Letchworth played some better rugby than might be expected for the bottom team in the league – but that fails to take account of the generally high standard of rugby at Level 7 in the southeast. The day really belonged to Marco Chraplywyj, playing his 400th 1st team game. Some achievement given the fitness levels required by this successful team, particularly on the splendid new all weather pitch.
Marko with Marc Copperwheat
In the scrums, the lineouts and the mauls there was little to choose between the teams, but in aggression and game management, Chiswick were well ahead, with Oliver Snook at fly half putting in some great kicks, as well as setting up numerous handling attacks. His initial kick-off was long and accurate, and Chiswick regained possession almost immediately. Moving the ball swiftly from side-to-side, Chiswick bemused the opposition, and soon Ryno Lopes sent Tom Steer clear on the left to round the defence and score wide out. Snook made it look really professional with a superb conversion. Letchworth immediately responded with good handling in a spirited attack, but a hopeful kick by their fly half gave James Bunbury the chance to demonstrate his defensive prowess in dealing with a bouncing rugby ball. Another good Letchworth attack foundered on a knock-on. With Chiswick pinned in their 22, Sam Leslie-Miller made a typical break from the back of a retreating scrum and gained a good 15 metres – the oppositions’ tackling was a bit half-hearted, one felt. Chiswick now counter-attacked through Rich Bryan and Snook.
With twenty minutes gone, a simple attack from left to right by the home team led to a try by Max Burrows, with Letchworth complaining about crossing. The kick failed. Chiswick went straight back on the attack, and with Bryan catching at the tail of the lineout, Steer came into the line and then Bunbury sped through the first line of defence. Tom Gadsby carried on the move, Snook got the ball to Bunbury heading for the left corner, and he switched the ball inside to Steer who got the touch-down. Again the kick was not quite good enough. Letchworth at last managed their first sustained attack, but it was Chiswick who came back with their bonus point (unconverted) try, scored by Gadsby after the forwards mauled over the try line.
In the last ten minutes of the half Letchworth took advantage of some loose kicking by Chiswick, proving good at running from deep, and soon scored after a fast attack down the left. The kick just failed. Visibly heartened by this they soon scored another good try, their No.12 out-pacing the home defence and scoring under the posts. 22-12 at half-time.
For five minutes Chiswick were under real pressure after the restart, but then Burrows made his second attempt at an interception, and this time no whistle ensued as he sprinted to the posts from a good 60 metres out. Snook added a very easy two points. Letchworth resumed their attack, and Chiswick lost a player to a yellow card. After a couple of penalties had been wasted, the visitors finally took advantage of the extra player, their right wing showing impressive pace down the line. The kick failed. With Chiswick back to full strength, sub Marc Copperwheat came on and was soon powering a good ten metres into the Letchworth 22. A delicate cross chip by Snook bounced kindly for Gabs Lowe who streaked round the defence to score wide out.
With five minutes to go, Letchworth scored a cracking unconverted try, moving the ball out of some good home tackling and just making it to the line. Chiswick were not to be out-done, and with all fifteen players eager to be involved, scored an equally good try, involving Burrows, Lowe and Snook, the latter touching down and getting the conversion. Simon Allen-Clarke made a telling break down the middle as the visitors tired, and the final bit of luck favoured Chiswick, a sliced chip by Lowe, attacking down the right, bouncing straight into Burrows’ hands. Snook’s conversion heralded the final whistle.
Chiswick 48 Letchworth 22
T: Steer (2), Burrows (2), Lowe (2), Gadsby, Snook
C: Snook (4)
Chiswick team: Cooper, Dibble, Chraplewczyk, Bryan, Allen-Clarke, Gadsby, Lopes, Leslie-Miller, Cox, Snook, Burrows, Harper, Bunbury, Steer, Lowe; Filbey, Copperwheat, Churton
Man of the Match Ollie Snook receives his Cote de Boeuf courtesy of The Meat Room from Head Coach Andy Barrington