Beckenham 13 Medway 52 (London 1 South) 16th November 2019

Medway travelled to South London on Saturday to take on Beckenham in this round ten league game. The match also served as the inaugural Jim Kennedy Memorial Trophy match between the two Kent clubs.  Although a chilly afternoon conditions were good for Rugby and a large crowd had gathered for the game. Medway with two debutants in the squad, Joe Errington and Kaine Demech, started the stronger and were soon on the board when a break by Alfie Orris saw him offload to Captain Tom Beaumont to score. Dan Harvey converted. 0-7.  On 15 minutes Medway extended their lead. A penalty was kicked to the corner and from the resultant line out Sandison crashed over in the corner for the try. Harvey hit the post with the conversion attempt. 0-12.  Medway looked to be in control but Beckenham fought back. A driving maul was illegally pulled down short of Medway’s posts and Tarbie made no mistake with the kick. 3-12. On the back of that the home No 8 Blackmore made a break and Medway were penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Tarbie was on target again. 6-12.   Beckenham marshalled by Cleverley and Blackmore were continually looking to utilise the driving maul. Medway for their part could not capitalise on their scrum and territorial dominance and were making errors. The home side started to look dangerous with robust ball carrying in midfield.  On 40 minutes a cross kick from Tarbie, after the Medway defence was narrowed, was well fielded by Green who scored the try. Tarbie converted and the home side led 13-12. The restart in first half added time saw Medway strike back straight away. They won a line out from Harvey’s excellent restart. Sandison and Stubbington combined well to provide quality ball for Dance and Harvey to set the backs off and a well worked strike saw Orris put away out wide and score. Harvey was on target with the conversion and Medway went into half time leading 19-13.  Medway needed to improve their ball retention and defence in the second half if they were to secure victory against a physical and battling Beckenham side.

The second half started with Medway dominating territory. An early penalty opportunity for Harvey came back off the post and Beckenahm cleared their lines. Medway continued to press but did not score until the 65th minute. A line out drive after Easton had secured possession narrowed the home defence then good handling saw debutant Errington finish out wide. Harvey was on target and the Medway lead went out to 13-26 and a try bonus point secured.  Medway made changes. Jack Nickalls came on for Ross Cooley and Kaine Dimech replaced Rhys Burns. The Medway front row dominance was not diminished by the change.  The last 15 minutes saw Medway break the home sides resolve. Max Bullock now at full back fielded a kick ahead from the home side and broke upfield and drew the defence putting Orris away. He outstripped the cover defence to score the unconverted try. 13-31.  Billy Humphrey then replaced the hardworking Mo Pangarker in the back row. The next try followed when a break from the scrum by James Dance saw some great inter-passing and offloading by forwards and backs alike with Tom Beaumont eventually getting the final touchdown. Harvey added the extras 13-38.  Medway were now dominating. A Beckenham scrum on their 22m line was pushed off their own ball, James Dance seized on the loose ball and stepped the fullback to score. Harvey converted 13-45.  Beckenham to their credit kept battling and a rare foray into the Medway half saw the ball turned over. Medway counter attacked and more inter-passing and offloading up the field saw Jordan Stubbington get the final touch down. Harvey added the extras and Medway ran out winners by 13-52.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “the scoreline does not reflect how tight this game was for the first hour. There are areas of our game that we need to improve if we are to continue to compete at the top this league”. He added “… very pleasing for the club however is that despite our long injury list more young players are coming through the development squad and stepping up the 1st XV and acquitting themselves well”.