Saints go down to defeat against Chiswick
London Division Two NW Chiswick 21 St Albans 7 FOLLOWING their recent improvement, Saints regressed to their early season form when travelling to Chiswick s Dukes Meadow ground on the banks of the Thames on Saturday. With the traffic particularly onerous
London Division Two NW
Chiswick 21 St Albans 7
FOLLOWING their recent improvement, Saints regressed to their early season form when travelling to Chiswick's Dukes Meadow ground on the banks of the Thames on Saturday.
With the traffic particularly onerous because of the England - Australia fixture at nearby Twickenham, the majority of the team failed to arrive until 20 minutes prior to the 2.30pm kick off time and after little over 10 minutes of play, at 14-0 down, it appeared that St Albans were still indeed in their cars.
Saints had started well enough, holding some reasonable territorial advantage. However, Chiswick's first touch of the ball saw their stand-off put up a speculative Garryowen. Unfortunately, Saints knocked-on just outside their 22 giving the home side an attacking scrum. From this, a basic scissors was worked by the Chiswick midfield to send their strong running centre over to touch down under the posts.
Immediately from the restart Saints put together a series of attacks, retaining possession, going through the phases and looking destined to score.
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However with five metres to go, 10 metres in from the touchline, the ball was spilled. Saints, having committed everybody to this attack had no cover. The quick thinking Chiswick wing beat the initial despairing tackles and sprinted the length of the pitch to score unhindered.
The rest of the first half saw Saints dominate possession without having a cutting edge to break through the home side's defence.
After a stern talking to at the break, St Albans seemed to have put the journey well behind them when coming out for the second half. They looked much more lively in both attack and defence, but once again they couldn't convert their territorial dominance into points.
The referee wasn't helping either side, constantly halting play for infringements that nobody on the touchline had witnessed. To further anger all concerned, he always followed up with a lecture to both the offender and his respective captain. This negated any continuity in play causing both sides to get increasingly fractious.
St Albans did however open their account midway through the half. At last, after a series of drives from the Saints pack, the ball was released to their backs and swift hands allowed the ball to reach Ed Coy on the right wing.
He still had 40 metres to run but he quickly skipped past his opposite number and set off for the line. A great covering tackle was made 10 metres out by the Chiswick full back, but Coy was brilliantly supported by his captain Justin Joubert who evaded the further cover to touch down in the corner. A superb strike from Harry Trude, who had replaced full back Kentish at half time, brought deficit back to seven points.
It looked to all watching that Saints would now increase the intensity and go on and win. Indeed, from a number of penalties the Trude boot found touch around the opposition's five metre line thus setting up a series of opportunities for the Saints pack to score from their usually reliable catch and drive. However the Saints lineout was not functioning to its normal level and more opportunities went begging.
The away side were guilty all day of some basic handling errors. It was indeed one of these that gave the opposition turnover ball deep in the Saints half. In almost a carbon copy of their first try, albeit this time from broken play, the Chiswick centre was again on hand to slice through a weak Saints defence.
Despite there still being 15 minutes left to play, further Saints' pressure would not muster any further points.
They were left to ponder on the arduous trip home how this one had slipped away. There had only been two enforced changes from the side that had looked so comfortable over the previous two weekends. Work will surely be done in training this week to tighten their first up defence that leaked two tries from only two meaningful attacks.
This coming weekend, Saints entertain fellow strugglers Finchley. This will hopefully see the home side rediscover their late October form.
St Albans: Kentish, Coy, Dickinson, Morete, Tsangari, Alderton, Hissey, M Huddleston, Callan, O'Leary, C Huddleston, Sayers, Styles, Bickle, Joubert. rep - Lemiere, Hillier, Trude.