St Albans lose out to Chiswick

ST ALBANS welcomed high flying Chiswick to Boggymead on Saturday looking to avenge their narrow defeat earlier in the season, writes Garry Boost.

However, since that fixture, the visitors had obviously strengthened and won nine of their following 10 games.

As it turned out, the match was closely fought, with high quality rugby on show from both sides and with strong defence keeping scoring low. But Chiswick prevailed 24-10.

The nip and tuck nature of the whole game was exemplified in the first quarter. Both teams created great opportunities, only for the respective defences to spoil the party. In fact after 30 minutes of play, there hadn’t even been a kickable penalty awarded, hence the score line remained 0-0. This spoke volumes for the attitude of both sides, neither willing to give any ‘soft’ points away.

It was the hosts who opened the scoring, when after a series of carries deep in the Chiswick 22 and with the visiting defence finally tiring, scrum half Alex Deane sniped around the blind side of a ruck. He looked to give the pass to Dan Townson in the corner but instead chose to give the reverse inside pass to the veteran John Sayers who touched down. Kentish unusually missed the conversion attempt.

Saints should now have consolidated their slender advantage, but whether they relaxed or perhaps it was Chiswick upping the anti, in the space of a few minutes, the visitors turned things around with first an equalising try in the left hand corner then taking the lead with another well worked move on the opposite side. Neither was converted but as the whistle sounded for halftime, Saints were disappointed to have conceded twice late on after defending so well earlier.

The second period began much as the first with the defences stopping any attacks.

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The visitors were now enjoying far more of the ball and the pressure told when their flanker burrowed his way over under the posts. The simple conversion made, Chiswick had now opened up a 17-5 lead.

St Albans knew they had to make the next score and this they duly did. Once again, Saints produced their best when the chips were down, with a classic team try. All the hard work and yards were made by a reinvigorated pack, sucking in not only their opposite numbers but the visiting backs had to help out too.

With the defensive line now out of sync, Deane could now set his backs free and quality hands from first Alderton, then Grove, Satchell coming off his opposite wing, full back Kentish joining the line to create the final try scoring pass to centre James Ford to scoot in the corner.

Game on. Or at least it should have been. Having toiled long and hard to haul themselves back into the fixture, Saints inexplicably failed to deal with the ensuing kick off, immediately handing momentum back to the visitors.

Sure enough, one missed tackle later Chiswick were once again touching down between the sticks. Although Saints finished the final few minutes the stronger, Chiswick continued to defend well.

Saints deserved a third try, which if converted would have given them an all important losing bonus point but it wasn’t to be. A very even game saw the visitors to be the more clinical at vital times over the 80 minutes.

Saints saluted man of the match Sassoon Moskofian, starting for the first time on the flank in a senior fixture. His excellent all-round game asked questions of the selectors, who up until now had seen him as a wing.