AN AMATEUR rugby league side from Chiswick have finished the season as regional champions – and will now go on to fight to be crowned best in the country.
South West London Chargers broke Hammersmith Hill Hoists' dominance in the London Premier League by beating them 20-10 in Saturday's Grand Final at Chiswick RFC.
That meant qualification for the Harry Jepson Cup, where they will face North Herts Crusaders in the national quarter-final on September 1, just three steps from being UK champions.
Chargers certainly have pedigree on their side – the club may only have been formed this summer following a merger, but their two predecessors have both won the national trophy in the past decade – West London Sharks in 2009 and South London Storm in 2006.
During the first decade of the millennium, Sharks and Storm were big rivals, the London title regularly flitting between Osterley and Croydon, and now, as a joint force, they have wrested it back from Hammersmith's grasp.
Following hot on the heels of their London Cup Final success over Staines Titans, Chargers president Cameron Paul reckons the merger could not have gone better.
He said: “It has been a huge success. We have between 50-60 players – a mix of a third from Sharks, a third from Storm and a third new players – allowing us to put two teams out.
“Although we play our games in Chiswick, we have taken our training to Clapham Common, which is easier for our players working in the city to get to midweek, and has opened us up to a whole new set of players too.”
Tries from Dave Wojciechowic, Andy Pryor, Rob Plumbridge and Robbie McLean, plus two conversions from Plumbridge were enough to win the final for Chargers.
However, the only downer on the day was a narrow defeat for their A team to Newham Dockers in the Entry League Final.