Chiswick start the new season as they finished the last
It is thanks to stand in Fixture Secretary Gavin Nichols that Chiswick were able to start their pre-season preparations on Saturday as originally planned following a last minute cancellation from original opponents Witney (who had decided a stag do to Brighton was more important than preparing for their upcoming season). A fixture was hastily arranged against London 2 South East side Horsham, who had finished last season in 6th place and were happy to test themselves against a higher ranked opponent with the likes of Charlton Park and Medway joining them this coming season.
Chiswick took a squad of 22 to Horsham, with a mixture of old and new faces on the coach for the first away trip of the season. Hopes were high that the team could push on from their successes in the second half of the 2015/16 season and build a platform to kick start 2016/17. The game was played in four 20-minute quarters:
First 20: 5 out of 10. Chiswick were bullied a touch by their opponents in the opening stages, who were keen to show their physicality. Failure to deal with forward crashes around the breakdown and off 10 lead to a few up-field rumbles from the London 2 opponents, who continued to utilise this method to drive up-field throughout the game. Chiswick however showed resolute defence to keep the opposition out and then took the opportunity to show their superiority out wide and on the counter, a crisp series of hands down the right saw Gabs Lowe releasing James Bunbury (playing on the wing for the start) who covered 60m to score the opening try. 7-0 Chiswick.
Second 20: 3/10. Chiswick were still struggling to gain any superiority in the game, with Horsham content to run the ball off their forwards and make yards in the middle of the field. This lead to a number of penalties being given away and saw Chiswick camped inside their own 22 for large periods of the quarter. Chiswick continued to demonstrate an ability to keep the opposition out when it mattered most until a fortuitous intercept try saw them score with the half ending 7-7.
Third 20: 2/10. – the less said about this quarter the better. Again, Chiswick were put under the cosh for large periods of the quarter, failing to replicate any of the structure worked so hard on in practice. In hindsight, it was a blessing to see the quarter end 7-7.
Final 20: 8/10. Finally, Chiswick came in to the match, superiority in both fitness and ability eventually showing. Chiswick scored almost immediately off the kick off, with debutant Ed East running in his first try for the club after cutting inside and finishing off from 30m. From the kick off, Chiswick collected, with Sam Biss going through from 50m out and running a try under the posts – a claim for fastest forward clearly made. It took a little longer for Chiswick to score again, but a short rumble after a lineout from a penalty saw Stewie Parmeter score his first try of the season and dedicate it to his soon to be born baby. Ed East then scored his second of the game after some good quick wide play and a solid juggling act, before Phil Gray and then Dan Sutherland finished the final quarter rout. It finished 45-7 to Chiswick. Special mention must go to Simon Hallett who kicked sublimely from the tee in blustery conditions, and George Bibby for his 2-minute cameo appearance who unfortunately went off with a suspected broken finger.
Conclusion: 5/10. Work is still required before the season kicks off proper, and with a tough visit to London 1 North side Ruislip on Friday, there is thankfully another opportunity for Chiswick to put their structures in to practice. However there were plenty of positives on display, most notably a collection of solid debut performances as well as a showing from the side of their capabilities in the final 20 minutes.
Squad: Sam Leslie-Miller (CAPT), James Filbey, Matt Newman, James Dibble, Marko Chaplwrj, Stewie Parmeter, Phil Gray, Simon Allen-Clarke, Riki Darroch, Brian Darroch, Sam Biss, Charlie Kneen, Jason Davis, Tony Sprangers, Gabs Lowe, Simon Hallett, Max Burrows, James Bunbury, Dan Sutherland, George Bibby, Ed East