Unbowed Chiswick fight back
This was a match of four quarters. Home supporters arriving twenty-five minutes into the match could not believe their team were 21-0 up, as Chiswick definitely had an edge at that time. Both teams had been clapped on to the pitch by two neat lines of Minis and responded with good open rugby. Chiswick, with the wind in their sails had an early chance to open the scoring, but Simon Hallett’s penalty kick drifted just left of the posts. James Bunbury was stretched to get a tackle in as the speedy home right wing pierced the visitors’ defence. The Chiswick troubles started six minutes in, after a penalty kick by the excellent home fly half taking a wicked bounce into touch a couple of yards from the Chiswick line. The ensuing maul was stopped, but at the expense of a scrum on the five metre line. Medway got a good shove on, and seconds later the referee awarded a penalty try, easily converted.
Chiswick tried a shortened lineout after their kick-off had been deflected into touch, but failed to obtain possession – it was to be quite a while in fact before they won their first lineout. A couple of minutes later, a home counter-attack from their ten metre line looked to be well-shepherded until their fly-half found a tiny gap inside Hallett, and put their scrum-half away. Tom Steer nearly caught him, but he managed to ground the ball over the line for the second home try. An excellent conversion followed. Chiswick began to apply some pressure, but Hallett missed an easy kick at goal. Tyler Bush, the Chiswick No.7 had a couple of threatening short burst before disaster struck, the home No.7 anticipating well to make a lightning interception near the half-way line and having enough pace to reach the posts. Thus it became 21-0.
Jon Joyce did well to recover the Chiswick kick-off, and the chastened Londoners bullied their way forward, with Tom Dean and Hallett gaining hard yards. Chiswick full-back Gabs Lowe was well-positioned to deal with the first long kick tried by the home No.10, and he replied in kind. Medway’s attempt to maul from the lineout was squashed firmly by the Chiswick pack as the balance of possession swung very much in the visitors’ favour. Joyce finally instigated quick attack from a lineout, and with Bunbury, Dan Godfrey and Bush threatening in mid-field, and Sam Leslie-Miller beginning to run from the scrums, Chiswick’s prospects rose. The first real chance of a try went begging, as a pass under the posts bounced forward off Leslie-Miller. Chiswick remained camped in the home 22 however, and Bush eventually wove his way to the line. Hallett added the points. Chiswick failed to secure the kick-off, and Medway added three points to their total on the stroke of half-time.
The second half injection of Subs Adam Ross at scrum-half, and Harry Cody-Owen into the second row brought new life to the Chiswick fifteen. Chiswick failed in their first sustained siege of the home line, failing to release the ball to the referee’s satisfaction. Hallett calmly removed the ball from Medway hands when they tried to counter-attack ( at which they were generally strong ). Cody-Owen’s aerial ability improved the Chiswick lineouts, and it was not long before the home pack conceded a penalty after staggering sideways at a scrum.
When Medway did try to attack, the Chiswick defence was now very strong, and the home team were caught out crossing in their attempts to find a way through. Chiswick began another long attack, with forwards and backs combining well, before Steer found just enough space to touch down, fifteen minutes into the half. Hallett’s kicking was back to its normal excellence, and he reduced the deficit to ten points. Stuart Parmeter came on for Dean, and was soon enthusiastically in the thick of it. The pressure was now really on, and ten minutes later a sustained period of Chiswick pressure culminated with another, consequently converted, try for Bush, who was proving a real handful for the home defence.
A Chiswick win seemed possible at this stage, but errors crept in, and Medway fought back. Two home penalties produced the situation where Chiswick needed one more try to gain two bonus points. Unfortunately it did not happen, although one magnificent fifteen man attack was only snuffed out deep in the home 22 when the ball was mysteriously over-turned. Chiswick can take a lot of heart from this determined, full-hearted performance against a good team with a few outstanding players.
Chiswick team :- Dean, Dibble, Shattock, Allen-Clarke, Watene, Joyce, Bush, Leslie-Miller, Broderick, Hallett, Steer, Godfrey, Bunbury, Walker, Lowe; Parmeter, Cody-Owen, Ross