Tries from Tom Steer, Ryno Lopes and Sam Biss gave Chiswick their sixth win of the season with a 24-7 success on the road at Luton, meaning they keep pace with London Welsh, who won again but failed to secure a bonus point.
Chiswick are currently one point behind London Welsh making the fast approaching first meeting between the sides on 7 December more and more enticing. A game not to be missed!
Chiswick 24 Luton 7
Cold wet conditions meant that this first ever meeting between these clubs often comprised piles of bodies sliding one way or another on the grass whilst players failed to grasp the ball which had even more of a mind of its own than usual.
Chiswick, the form team, took control of the game early on, and Luton spent most of the first half defending, which they did with a good degree of skill and effort. It meant, however, that they did not take full advantage of the wind behind them, although their fly half did make a number of useful long kicks. The scrums were fairly even, but captain Sam Leslie-Miller, welcomed back from Japan, did his usual job of picking up at the back of the scrum, and spinning through the opposition, more successfully than his counterpart in the home team, and with the quick and strong tackling of the Chiswick pack, and the surging runs, particularly of Ryno Lopes, Luton found it very hard to get going. Chiswick jumpers Rich Bryan and Sam Leslie-Miller did well in the lineouts, not really helped by a pernickety referee demanding absolutely straight throws. An early long kick by Oliver Snook for wing Tom Steer to chase almost gave Chiswick the dream start, but he was pipped to the ball as it crawled over the line. Soon after, however, offside at a ruck gave Snook an easy chance to put three points on the impressively large scoreboard, which he did.
Luton now got a rare attack going, but as often happens, when you finally get a break you fluff it, and on this occasion, it was a dropped pass in midfield, kicked on by a Chiswick player and chased by, amongst others, wings Joe Haddow and Steer, that led to Steer getting a touchdown wide out, well converted by Snook. Full back Luke Philipson coped very well with a couple of long kicks, getting the back line moving quickly ( a back line with an average age of 23, apparently ), so preventing Luton gaining much advantage. Being thwarted on the open side, Luton tried attacking down the narrow side from five metres out, only to fall foul of the referee (handling in the ruck). Twenty five minutes in their fly half finally made a break from his own half, and the ball was moved efficiently out to the right wing who looked to be clear – not so – the flying Max Burrows swooped in, grabbed him and swung him round towards and into touch. It really wasn’t Luton’s day. Another home attack broke down near the Chiswick goal line, and a high clearance kick caused real problems for Luton, with Philipson and Burrows chasing the bouncing ball as it eluded the home defenders. Luton finally got the ball in their 22, and kicked it downfield straight to Snook, who tried a diagonal kick to the right corner for Haddow to chase. A fraction too long, the ball rolled into touch just before the wing got there.
The second half began scrappily as the rain got heavier, but Chiswick soon got into the home 22 and after a ruck spun the ball along the line for Steer to canter in at the corner. The referee, however, had apparently whistled for a penalty earlier, and after a scrum, which Chiswick appeared to lose, and a great deal of confusion amongst the spectators, he awarded Chiswick another penalty and eventually Matt Cooper surged towards the posts, and after several phases the ball was touched down for a try, Lopes getting the credit. Snook added the points. Subs Simon Allen-Clarke, Ben Kelly and Gabs Lowe joined the fray energetically, whilst Luton strove for the elusive break. When they did get a penalty in a good attacking position they kicked the ball dead. Chiswick in turn failed to convert three five metre lineouts into any points as the home defence mauled them backwards.
Eventually, following yet another lineout near the home line, Chiswick scored another try, hooker Sam Biss getting over in the left corner. Snook produced another good kick, but despite all their effort Chiswick could not get the bonus point try; in fact it was Luton who deservedly got the last try (converted) with the attacker finding a good diagonal line after a rare session of home pressure culminating in a penalty in front of the posts.
T: Steer, Lopes, Biss
C: Snook (3)
Chiswick team: Leslie-Miller F, Biss, Cooper, Bryan, Copperwheat, Topping, Lopes, Leslie-Miller S, Harlow, Snook, Haddow, Farrell, Burrows, Steer, Philipson; Allen-Clarke, Kelly, Lowe
Author: D Lovell