Chiswick squashed by merciless league leaders
Despite heroic defending throughout the match, Chiswick could not dent a Sidcup team marching up towards the National league for the first time. London 1 clubs tend to be bigger than the Division 2 clubs well-known to Chiswick supporters, and Sidcup, with a 1 million pound Clubhouse, and a stand suitable for 200 or so spectators, were no exception. From the first Chiswick lineout, taken easily by the home forwards, and the first scrum, with Chiswick back-pedalling, Sidcup controlled the game. In fact Chiswick did not even have a chance at a shot at goal from a penalty, such was the superiority of their hosts. Nevertheless, Chiswick were by no means disgraced – they were still attacking hard given any tiny chance, with full back Dan Sutherland a real threat with the ball in hand, and Dan Godfrey making mini-breaks regularly.
Handling in the ruck gave Sidcup their first penalty within reach of the goal, after five minutes, and their fly half bisected the posts.. Another five minutes, another offence in front of the posts, and another three points. Winning every lineout meant that Sidcup could happily kick for touch, very useful in the damp conditions, with handling difficult. Sam Leslie-Miller was having to work hard digging the ball out of the retreating scrums, but at least this did allow Chiswick a sniff of the ball. Scrum half Russ Dovey did well to retrieve a charged-down kick as Sidcup pressurised the Chiswick backs when on a rare foray towards the half-way line. Chiswick did eventually win a lineout, but their throw was deemed not straight. Sidcup had their first sustained siege of the Chiswick line, but the visitors achieved a turnover, their first real success. 22 minutes in, and another home penalty kick soared through the uprights.
Stewie Parmeter was the unexpected recipient of a long Sidcup lineout throw – unfortunately Simon Hallett was so surprised he spilt the ball. Time for a try, and the Sidcup full back obliged, a powerful hand-off sliding the defending wing out of the way after a sustained attack. An excellent kick from the touchline made it 16-0. The best Chiswick attack of the match followed, with Dan Sutherland making a couple of well-supported breaks, the move foundering when James Bunbury was finally pulled down on the Sidcup 22, the support arriving a bit late. Chiswick finally won their own lineout, throwing to the tail, but half-time arrived with no further score.
Early in the second half ,Sidcup missed a good scoring chance, kicking a loose ball over the dead ball line. They soon made amends, a lineout take at the tail of the line being turned into an attack back on the narrow side, and ending with the wing crashing over in the corner, demolishing the flag, but only after touching down, it was ruled. Another excellent conversion rubbed salt into the wound. Sub Sam Hood came on, and immediately stole a lineout from Sidcup. An even passage of play followed, with Chiswick perhaps shading possession, but not territory, the home defence remaining very tight. Going in to the final quarter Chiswick survived a clever long cross kick into space from a penalty, just winning the race to the ball. Sidcup had taken their breather, however, and now pressed hard until they found the first real hole in the Chiswick defence to score their third try, surprisingly not converted.
Chiswick were then hit by a yellow card, apparently for a continuing front row offence. Within two minutes Sidcup had obtained their bonus try point, Sutherland’s final tackle being just too late to prevent their No.16 from surging over the line. The conversion succeeded. The final try, in the right corner was a blur of hands and arms in a slick passing routine, the last one being arguably forward, but very clever. Chiswick will have learnt from this encounter – they will not often play this well for no reward.
Chiswick team:- Cooper, Bendall, Parmeter, Hobbins, Copperwheat, Biss, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, East, Godfrey, Bunbury, Purkiss, Sutherland; Chraplewczyk, Hood, Stretford