In a game where no quarters were given, it was the Chiswick’s superior open play that finally sealed this win. Seventeen years ago, in possibly their last meeting, Haringey thrashed Chiswick in a league match 46-12. The only Chiswick survivor of that match still playing in one of the top teams is prop Marko Chraplewczyk, and he was playing for the firsts today in the Middlesex Cup Final!
The victorious Chiswick Silverbacks. Credit: Phil Wolstenholme
Haringey’s pack showed their strength early on with a good maul following a lineout. Keith Luckman then produced a couple of good long touch kicks to steady the home nerves. Chiswick soon had a period of pressure near the opponents line, with Al Pickering, scrum half Neil Gill, and hooker Michael George all going close before Haringey got a turnover. Soon Chiswick were in front, however, a long pass finding George in space, and he circled to touch down near the posts. Given the gale blowing across the pitch, the level of handling in this try was excellent. Captain Simon Hallett added the points.
Veteran Simon Hallett adds the extras. Credit: Phil Wolstenholme
Brynley Price then had a good break, but managed to pass straight to a Haringey player who set up a good counter-attack. After fifteen minutes, a multi-phase attack by Haringey, with their prop Matt Fletcher prominent, culminated in a try under the posts, and the conversion levelled the scores.
Haringey missed a kick at goal to take the lead – probably a scrum would have been the better option, given the wind. Chiswick got a long kick in to relieve the pressure, and Haringey obligingly knocked on. A couple of offences later, and Chiswick spun the ball wide out left, for Roman Zakrevsky to accelerate past the defender and score in the corner. There was no conversion. A long kick by Haringey set up a race for the touchdown, which Chiswick just won. Half time soon followed.
A flash of brilliance by Gill lightened up the start of the second half, the scrum half charging down and catching a defensive Haringey kick, and then leaving the field for dead as he sped for the line. Luckman’s kick failed, unsurprisingly, as the wind still lashed Riverside Lands. Luckman soon gained three points for Chiswick with a good penalty kick, however. Haringey were still up for it, and soon reduced the arrears, despite powerful tackling by Jon Gibson and Hallett, their centre getting in close to the posts, and the conversion following. A six point lead is dodgy, but Dave Hill soon made it nine with a good penalty kick.
Jon Hartman got a well-deserved, unconverted try, but Haringey came straight back with one of their own to put the issue still in doubt. Hartman, who had had a great game, nearly got the clincher after a quick tap and go, but in fact the final score came from a simple pass out to Hill who got the touchdown to huge acclaim from the large crowd of home supporters.
Dave Hill adds the final points. Credit: Phil Wolstenholme
Chiswick team: Davies, George, Coates, Price, Hartman, Elliott, Adams, Pickering, A, Gill, Luckman, Lunn, Hallett, Gibson, Zakrevsky, Cheston; Drayson, Stephenson, Pickering, M, Lee, Dolan, Hill, Hammond