On Saturday afternoon Marlow travelled to Chiswick RFC to play their final game of preseason, following their tough game Brunel University/Ealing Academy on Wednesday night.
The travelling squad of 18 had a number of new faces making their debuts and the majority of whom were under the age of 21. It was always going to be a difficult fixture following the game on Wednesday and Chiswick were high in confidence as they convincingly beat Windsor by 30 points the week before. The 4G pitch however was a perfect fit for the young Marlow side and we all expected lots of tries!
Marlow had a slow start to the match and Chiswick scored a couple of early tries to take a 14-0 lead. They did however have a strong head wind and Marlow didn’t let their heads go down, responding quickly through Ed Smyth after a well worked rumbling maul. Christian Witney took the conversion which was struck well but unfortunately hit the post. 5-14.
Marlow were growing into the game and Hugo Jafari, Stash Maltby and Josh McGee were making good yards. Off another dominant set piece scrum on the half way line, Hugo called the famous ‘Beaker Long’ move which flowed beautifully and the backs tore apart Chiswick’s resilient defense with Christian Witney touching down in the corner. He followed up his try with a fantastic conversion into a strong wind. 12-14.
The second half kicked off and Marlow now had the wind with them. We were piling on the pressure and this eventually paid off with a strong run and finish from the young prop/world strongman Toby Yate, breaking tackles on the way to the try line. Christian converted the try. 19-14. Despite Chiswick having a squad of 25 players, bringing fresh legs on didn’t seem to help and Marlow continued to press. With 20 minutes left, number 8 James Branch made another strong carry from the 10 metre line, dummying Chiswick’s center and scoring underneath the posts. Christian with the conversion. 26-14.
Unsurprisingly the young Marlow side began to fatigue and Chiswick began to come back into the game. Marlow’s defense however held firm with some heroic last ditch tackling by old veterans Pete Lewis and Sly. From a set piece scrum, Branch picked up drawing in the blindside flanker and gave the ball to Hugo. Hugo stood up two of Chiswick’s defenders with some mind-boggling footwork and spun the ball out beautifully to Josh McGee who raced down the wing to score a fantastic debut try in the corner. Christian unfortunately missed the extras. 29-14.
Chiswick got a consolation try in the last 5 minutes and the game finished 29-19. There were a number of standout performances, with special mentions to Toby Yate, Harry Yeomans, James Branch and Patrick Toone. All 4 of these players have come through the minis at Marlow and were all starting their first 1st XV game. Fantastic work fellas!