Chiswick pipped in local derby
Revenge came eventually for Civil Service, beaten by Chiswick with the last kick of the match in the epic Middlesex Cup Final. The hosts shaded the first half, their No.8 making good ground from the scrums, and their backs’ passing being swift and accurate. The Chiswick pack had an edge in the mauls, and both teams got forwards into the line in attack. In a bright start, it was Marc Copperwheat, standing in for injured captain at No.8, who got the first Chiswick attack going, and it was Dan Godfrey who made the first line break. With Simon Allen-Clarke making a nuisance of himself in the next attack, a long pass out found Ed East in some space. He rocketed past the first defender, but Tom Steer outside him could not quite escape the clutches of the home flanker.
Chiswick progressed to well within the home 22, but a wayward lineout throw was seized upon to launch a C.S. counter-attack. A better throw then retrieved the situation within the Chiswick 22, but C.S., scenting a score, kept up the attack, and Copperwheat did very well behind a retreating pack at a five metre scrum, despite slipping, scrum-half Gabs Lowe eventually putting in a good clearance. Sam Hobbins got the ball from a rare poor home lineout to set up an attack involving surges by East Jon Joyce and Copperwheat, pressurising the home defence, which, however, remained solid and always ready for a counter-attack. After twenty minutes, C.S upped the tempo and after a penalty kick to touch well within the Chiswick 22 they controlled the lineout well and got a score round the narrow side. The kick failed.
C.S kept the pressure up, and were rewarded with another try after a scrum in which Godfrey packed down in the back row in place of Sam Biss, the recipient of a yellow card. Again the kick failed. Chiswick came straight back, Godfrey making the central home defence look a bit thin, after Lowe had done well to disrupt the feed back from their scrum, weaving his way well into the home 22 from the halfway line. Minutes of intense Chiswick pressure followed, but no score was achieved, and C.S got a turnover as a Chiswick player was held up. At the other end Copperwheat and Lowe managed to clear the ball from a five metre scrum, after which Hobbins was allowed to pick up a ball with what home supporters thought was a “do not touch” label on it, so Chiswick survived until half-time.
With the wind veering more in their favour, 15 man Chiswick went on the attack, and got the try of the season, Lowe showing great acceleration in the line before selling an exquisite dummy to one defender whilst rounding another, the ball almost hidden in his left hand. Captain Simon Hallett added the points. Dan Sutherland then nearly set the cat amongst the pigeons with a powerful break, only to hold on to the ball a fraction too long after he was tackled near the left corner. Soon after a C.S. player suffered a similar fate as play went from end to end.
Twenty-five minutes in and Chiswick went ahead, Allen-Clarke setting the score up with a determined burst for the line and a good pass out, the exuberant Tom Steer getting a try, which was not converted, in the right corner. Unfortunately Chiswick appeared mesmerised when C.S kicked off, and knocked the ball on, and soon the home team were ahead again with a simple penalty kick, despite some excellent defence. As the rain finally arrived, C.S. kicked another penalty goal with five minutes of normal time to go. The home backs were not finished, and in a final flourish carved diagonally through a tiring Chiswick defence for a try in the left corner. Chiswick’s splendid, if flawed performance, deserved at least a losing bonus point, but just failed to get it.
Chiswick team:- Cooper, Dibble, McDonough, Allen-Clarke, Hobbins, Joyce, Biss, Copperwheat, Lowe, Hallett, Steer, Godfrey, East, Purkiss, Sutherland; Newman Gray, Millais