Chiswick started confidently against the bottom team in the League, but after ten minutes of wind-assisted pressure they had failed to score, the young home team hassling them with numerous tacklers who stayed on the ground for only a moment before re-entering the fray. The first home attack started in the home 22 with an up-and-under, recovered by the home team to set up a good open move culminating in a grubber kick towards the posts. Although James Bunbury won the race for the touchdown, the sails on the Gosport ship began to fill, as the prospect of five points loomed. Chiswick’s forwards looked the stronger early on, and a lineout take by Sam Hobbins of a home throw-in gave Bunbury a chance to run towards the right end. He was finally neatly sandwiched between two defenders, however, and the move fizzled out.
The Chiswick lineout worked well, with Sam Leslie-Miller generally in command, and he was soon charging at the home line. Three times he was held up just short, however, and eventually Gosport got a relieving penalty. When Gosport did attack they did well regularly to gain distance and therefore momentum as Chiswick fell back and sometimes failed to hold on in the tackle. It took Chiswick 17 minutes to score, Simon Hallett slotting an easy penalty goal. The home crowd, quiet initially, were slowly becoming more vocal, and Gosport did well to recover the ball from their own kick-off. The sails were filling now, and a sustained attack led to a good unconverted try by their No.13. The Chiswick backs seemed a bit tentative, with a re-arrangement necessary in the absence of Dan Godfrey and Ed East, and this lent encouragement to the home 15, growing more confident by the minute. Matt Cooper then turned over a useful looking home attack, and soon after Sam Hobbins repeated the move, to set up a maul which was only stopped in the home 22, legally according to the referee. Chiswick kept attacking, and after Dave Hill and Simon Allen-Clarke had got close, Hallett slipped a neat inside pass to Max Burrows, who scored. Hallett’s kick failed.
Hobbins took the second half kick-off cleanly and Chiswick had a period of pressure where a score looked inevitable as they battered the home line. It came eventually at the end of a maul, with Sam Biss the scorer. Hallett converted this one well.
This turned out to be the unlikely high point of the match for Chiswick. They kept on the attack, and with Marc Copperwheat not only tackling like a demon, but also putting in a run for the posts with four consecutive side-steps, each of which worked a treat, further scores looked inevitable. There were more, but all for the home team, as Chiswick’s point expectations went from five to four to two to one and then to zero.
Bunbury had to go off, and was replaced by an unusually diffident Dan Sutherland. It was in the centre of the back line Gosport were strong, and they also did well around the rucks, Chiswick scrum half Russ Dovey being given a hard time by the home No.8, whereas the home scrum half made a lot of breaks, and was later to score a good try. Although Gosport got three points back with a penalty goal, Chiswick still did more of the attacking going in to the last quarter. The home tackling was very strong, however, and slowly the wind and the crowd started pushing the home team back into contention.
Gaps suddenly started appearing in the Chiswick defence, and several missed tackles allowed a darting run and a try from the half-way line. The conversion levelled the scores. A bemused Chiswick team now rather lost the plot, and a silly push on a home player as he went up for the ball gave Gosport a good position. With some subtle left foot kicks to touch, Gosport now looked really comfortable in front of an ecstatic crowd of supporters. A penalty goal followed, and then, finally a third, converted try. The season has suddenly got very difficult.
Chiswick team:- Cooper, Dibble, Parmeter, Hobbins, Allen-Clarke, Copperwheat, Biss, Leslie-Miller, Dovey, Hallett, Purkiss, Burrows, Bunbury, Steer, Hill; Newman, Hood, Sutherland