Hopcroft’s brilliance seals win for Tabard
London League Two NW Chiswick 11 Tabard 17 NEIL Hopcroft, Tabard s wing, made a tremendous run out of defence to set up a try from nothing to give Tabard the edge in a thrilling encounter against Chiswick on Saturday, with Tabard finally ending up worthy
London League Two NW
Chiswick 11 Tabard 17
NEIL Hopcroft, Tabard's wing, made a tremendous run out of defence to set up a try from nothing to give Tabard the edge in a thrilling encounter against Chiswick on Saturday, with Tabard finally ending up worthy winners.
Hopcroft's great break came in the second half, with Tabard leading by 10 points to six.
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With Chiswick on the attack they had grubber kicked through the Tabard defence and with only Hopcroft between the attackers and the line he managed to cleanly pick up the bobbling ball and shrug of two Chiswick tackles to give him space.
He raced up the touchline for 25 metres, before hesitating in front of the Chiswick covering defence and then accelerating inside and across the pitch.
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His run then linked him to second row Darren Kidd scurrying up in support and Kidd passed to centre Mike Thomas to score as the defence was outflanked.
Hopcroft's effort was the highlight of a rugged and exciting encounter with two evenly matched sides vying hard for the victory.
Although Tabard started well and centres Gerald Arasa and Thomas both had searing runs up field, the Chiswick defence held and only a penalty from stand-off Jack Reilly gave Tabard their opening three points.
Tabard then changed tactics and tried to use the forwards but again without result although they did look as if they had touched down at one stage but the referee was not satisfied.
Just before half time another Tabard surge was rewarded when Arasa put in a precision cross kick and Thomas and Hopcroft both chased hard with Hopcroft claiming the score. Reilly converted.
In the second half it was Tabard's turn to bear the brunt of the attacking with Chiswick proving worthy opponents and only sound defence, including two try saving tackles by full-back Joe Cunningham, keeping Chiswick out although their pressure was rewarded with two penalties from stand-off Luckman, bringing Chiswick to within four points.
It was then that Hopcroft showed his touch of brilliance and the game was secured.
Deep in injury time the Chiswick wing showed what could have been when he surged through the defence for a good try but Tabard had done enough to win by 17 points to 11 and give Chiswick their first home league defeat in 37 games.
Next week Tabard travel to Hemel Hempstead for a re-arranged league game, kick off 2.30 pm.
Tabard: Cunningham, Roberts, Thomas, Arasa, Hopcroft, Reilly, Murphy, B Lake, O'Neill, W Lake, Kidd, Miller (James 76), O'Connor, Hall (Calnan 75), Stoba.