28th February 2015
Hemel Hempstead 12 – Chiswick 74
After last week’s debacle, Chiswick wreaked vengeance on a weak but plucky Hemel Hempstead, who scored two tries and came close to several more, whilst being unable to cope with the power of the Chiswick team.
The return of Matt Pickering and Tom Adams, both raring to go after injury, boosted the Chiswick pack, which dominated the scrums from the off. Their No.8, Sam Leslie-Miller, was thus able to demonstrate his powerful running almost unimpeded throughout the game.
Chiswick stormed into the opposition from the start, and after two minutes Simon Hallett had his first kick at goal. The wind was capricious, though, and he missed. No matter. Dan Godfrey fielded the kick-off, and Chiswick ran the ball from their 22, with Leslie-Miller to the fore. Tom Steer took the ball on, and it finished in the large hands of Sam Hood in the in-goal area. Hallett missed the difficult kick.
With a wind advantage, Hemel came back strongly with a long penalty kick, but as they tried to maul from the lineout the Chiswick defence was adequate. Fifteen minutes in, with Hemel keeping up the pressure, a quick tapped penalty led to a home try in the right corner. The kick was spot on, and Hemel went ahead. Within two minutes Chiswick were back in the lead, a blistering run by Dan Sutherland tearing the home mid-field defence apart, before a pass out gave George Dimitriadis a chance to show his pace and swoop over close to the posts. The kick came back off the post.
Chiswick’s hunger was unabated, and after a long kick by Hemel had unluckily just rolled over the dead ball line, Chiswick made the most of the ensuing scrum, just outside the home 22, captain Luca Vannini sending Josh Noble hurtling through the porous home defence for try number three. This time Hallett slotted the kick. Tries now came at regular intervals, Tom Steer grabbing the bonus-gaining one after Leslie-Miller had made the most of a mid-field breakdown in a rare home attack.
Tom Adams was on hand to score the next, unconverted, one after a sustained attack involving most of the team. Vannini got number six, Hallett adding the points. There was time for Noble to score his second try before half-time, the kick failing.
Hemel started the second half with renewed hope, and a new prop improved the scrummaging appreciably. Chiswick’s defence, in which full back Sutherland was excellent throughout, was tested by some quick throw-ins, but their counter-attacking was sharp and effective. Bringing second row forwards into the back line worked for Chiswick as Mikhail Ahola teamed up with Sutherland to put sub Andy Ibberson away. He did the hard run before unselfishly passing to Noble for the latter to complete his hat-trick. The kick came back off the post. Hemel retaliated with a sustained move, and scored an unconverted try in the left corner, so it was honours even in the second half so far. Their outside centre proceeded to burst through the first line of defence, before being enveloped by Sutherland in a try-saving tackle.
Chiswick now got their second wind, and came hard at the tired home players. After Ahola, Marko Chraplywyj and Tom Dean had taken play nearly to the line, the ball went loose, and it was left to Dan Godfrey to jink and swerve through the defence for the ninth try, converted by Hallett. Further converted tries came from Leslie-Miller, Godfrey and Hallett himself.
Chiswick team :- Chraplywyj, Dibble, Joubert, Hood, Pickering, Adams, Darroch, Leslie-Miller, Vannini, Hallett, Dimitriadis, Godfrey, Noble, Steer, Sutherland; Dean, Ahola, Ibberson