Havant 11 Medway 10 (London 1 South) 12th October 2019

This week’s round of league matches saw the top four sides in the league face each other. For their part Medway travelled to third placed Havant looking to leapfrog them in the league. The match kicked off and the visitors soon found themselves behind. A missed tackle in midfield after just 3 minutes saw Havant cross the line for the opening try and a 5-0 lead with the conversion going astray. Havant are a physically big side and buoyed by the early score came at Medway with hard running. The young Medway side’s defence has been improving of late and did so again today. They managed to contain the home side and a well struck long range penalty from Daniel Harvey, following a high tackle, bounced off the cross bar and over to narrow the score to 5-3. On 25 minutes Havant stretched their lead when Medway were penalised for side entry at the ruck. 8-3 Havant. The rest of the half was all Medway as they pressed the home line on the back of some dominant scrummaging by Ross Cooley, Bill Sandison and Alex O’ Leary. From one such scrum Medway’s industrious Captain was held up over the line by some good Havant defensive work. With a scrum on the home side’s 5 metre line a well work move saw the in form impressive Alfie Orris slice through the home defence to score under the posts. Harvey converted and Medway led 8-10. Just before half time Medway were camped on the home sides line. A number of scrums saw Medway drive for the home line only for Havant to collapse the scrum or stand up each time. After the fourth infringement the referee yellow carded the home prop but inexplicably did not go under the posts. The very next scrum saw a ‘wheel’ and Havant escaped without conceding! The sides went into half time with the score at 8-10 in Medway’s favour.

The second half was a real battle between the two sides. Mo Pengarker, Max Easton and Jordan Stubbington worked tirelessly. They were backed up by an excellent performance from Antony Clement. With Medway’s long injury list this match was an opportunity for other squad members to enhance the experience of this level and Noah Hyde, Jack Nickalls, Malcolm Cameron, Rhys Burns and debutant Christian Hechter all played their part in a tough encounter. The only score of the half went to Havant when Medway were adjudged offside just outside their own 22m. The home kicker made no mistake for the home side to take the lead 11-10. The game was in the balance right up to the final minute of play. The visitors were awarded a penalty on the half way line. Harvey struck the long range attempt ball well but it slid by the right hand post and Havant survived closing the game out to seal the narrowest of wins.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “It is always gutting to lose by a single point but I was delighted with the effort and battling qualities of all of our under strength team” he added “we are enriching the experience of our young wider squad and that can only be good for the future”.