After a couple of months hard work, which started with touch on the Green in June and pre-season proper in July, Chiswick finally got their first taste of full code rugby under floodlights on Thursday night, as they welcomed South West 1 side Windsor to Dukes Meadows – a side who had already competed in two pre-season fixtures this season.
The warm-up match, hosted on the splendid all-weather pitch, allowed both clubs to give a number of newcomers a chance to show their talents, and a number of the others to prove that they had not let their bodies go completely to seed over the summer.
Windsor, who play L6 rugby in South West 1, had some exciting backs, but generally had difficulty containing the enthusiastic home players, all out to impress the coaching staff, and it was more impressive still in that ten members of the Middlesex Cup winning team were missing. Time to try things and fly half Oliver Snook soon caught the eye with a high diagonal kick to the corner for Tom Steer and Ed Peach to go for. The defence won, however. Ryno Lopes was then noted for an excellent pick-up of a loose ball after a try-saving tackle from Peach. Windsor scored the first, and possibly the best try of the match, taking a scrum against the head in their own 22, and breaking up-field with dextrous handling to score in the left corner.
Chiswick responded immediately, with Tom Steer scoring in the left corner after good work by Freddie Topping, James Bunbury and Marc Copperwheat. Snook was soon replaced by Luke Philipson, who showed his paces with a thirty metre break in mid-field. Chiswick now went ahead with a try by Andy Ibberson, courtesy of a clever kick by Philipson, who proceeded to convert it. Although neither lineouts nor scrums were rock-solid for Chiswick, the loose play was good, with sound tackling, usually with two players involved, and sensible accurate passing. Windsor brought the scores level just before half-time with a try near the posts following a kick down the middle.
Immediate 2nd half pressure by Chiswick got them camped for a minute on the goal line before the seemingly inevitable try followed, well-converted. When Windsor got on the attack again, Ibberson read a long pass well and got his boot in just before the Windsor hands. A 60 metre chase got got him to the ball, and then to the line first. Chiswick got two more tries, including a typical James Dibble try following a lineout drive, on of which was converted. It was pleasing thay none of the personnel changes seemed seriously to affect the quality of the play. The coaches’ problem is an “embarrass de richesse”.
The first game of the season is against Hackney, at home, on Sept 14th.
Chiswick Squad: Barkham, Dibble, Filbey, Copperwheat, Allen-Clarke, Topping, Lopes, Leslie-Miller S, Roberts, Snook, Peach, Harper, Bunbury, Steer, Cooper, Rich, Reid, Biss, Pibbs, Sowden, Edgson, Arbor, Lauder, Taylor, Leslie-Miller F, Ridgeway, Holland, Hood, Lowe,