OPRFC Saints were well beaten by a highly organised and efficient Chiswick 2nd XV at Dukes Meadows, scoring four tries in six second half minutes to assert their dominance on the game and prove their credentials as one of the favourites to take the Division 1 title.
Immediately putting OPs on the backfoot and pinning them within their own 22, Chiswick were on the scoresheet within four minutes, a neat backs move going out wide and leading to a try in the corner. A difficult kick went unconverted but the early score made it 5-0. The Saints looked to regather from the restart, but possession told once more for the hosts six minutes later as they went in for try number two, an easier effort at goal resulting in a 12-0 lead with ten minutes gone.
The signs were maybe pointing to a tough day at the office for Old Priorians, but the initial shock of the opening stages eventually jolted them into life, utilising the strong running of props Adam Gurdikyan and Funbi Osuntoki to advance themselves deep into opposition territory. There were numerous chances to put points on the board but the end product was often lacking as loose hands from the Saints - coupled with a sturdy Chiswick defence - saw them unable to cross the line.
Having held off the OPs threat, the home side once again were in the ascendancy towards the half hour mark, with a third try coming in the 28th minute, adding their fourth five minutes later to go into the half time break with a commanding 24-0 lead.
Able to regroup and make some changes during the interval, the Saints appeared to start the second half well and looked the more likely to open the second half scoring account, but it was Chiswick who in effect put the game completely to bed after 47 minutes for their fifth try of the afternoon, sealing a bonus point in the process, a conversion making it 31-0. OPs weren't without opportunity and found themselves in good positions ; Gurdikyan was unlucky to not score having been penalised for a double movement and further advances towards the line were well held off.
It was just after the hour had passed that Chiswick began to really show their class, playing very much in the joue style as would be tacklers were left in their wake ; 31-0 became 53-0 with 70 minutes gone with four tries scored in a mightily impressive ten minute spell, showing why they find themselves at the right end of the table this season.
Despite an understandably demoralising period of the match, the Saints came back with renewed vigour in the last ten minutes ; they conceded another (78') but then put together one final move that resulted in a deserved team try, winger Jordan Porteous scooting over in the corner to round off the day's action - 58-5 at full time.
Chiswick were undeniably the better side on the day but there is a grain of truth to the notion that the scoreline doesn't necessarily reflect the scope of the game ; with players out of position and the team probably lacking in familiarity and chemistry, the task was never going to be easy against a side that looked every part the champions elect and will be difficult to beat on this kind of form.
The Saints play Ealing 1871 at Vallis Way next Saturday.
T : Porteous