Tabard 17 Chiswick 22
Chiswick started the season’s first League match brightly, with Jon Joyce first to Simon Hallett’s kick-off. After a minute, the first penalty of the game provided Hallett with a reasonable chance of three points. The length was good, but the ball was pushed right. The early play was unambitious, with both sides tackling well and the scrums and lineouts fairly even, although Tabard looked a little more settled in their routines. Chiswick were having to come to terms with a new half-back pairing of Joe Grindle and Hallett, with Vannini injured, but initially the forward support was good in the open play despite the ubiquitous No. 7 Rikki Darroch also being absent.
Fifteen minutes into play, after Chiswick had failed to deal with a hopeful long kick, Tabard opened the scoring when their full back sprinted into the line, swerved through the defence and scored under the posts. Soon it was 7-0, rather against the run of play. With little success passing straight out Hallett tried a chip kick, which bounced neatly into touch to set up a good position. Grindle’s head suffered its first knock as a wayward hand hit it as he sniped around the scrum. Tabard went further ahead after a simple penalty kick, but Chiswick were beginning to apply pressure and set up a good maul after a lineout on the home 22. Stopped just short, they went for another lineout, but this time they were penalised after the Chiswick captain Sam Leslie-Miller, unusually at lock, appeared to have made a clean catch.
At the next Chiswick maul in the home 22, Tabard were penalised for pulling it down, but Chiswick wasted a great chance when they failed to take the ensuing lineout ball. Chiswick increased the pressure, and after a sustained attack, involving both wings and most of the forwards they got a scrum on the home 22 in the middle of the pitch. After Ray Brooks, Matt Cooper, Ben Reedman and Leslie-Miller had all had a go, Grindle took charge, and chipped the ball neatly over the opposition. He and the home full back reached the ball simultaneously and knocked it up into the air. Grindle kept his eye on it, leapt up, snatched it and flashed over the line. A moment of magic, and the score became 10-7. Chiswick attacked again from the kick-off, and gained a penalty. Hallett slotted this one between the posts, and the scores were level at half-time.
Dave Hill came on for George Dimitriadis at half time, and instantly changed the game, drawing a defender before finding Leslie-Miller, who sent Tom Steer rushing towards the corner. Drawing the last defender, the wing passed the ball back into the lock to put Chiswick five points up. The kick failed. Chiswick continued to control the play, and began to look more organised, although Grindle remained the only major threat to Tabard, with Leslie-Miller a real thorn in their side. Rowan Tonkin received a head injury after putting in a good short burst down the wing, and Grindle was well-bloodied by a smack in the head which took a while to treat. What should have been the last ten minutes became the last twenty five as pride drove Tabard inexorably towards the Chiswick line. Chiswick held on – too long for the referee on occasions, and finished up with thirteen players on the pitch when Tabard got over for a one-point goal.
Chiswick team :- Shattock, Dibble, Tonkin, Joyce, Leslie-Miller, Reedman, Biss, Cooper, Grindle, Hallett, Dimitriadis, Brooks, Sutherland, McLaughlin, Steer, El Kabbi, Hill, Edgson