmith will want to forget what followed, as Chiswick added tries by Hallett ( his 4th ), and Dibble, both converted by Hallett, who was then subbed, with fifteen minutes left, having scored 35 points. Further tries came from Vannini, converted by Andy John, and Leslie-Miller
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Tonkin, Pickering, Joyce, Biss, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Sutherland, Gibson, Regan, McLaughlin, Grindle, Hood, Adams, John