With my thanks to the Chiswick RFU scribe:
CS ultimately gained a comfortable victory in this re-run of last season’s Middlesex Cup final in front of a crowd of nearly 200 supporters at Chiswick RFC. For the first half of the match things were pretty even, but as the Chiswick kept failing to win their own lineouts, CS gained in confidence and exploited their advantage in possession. Chiswick, as always, played with great passion and commitment, but found it hard to make progress against a well-organised defence. Initial pressure did, however, secure them an early lead, slotting a good penalty goal. CS came straight back when Josh Forrester wove his way over the line for an unconverted try.
Chiswick were back ahead after ten minutes with a converted try. Within four minutes CS were level when some slick handling along the backs from a scrum in the home 22 exposed a weakness in the home defence, leading to an unconverted try.
Thrills and spills aplenty followed as the play sped from end-to-end, and a period of Civil Service pressure tested the home defence resulted in a clearance kick finding James Houstoun who ran back at speed and was well supported handing another score to Josh Forrster under the posts. Two points were quickly added. Chiswick now had a period of pressure, and after four minutes they were level through a try by their forwards.
Another four minutes and CS came back and a well chased long kick led to an unconverted try by James Dazeley, Chiswick had a chance to cut the lead on the stroke of half-time, but fortunately missed the kick.
Chiswick made a disastrous start to the second half as CS forwards took control, allowing Anthony Lavea at 9 to prove particularly elusive, and an early try was followed by a soul-destroying cameo. Chiswick had fought successfully for the ball on their 22, but a wind-assisted pass back was followed by three unsuccessful attempts to gain possession as the ball kept wriggling away, and then rolled over the line towards a CS player, who happily touched it down under the posts, but the conversion was missed! Chiswick came back strongly, and an even passage of play followed, interrupted for some time by a nasty ankle injury to Axel Wilhelmesen who was taken to hospital and is now starting a lengthy programme of physiotherapy.
The Chiswick forwards were scrummaging and mauling well all the time, and a sustained period of pressure resulted in an ecstatically-received try. Moments later, the CS struck back, with Ant Lavea selling some great dummies on his way to the try line, and the conversion following. The next try for CS had an element of luck – the Chiswick forwards had done well to steal the ball during a CS maul, but were right on their goal line at the time. With only a short in-goal area, there was little room for manoeuvre, and the attempted clearance kick was charged down, and fell neatly for Taylor Direen, in his last game for CS before returning to NZ, to touch down and was duly converted.
CS got one more converted try against a tiring defence, but Chiswick had the last word with a converted try.
Updated 11:18 - 6 Jun 2017 by Graham Clucas
Fantastic day. Fantastic win! Well done to Mark Jackson and the Cup Final squad!