Chiswick 22 Hammersmith & Fulham 22
Match Report: D Lovell
Chiswick, let off last week when the final conversion kick by the opponents failed, reaped the reward of some careless play at the end of a tight encounter with neighbours Hammersmith and Fulham when the visitors’ fly half slotted the final kick of the match.
Hammersmith got off to a flying start, with their useful full back running through several tackles, and their pack getting the shove on in the scrums. Very soon a Hammersmith penalty kick to touch was followed by a tidy lineout and a surge for the home line. Chiswick resisted well initially, stopping the maul a little way from the goal-line, but the ball was moved quickly to the narrow side leading to a try in the right corner. The left-footed kicker put the ball right through the middle, and Chiswick had to play catch-up. The situation got rapidly worse, as Hammersmith ran the ball back from the kick-off, with their fly half drawing several defenders before putting their danger man, the left wing, scorer of many tries against Chiswick, away down the touch-line. At least he was forced into the corner, and the try was not converted.
Finally Chiswick got some ball and began to play with more conviction, with Rich Bryan and Fred Topping prominent. A number of passes were now slung together, with Max Burrows at centre and Gabs Lowe, at full back putting some pressure on the Hammersmith defence. James Dibble, as always was in the middle of things, and had to receive early attention as Chiswick strove to get going. New scrum half Joe Harlowe was giving fly half Oliver Snook plenty of good passes, but the reorganised back line, missing the injured James Bunbury, understandably took a while to settle. Matt Cooper decided to beef up the back division and ploughed a furrow through the Hammersmith defence. Chiswick now had a good period of possession, around the half-hour mark, with one or two minor scares. When Hammersmith finally attacked, Chiswick left wing Andy Ibberson brilliantly intercepted a long pass by the visitors’ full back and scorched to the posts. Snook added the points and the good home crowd had something to cheer. Hammersmith steamed back with a great maul from the kick-off, well snuffed out by the home defence. Right wing Ed Peach dealt well with the next threat from the Hammersmith left wing, but pressure eventually told, and the visitors went further ahead with a good penalty kick just before half-time.
Ten minutes into the second half, with sub Ben Barkham on, Snook got the deficit down to five points with a penalty kick. Marc Copperwheat led a surge upfield from the home 22 as Chiswick stepped up their effort. Simon Allen-Clarke and Peach were soon involved, and Cooper did well to hang on to a far-too-quick pass, to keep the move going. Brook Wannop came on for Topping, just before Chiswick had a long period of pressure, starting with a good maul from a lineout, and ending with the pack forcing their way over the line, with Copperwheat the man in possession. Snook’s kick unluckily came back off the left post. Twenty minutes to go.
Chiswick looked much more in control now, and after the forwards got close to the line again, the ball was whipped out to Wannop, who with a couple of sidesteps to round the would-be tacklers, got his first try for the club, duly converted. Play was scrappy, with both teams making mistakes as they tired. It was a long clearance kick that failed to find touch that proved Chiswick’s undoing, as the visitors’ backs, with the help of a fast-moving and large prop, ran the ball from their half to the home line, with the full back getting the touchdown. London Welsh now just lead the Table, with Chiswick second. The meeting between these clubs should be really exciting.
Chiswick team: F Leslie-Miller, Dibble, Cooper, Copperwheat, Allen-Clarke, Topping, Bryan, S Leslie-Miller, Harlowe, Snook, Peach, Harper, Burrows, Ibberson, Lowe; Edgson, Wannop, Barkham