Feltham RFC vs Chiswick III
Top Two Clash
After recovering from a severe bout of writer’s block, the Scribe emerges from his hovel to document the new adventures of Feltham rugby club…
The away fixture had seen a hard fought loss with Chiswick opening up an early and ultimately unassailable lead. The bar had been set, and Feltham knew Chiswick were a real threat.
With Chiswick occupying top spot and Feltham second, but with a game in hand, the result could either extend Chiswick’s dominance or allow Feltham to claw back vital ground before the arrival of Thamesians a week hence. Thus the stage was set, and Feltham’s band of gypsies rallied together knowing that giving anything less than everything would not be enough. Chiswick, winning the toss, opted to kick but that suited Feltham who, with the wind behind them, were keen to avoid another sluggish start. And so it proved.
The kick was collected by Femi who swept forward with octopus-like handoffs before setting up a ruck. Scott McVey spread quick ball to Reece, who fed Darren (who’s never full) who carried before releasing a sublime offload to darting Mirv who raced away. Pacing up flank, Mirvin executed a textbook draw and pass to the debonair Dodge who nonchalantly outpaced the wing before arcing toward the posts for a lightening score. Reece duly converted to leave Felts 7 to the good with before some fans had even taken their seats.
Receiving the kick again, Feltham again immediately piled on the pressure with Femi making a nuisance of himself and Zed crashing forwards. Breaking down the wing, Reece sped through the scattered defence before passing out to Dodge on the wing. Tall and handsome, the skipper collected the ball, handed off his man and then with a touch of Harlem Globetrotters he arrowed a pass over the heads of the confused defenders (and attackers) back inside. Hopelessly flying over Derren’s head, the ball bounced up in front Ryan before Dorren retrieved it and passed to Danny to trundle under the posts for a second score well inside the opening ten minutes. Feltham 14 Chiswick 0.
The blistering barrage didn’t stop there. Sensing blood, Feltham kept up the intensity and became a little gung ho. Silly penalties were given away at the breakdown as Feltham sought to spoil and contest every ruck. The Feltham forwards thundered forwards, drawing in the Chiswick players before moving the ball wide through Reece to Dodge. Deciding against any over-the-head tomfoolery, Dodge sprinted forwards before threading a pass back inside to Reece who had kept up his storming run in support. The neat little one-two resulting in a third try before the game was a quarter of an hour old. Feltham 21 – Chiswick 0.
With penalties creeping in and Feltham players increasingly looking to score of the first phase, Chiswick started to assert themselves. Steaming forwards, some loose play from Felts allowed the Chiswick to collect the ball and nip in behind the defence. Fortunately Joe Hales was on hand to mop up before real damage was done.
When it came to lineouts, Scott Savill’s salmon-like leap had spoilt the Chiswick’s ball and afterwards they were unwilling to risk it again. The combination of Ryan’s throw and Danny and Scott’s jumping was too daunting a prospect and Feltham were able to dominate the set pieces.
But the pressure continued to grow and Chiswick fought their way to the Feltham line. It was desperate stuff but a slew of penalties on the line was attracting the referee’s rancour. Dan Baker, back in the squad after having the vagina removed from his shin, was a little over zealous. As if cutting into the ruck from the side wasn’t enough, he grabbed the scrummy (by his hair no less) and pulled him over the top. Time was that this sort of determined rugby may have been applauded, but the referee was none too impressed. The yellow card was shown and Dan got a well-earned rest.
Down to fourteen and facing a penalty less than ten yards from the danger zone, Feltham were up against it. The hordes of adoring fans bit their nails in anticipation – they knew what would follow. The hurly-burly, crash ball runner stomped forward only to be repelled by a resolute defence. Whether it was Dirrin wrapping and ripping or Ryan’s daisy-cutting chop tackles, felts were water tight. Classic Feltham.
It would not end there though. The man advantage and the indignity of surrendering such a quick lead drove Chiswick forth in waves. Backs against the walls, Feltham continued to hold firm as phase after phase, and penalty after scrum kept Chiswick camped on the Feltham line. Reece, never one to shy from the limelight, fancied a little attention and, yards from the tryline, piled into a ruck from the side just like Baker. The referee, conscious of the penalty tally on feltham’s tryline duly gave Reece his marching orders. Feltham would face the best of part of 10minutes two men down. Vintage Feltham stuff indeed.
Joe Hales stepped into 10 and Callum and Dodge marshalled both fullback and wing together. But this is the crucible that proves winners and losers. Feltham kept a hermetic seal on the tryline and an incredible defence from the forwards especially drove Chiswick further away from the line.
Mirvin was eventually able to scramble the ball away and sprint almost the length of the pitch. Callum Hales darted after the bearded hobo for what would have been a real sucker punch of a score but Mirv was unable to find the fleet-footed, pink-booted winger. However, Chiswick were deflated and Feltham buoyant as the pendulum again swung in their favour.
So impressed by the verve and tenacity of Feltham’s attack, Chiswick were foundering under the blue tide. Danny, was full of beans had clearly had his Weetabix too. Rampant across the park, he surged forward after a tactical kick to bear down on the Chiswick defender. Whether he slipped or was just overawed by Danny’s energy, the Chiswick man neatly popped the ball up to his opponent and Danny sauntered under the sticks for his second of the match. With but thirteen men Feltham extended their lead to 28 points. As Dan baker and then Reece returned to play, Chiswick knew that their opportunity had probably gone.
The halftime chat from Crumpy focussed on composure – Feltham were guilty of playing a million miles per hour and forcing plays when Felts were completely in control. The penalty count was again too high and needless errors were preventing Feltham from scoring more heavily. Despite a bang to the head, Phil Walker manfully continued standing in at prop – a move that was welcomed by both sides in keeping the scrums competitive.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Feltham taking the initiative but Chiswick held fast at first.
Scott McVey, who’d dominated his opposite number off every scrum - ably assisted by Dirren and Dave on the flanks – was the team metronome, keeping everything ticking. It was no surprise then when he took advantage of the space offered him and nipped through the defence to get a well earnt try. Reece was not quite able to replicate his heroic kicking though and the lead grew to 33-0.
Mike Fullick offered his normal bulldozing self as Darryn has a rest and Chiswick were starting to feel the bite. Pummelled in midfield, whether attacking or defending, Feltham continued to grow in stature as Chiswick faded like the black of Phil Walker’s hair. The sight of Albert limbering up on the touchline can hardly have helped.
The big pitch was certainly in Feltham’s favour and attacking up the left flank again a lineout was won inside the Chiswick 22’. Ryan’s throwing had been hitting the mark all day and lofted ball over to Femi led to Felts closer to the end zone. Scott McV played in Reece who in turn passed to Durrun and he clobbered his way just shy of the whitewash only for ‘Long’ Femi to pounce over the top of the ruck and score. Feltham 40 to love.
Joe Hales, the backline general, had cleaned up all and sundry and a trademark bust up the flank with a typically well timed offload put into space and he galloped away from the defenders to score beneath the sticks with very little time between scores. Reece did the business with his boot and the score neared the half century mark.
The bearded behemoth came into 2nd row as Danny shifted to flanker and Mike to centre with Dodge leaving the field and Danny taking the captaincy. There was late drama when Joe succumbed to an ankle injury (fingers crossed Joe) and Mirv stepped into the fray at fullback. After such a titanic performance it was no surprise that he went down – he’d put himself all over the place and the only real surprise was that it was his ankle and not his broken wrist! The stretcher arrived but Joe being Joe he outright refused (much to the relief of anyone who’d have carry him) and hobbled off to chill out on the cold floor with some ice.
Femi had had a storming game reminiscent of last season’s final and he got his brace after some neat work from the pack thrusting forward. The hardworking number 8 used his tentacle like reach to waft away the Chiswick defence before carrying over the line for another score which seemed inevitable. Feltham 52, Chiswick 0.
But Chiswick were not done. As Feltham as a team became lax, an exposed Mirv felt the urge to use his face to defend (never the best of ideas). The result was axe-wound like gash above his left eye as Chiswick placed down in the corner – whilst it was less than Mirvin deserved, Chiswick were certainly not unworthy.
Dick of the Day
In a game of strong performances, in both attack and defence, the choice was a tough one. However, any yellow card always attracts criticism. Whilst Baker was clearly over enthusiastic after his enforced rest, and even grabbed their scrummy but his hair, it was Reece who got the free pint. Both played well in all fairness but penalties and cards can and will prove more costly.
Man of the Match
In a game full of performances there were many who could have achieved the accolade – Durran, Dave for their all-round play, Scott McVey for a great scrum half performance, particularly defensively. Also, Joe Hales for his assists and stepping into 10 without hesitation and Femi for his two tries and work horse performance. Phil Walker played the 80 which allowed both teams to enjoy a game with contested scrums and deserves an honourable mention. However, it was the irrepressible Danny Devereux who took the plaudits for his zest and vigour which carried the team forward and earnt himself two tries to boot.