On what was a fantastic day to celebrate the ladies who make Chiswick RFC, the 1s didn’t disappoint with a fine display against a Hampstead side who Chiswick were yet to beat since returning to London 2, recording a 40 – 12 victory and running (or mauling) in 6 tries.
Physio Ania Ciszewska and Sports Massage Therapist Chloe Crisp receive their thanks for the support they’ve provided the playing squad this season.
But it wasn’t enough. Before the advent of bonus points, Chiswick’s present record of 15 wins and a couple of draws would have put them into a play-off for London 1, whatever the outcome of next week’s final match against league champions Belsize Park. Unfortunately an excellent defensive record has not been matched with an abundance of tries, so it’s Div. 2 North West again next season.
A (painful) charge down by Ryno Lopes led to Chiswick getting an early lineout in the Hampstead 22, and competent lineout work and mauling led to a try by Stewy Parmeter, converted by Oliver Snook. With Sam Leslie-Miller controlling the ball from the kickoff, and Rich Bryan surging out of the home 22, it was Lopes who made the break upfield before Tom Steer got in a good long kick. The opponents did well to get to the ball first, however, and the dream start failed to materialise.
Hampstead soon proved to have an edge in the scrums, so yet again Leslie-Miller had to rescue the ball and somehow make some ground, which of course he did, regularly. The visitors gained early territorial advantage, but then wasted a good chance of three points, after Chiswick were caught offside, with a poor kick. Hampstead mauled nearly to the home line, but obdurate defending kept them out, and they eventually knocked on. After 25 minutes, Chiswick had a period of pressure in the Hampstead 22, culminating in George Bibby timing his pass to the flying James Bunbury to perfection, for a cracking try, converted by Snook. Hampstead responded immediately, turning the ball over after Chiswick had obtained possession from the kickoff, and spinning the ball out towards the left wing. The Chiswick defence was lured one way, but the ball went another, and their wing hurdled the cover tackle to score an unconverted try wide out.
Hampstead were unfortunate to lose their scrum-half soon after, to a head injury. Chiswick attacked now, but Hampstead did well to get the ball from a Chiswick lineout near their line, jumping in front of the would-be catcher. Dan Purkiss, having made several excellent crucial tackles earlier, when finally given a chance to run with the ball, managed to lob his pass into a space no longer occupied by the supporting player. With good possession, Chiswick applied pressure by mauling, whenever possible, and managed another converted try before half-time, Leslie-Miller touching down and Snook converting from fifteen metres in from the left touchline.
Allowing the second half kick-off to bounce was not a brilliant idea, and Chiswick got their just desserts, after they knocked the ball on, when Hampstead’s scrum roared towards the posts, for them to get their second try, duly converted via a drop kick, as Hampstead failed to find their tee. Hampstead had more possession now, and it required a good tap tackle by Snook to stop a try by their right wing. Alex Randall came on with the other subs, but soon suffered a shoulder injury, so the dynamic Lopes’s rest was a short one. Hampstead kept up the pressure, and camped in the Chiswick 22, where Bunbury did a spectacular change of direction tackle on the visitors’ left wing. Finally Chiswick broke the siege, with, inevitably, Leslie-Miller steaming upfield, supported by Lopes.
The ladies celebrate after another Chiswick try.
As time began to run out, Chiswick found their second wind, and suddenly there was Parmeter charging downfield. The ball was worked out to the right wing and then back across the field, where Rich Bryan made a good break. Eventually it was Bunbury wanting and getting the ball and streaking towards the left corner, with sub Gabs Lowe outside him. A simple pass, and a great, albeit unconverted, bonus point try in the corner. With sub Simon Allen-Clarke preventing a tackled opponent from going to ground, Chiswick began to dominate, and then it was the same man demonstrating the on-the spot side step before the ball went via Snook to Steer, who got the touchdown. There was time for one more converted try, scored, fittingly, by Lopes.
T: Parmeter, Bunbury, Leslie-Miller, Lowe, Steer, Lopes
C: Snook (4)
Barkham, Dibble, Parmeter, Bryan, Copperwheat, Gadsby, Lopes, Leslie-Miller, Roberts, Snook, Steer, Bibby, Bunbury, Purkiss, Barton; Lowe, Allen-Clarke, Randall
Author: D Lovell