Camberley 23 Medway 26 (London 1 South) 8th December 2018

On a chilly, wet and windy day Medway travelled to Surrey rivals Camberley in another top of the table clash. Having been beaten the previous week by Brighton the Medway team were under no illusions as to how important this fixture was. Medway were strengthened by the return of Bill Sandison, Alfie Orris and Sam Garofalo to the starting line up.  The game kicked off and Camberley were soon on the front foot, two consecutive penalties from an over eager Medway defence provided the home side with the first score of the afternoon. The home fly half making no mistake with the penalty kick. 3-0  Medway then lost the influential Tom Beaumont temporarily with a cut to the head.  On 13 minutes Medway responded when having kicked Camberley into their own 22m off the back of a penalty they worked a line out ploy which saw Lewis Stimpson crash over in the corner for a try. The conversion was missed but Medway led 3-5 and were competing well.  With the game 20 minutes old Medway’s young No 8 Jordan Stubbington was forced from the field to be replaced by the returning Joe Fernyhough.  Camberley were gaining good field position but Medway won crucial turnovers at the set piece to the frustration of the home side and their supporters.  On 25 minutes from one such turnover Medway moved the ball wide and another of Medway’s youngsters, Zach Garratt, beat the front line defence and raced away. Camberley scrambled and managed to haul him down just short of the line but as they did so he managed to offload to the hardworking Amon Panikoula in support who drove over and scored. The conversion from Daniel Harvey was good and Medway led 3-12.  Camberley were not second in the league without being a good side and  they fought to get back into the game.They pressed the Medway line and went for a number of catch and drives but were thwarted initially then from another such effort Stimpson was adjudged to have illegally intervened and he received a yellow card. Camberley sensed blood and with a man down eventually drove over to score an unconverted try 8-12.

With Medway down to 14 men Camberley were eager to take advantage and they continued to take the game to their visitors. A clean break by their big 13 in midfield saw them score again. The conversion was missed but they took the lead 13-12.  Camberley continued to attack and in the final moments of the half Medway were reduced to 13 players when scrum half Sam Garofalo was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. Camberley’s fly half kicked the penalty and Medway went in at half time trailing by 16-12.

 

The second half kicked off and Camberley got what they wanted when a depleted Medway defensive line was breached and some good interplay saw the home side score a well taken converted try stretching their lead to 23-12.  Medway for their part were soon back to a full complement and were starting to disrupt the home side’s set piece. The next 20 minutes saw both sides battle hard for supremacy but it was Medway who were growing in stature. Both sides made changes with Camberley making two changes in their pack. Medway themselves brought on Sam Sharp for Peter Walsh who had carried hard. Sharp and Wardzynski both worked hard for the rest of the game to hold their hard running opponents  The home sides 11 point lead looked good until the 65th minutes when following a period of sustained possession and phases an opportunity occurred and Daniel Harvey put Zach Garratt away to score out wide. It was Harvey who added the extras to bring Medway within 4 points of the home side.  Camberley came came back and were attacking in the Medway 22 when Medway won a penalty at the lineout. Indiscipline saw the home side marched back a further 10 metres and with Harvey kicking the ball deep into Camberley half the home side’s attempt to seal the game was stopped.  From the resultant line out Medway drove initially then a number of short carries narrowed the home defence giving the opportunity for Medway to go wide. Good handling from Garofalo, Harvey, Redman and Wardzynski gave the opportunity for the speedy Alfie Orris to score brilliantly in the corner. Dan Harvey landed the touchline conversion and Medway were ahead 23-26.  With 6 minutes left to play Camberley’s kick off failed to go 10m. Medway opted for a scrum. With Alex O’ Leary, Bill Sandison  and Richard Petch dominating their opponents they drove the home sides pack back to win a penalty. Harvey kicked it to the corner. Sandison and Easton combined to secure possession and Medway closed the game out to seal a quality victory.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ This was a superb victory. Camberley have been scoring for fun at home and are a well organised classy side. We battled hard and showed real character. Down to 13 men, down 23-12 and still came back’ he added ‘getting some of our missing players back was a key factor. There is a long way to go, we are only half way through the season so still all to play for’

 

 

Medway 12 Brighton 28 (London South 1) 01st December 2018

Medway took on League leaders Brighton at Priestfields on Saturday in very wet and windy conditions making quality handling difficult. Medway played with the wind in the first half and with barely 3 minutes on the clock lost stand-in scrum half Antony Clement with a leg injury.  When the game re-started all the early running was made by Brighton Blues. Two early missed tackles out wide gave Brighton chances but good cover work by Redman and Garratt prevented a score.  On 11 minutes, almost Medways’s first foray into the visitors half, saw them win a penalty at the breakdown. Harvey was on target to open the scoring at 3-0. As the half progressed Medway pressed and Brighton conceded further penalties on 14 and 20 minutes to extend the lead to 9-0. Medway had a couple of good opportunities to score tries on the visitors 5 metre line but the home line out was not functioning to its normal standard and the chances went begging.  Harvey did add another penalty as the pressure was kept on to make it 12-0 but the failure to score tries was undermining Medway’s effort to secure a winning lead. That effort was further undermined when hooker Tom Whitnell was also forced from the field of play by injury. Despite all the pressure with the elements at their back Medway could not break down a resolute and well organised Brighton defence.

The second half started with Medway gaining possession and looking to go through the phases but the ball went loose at one such phase and a Brighton lock picked up the loose ball and offloaded to see the visitors score after just 41 minutes.  Just 3 minutes later Brighton were in front. Medway again were in possession when the ball was turned over in error and after a couple of phases and a kick chase the Brighton player was first to the touchdown. A good conversion from the visiting fly half saw them lead 14-10. It was now a real uphill battle for the home side having conceded two early tries and the lead playing into the conditions.  As the second half progressed Brighton had two penalties chances to extend the lead but both narrowly missed. Medway still had hope and were battling hard but as with the first two tries it was a Medway error that gifted the visitors the chance stretch their lead.  With 57 minutes on the clock Medway were attacking in the visitors 22 through a line out from which they turned the ball over. Brighton kicked down field turning the Medway defence, a poor exit saw Brighton flooding onto the ball and scoring out wide. An excellent conversion put them 21-10 ahead.  On 69 minutes Medway had yet another line out in Brighton’s half and turned possession over. Brighton cleared with a high up and under which was not dealt with and a couple of passes later they scored their fourth bonus point try. This was converted and league leaders Brighton were worthy winners on the day by 28-12.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘We can have no complaints, we turned over possession for every one of Brighton’s tries and they punished us. On the day they were the better side and deserved to win’. He added ‘We will continue to work on our skills to reduce the error count and remain competitive. There is still all to play for!’

Medway 34 Tottonians 15 (London 1 South) – 24th November 2018

Following defeat at the hands of Westcombe Park last week it was important that Medway bounced back to winning ways. With the Captain and a number of key players out with injury this was going to be a test of the squad’s depth. Tottonians led by Searle are always a well organised and tough team to play.  Tom Whitnell came in for his first start at hooker and centre Antony Clement stood in at scrum half were the notable changes following injuries from the previous week.  In good Autumnal conditions the game kicked off and it was Medway that made the brighter start. With the wind at their back they secured the kick off and attacking through a number of phases forced the visitors to concede a penalty in front of their posts. Stand in Captain Dan Harvey made no mistake with the kick, 3-0.  Medway continued to control the ball and on 7 minutes Charlie Wardzynski, with some individual brilliance, beat 7 players on a mazy run to score under the posts. Harvey converted and Medway had the start they wanted, 10-0.  The good start did not last long however as Medway found themselves under pressure as they failed to clear their lines. After an initial miss Searle made no mistake with his second opportunity to narrow the gap to 10-3.  On 21 minutes Medway won a penalty at the set piece. Harvey elected to kick and was successful making the score 13-3.  Medway’s kicking game from hand was not at its best and as a consequence Tottonians secured good field position and exploited this with a well constructed and converted try aided by a couple of missed tackles. 13-10.  Medway needed a spark and on 28 minutes Amon Panikoula provided it with an excellent break and carry through midfield. Good control of possession and several phases later the ball was fed to young 18 year old winger Zach Garratt who showed great footwork. He beat his marker and the cover defence to score under the posts. Harvey added the extras and the lead went out to 20-10.  Tottonians came back. Medway with consecutive line out losses on their own throw saw their defence narrowed gifting Tottonians an overlap which they exploited to the full. Good handling saw them score an unconverted try. That signalled half time, 20-15.

Playing into the breeze and with only a 5 point lead Medway needed to up their game if they were to secure the win.  The first chance of the half went to the visitors following a penalty at the breakdown. But the kick at goal went astray. A let off for the home side.  On 53 minutes another excellent break on the half way line from Wardzynski takes play close to the Tottonian’s line and he feeds Tom Beaumont to score under the posts. Harvey added the conversion and stretches the home lead to 27-15.

On 70 minutes and with time running out, Tottonians looking to get something from the game, try to run their ball from deep. They lose control of ball on the half way line and Zach Garratt scoops it up and runs it in for a try converted by Harvey. Medway secure the bonus point and with so little time left the victory with that try.  Tottonians continued to attack as the game closed out but they were denied. In truth this game was closer than the scoreline suggests and Tottonians were a solid team but were undone by some moments of individual brilliance.

 

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘We are just pleased to secure the win after our first defeat last week. Tottonians are a good side and were a stern test for our squad. To keep them scoreless in the second half playing into the wind was a good effort’. He added ‘The players who came in did a good job and with some of the missing players back next week will make for an interesting selection decision’.

Beckenham II 15 Medway Extra 38 (Invicta 1) – 24th November 2018

This was the re-arrangement of the postponed game from earlier in the season when the Extra’s made the trip only to find that Beckenham had failed to secure a ref.  There were no such problems this time as Medway soon discovered being quickly penalised for going offside at a ruck and finding themselves 3-0 down within the first few minutes. They reclaimed the restart and started making their way upfield with some good controlled phases before losing the ball in contact allowing Beckenham to clear. Medway won their line out with the ball  coming quickly off the top and being sent out to flanker Malcolm Cameron who crashed over at pace for Medway’s first converted try and a 3-7 lead. They again dealt with the restart well but for the next 5 minutes play centred on half way as Beckenham defended well turning the ball over before losing it forward. Medway had the scrum which held firm releasing the backs to find full back Max Bullock in some space which he made the most of it setting off up the field at pace before executing a perfect two on one to release winger Stan Orris who finished off the move for a 3-12 lead. Beckenham responded well getting quickly upfield making Medway defend which they did well winning a turnover and clearing to touch. Medway seemed to think that their work was done but Beckenham won their line out sending the ball along the back line to their centre who found space out wide on his left to score and narrow Medway’s lead to 10-12. The next fifteen minutes saw the game played between the twenty-two’s as both teams looked to exert some dominance and it was Medway who extended their lead as they missed a penalty kick to touch, Beckenham in turn failed to find touch with their clearance giving full back Bullock another chance to run the ball back into Beckenham territory. Good hands along the backs found Cameron in the right place at the right time once again and he finished off a good passage of play with his second try and a halftime 10-17 lead to Medway.
As with the previous week, Medway seemed to step things up in the second half and they increased their lead to 10-24 with some controlled and prolonged possession aided by a number of penalties which allowed them to move deep into Beckenham territory. A resulting line out saw the backline move the ball at pace out to winger Rhys Burns who finished off the move well and settled Medway down. They came straight back after the restart where another string string of penalties allowed Medway to mix it up with line outs and scrums and it was from one of the latter where the forwards exerted some dominance pushing Beckenham back towards the try line causing them to collapse it and giving the ref no option but to award a penalty try which increased the lead to 10-31. Medway’s final try came from another penalty where they elected to take the scrum pushing Beckenham back yet again before finally releasing the ball to the backs with centre Bobby Ellis taking the final pass and scoring for a converted try and a 10-38 lead. In fairness to Beckenahm they didn’t give up and it was they who scored with the final play of the game as their winger found some space out wide to touch down for a final score of 15-38.  This was another good performance by the Extra’s who once again played with control, tempo and organisation and they were good value for their win. Our thanks to Beckenham who as always proved to be tough opponents and excellent hosts. Thanks also to referee Mr Evans who was instrumental in making this an enjoyable game for all. His control, decision making and communication with the players was first class – well done Sir.

Medway Squad:

Darren Jalink, Gary Beck, Jack Nickalls, Johnny Smith, Tom Huntley, Tom Sandison, Malcolm Cameron, Joe Fernyhoug, Rob O’Brien, James Bullock, Rhys Burns, Sean Crittenden, Bobby Ellis, Stan Orris, Max Bullock, Dan Goodall