Chiswick 18 – Hampstead 13
With Harpenden’s narrow defeat at St.Albans, this result propels Chiswick into the play-off spot in the League. Half-way through the second half, Chiswick seemed to have blown it, but with captain Luca Vannini leading by example, the team’s mighty efforts to cope with a re-invigorated and gale-assisted Hampstead team were just sufficient to achieve a victory.
A bright start by Chiswick saw wing Tom Steer latch on to a good kick by Simon Hallett, only to be pushed just into touch as he surged down the line. Sam Hood disrupted the ensuing Hampstead lineout, and with Jon Joyce, James Dibble and Sam Leslie-Miller rumbling through a try looked on the cards. Hampstead hit back as Chiswick tried to open up, however, and it was clear their backs had no fear of Chiswick’s reputation in this area. The Hampstead No.8 spun through a few tackles in mid-field, and then their fly-half put in a good kick into space, causing some difficulty for Chiswick full back Joe Grindle as the wind held the ball up. Five minutes in Hampstead got the first kick at goal, but the attempt, from the right, was blown away left.
After twenty minutes, Chiswick thought they had taken a scrum against the head, but the referee ruled against them. Hampstead thus achieved a lineout, but Chiswick came away from it with the ball as the referee played advantage. Grindle’s choice of a long kick was then chased down by the Chiswick sprint squad, comprising Noble, Grindle and Jon Gibson, with Noble leading the way, and they caught the Hampstead defender in possession, Gibson then getting over in the corner for the opening score. Hallett’s excellent kick added the two points. A sustained period of Chiswick pressure saw Tom Dean and Hallett both get within a whisker of the Hampstead line, but the visitors’ defence was strong, and Chiswick were thwarted in their efforts to get a cushion for the second half. In fact the only other score of the first half was a penalty goal by Hampstead.
Chiswick got an early shot at goal in the second half, and Hallett found exactly the right trajectory for the ball to drop over the bar. Important points, these, as Hampstead increased the pressure. Chiswick tried a counter-attack from their own half, but the wind blew a pass out to Grindle behind him, and an alert Hampstead player kicked it through. Grindle’s best efforts to get back to the ball before his opponent just failed and Hampstead were only two points behind. The kick was scuffed, luckily for the home team, but a few minutes later Hampstead went ahead, somehow achieving a three-on-one situation down the left wing for their No.4 to enjoy his dummy being taken as he went over the line. Again the kick was scuffed, and kicker made it quite clear he blamed the scrudgy tee.
Chiswick were under the cosh for a while, but with Gabs Lowe on at full back, they kept running the ball at every opportunity. It was Hallett, however who set up the crucial try, bursting through the middle to within feet of the line. The ball was re-cycled quickly, and Dan Sutherland exploited an overlap on the right wing to score in the corner. There was no conversion, but Hallett added a late penalty as Hampstead made a few errors in the final minutes.
Chiswick team :- Dean, Dibble, Chraplywyj, Hood, Joyce, Fatsis, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Steer, Gibson, Noble, Sutherland, Grindle; Joubert, Cooper, Lowe