Old Actonians defeat local rivals

Rugby Result - Chiswick 17 Old Actonians 32

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Sadly for the home supporters it was only in the dying moments of this game that Chiswick really began to show their class in this exciting and well-attended match. For seventy minutes a keen and well-organised Actonians team kept a tight hold on Chiswick moves from the scrums, collaring the indefatigable home scrum half Glen Ambrose on numerous occasions. Lineouts were fairly even, but small mistakes took the edge off a number of home moves.

The visitors started brightly, and immediately pressurised Chiswick with quick recycling and short bursts which usually took the player over the gain line. The first surge towards the home line by the Actonians No.3 proved unstoppable, and it was 5-0 after three minutes. Chiswick then had a good spell, but a marginal (and very late called) forward pass stopped the home threes in their tracks after running from their own half into the visitors’ 22. Lock Mike Sampson was then put away by centre Ben Hinze, but was taken down short of the line, and then Mark Jones nearly broke through the centre of the defence after good lineout work by the home pack. The Actonians defended well as Chiswick camped in their 22, but eventually fly half Keith Luckman slotted a penalty kick to reduce the arrears.

The next score was crucial and really cruel for the home team, who were beginning to look impressive in attack, and defending well. From an Actonians scrum on the home 22, the ball was passed well forward to their No.8, who scored in the right corner. The home team were deflated, and soon Actonians achieved their first wheel of the home scrum. With a clear weight advantage in the scrum, the Actonians No.8, together with their nippy scrum half were making life very difficult for Chiswick. The home team were having to defend well, which in general they did, but the home scrum was creaking, and a blind side gap opened up for their scrum half, who almost had time to thank Chiswick before scoring. Again the kick failed.

Actonians kept the pressure up in the second half, although substitute No.8 Nick Pritchard began to make yardage for the home team from the set pieces. After a double cock-up by the home team, letting a kick roll into touch and then throwing the ball to the opposition, Actonians mucked up with a forward pass when the line was at their mercy. The reprieve was very temporary, as Chiswick lost the ensuing scrum, and a couple of moves ended with the Actonians’ inside centre scoring. The kick came back off the post. When the home team did get the ball, it was very slow. Home hooker Elliot Pickering managed to nick an opposition lineout ball, but the ball was turned over at the next tackle, and a clever kick down-field bounced wickedly for the home defenders, and very kindly for the Actonians centre. Incredibly, the conversion kick, from the same spot as the previous one, also came back off the post.

Perhaps bemused by this, Actonians relaxed a little, and allowed Ambrose to make a break from a lineout. With Chiswick finally achieving some pressure, Sampson took an opposition lineout, and after a short maul, Ambrose whipped the ball out to Jones who ripped the Actonians’ defence apart as he cruised over. Luckman converted. Chiswick knocked on the restart kick, and the resultant scrum nearly produced another try. A superb saving tackle by substitute No.6 Graham Robbings rescued Chiswick from the next crisis, and Jones and Alastair Pickering produced the next rescuing act after Slattery’s attempted chip merely fed the opposition backs. The escape was short-lived, and it was the hard-working Actonians scrumhalf who got over after a pile of bodies had mounted up on the home line. Finally Actonians achieved a conversion.

Chiswick remained stubborn, and deservedly got the final score, Slattery finding a great angle to come into the line from the blind side wing and scoring comfortably under the posts. Luckman dropkicked the conversion, and the final whistle was blown.

March 22, 2006