Horsham 27 Medway 21 (London 1 South) 18th January 2020

Medway travelled to Horsham on Saturday without regulars James Dance and Alex O’Leary. Sam Garofalo and Ross Cooley replacing them with Bill Sandison, Christian Hecter and debutant Cullen Daly on the bench.  The weather was bright, sunny and still, perfect conditions for running rugby on Horsham’s new artificial pitch.  Medway started brightly controlling possession and putting multiple phases together. From a lineout on the Horsham 22 Medway were awarded a penalty after the Horsham backs drifted offside, Dan Harvey converted to give Medway a 3 – 0 lead.  Medway were controlling the game at this stage and when Horsham were caught offside again Dan Harvey increased the lead to 6 – 0.  On 15 minutes Medway won another lineout through Max Easton, Dan Huntley broke the Horsham line and passed inside to skipper Tom Beaumont who scored under the posts, Dan Harvey converted and Medway were going well leading 13 – 0.  Medway continued to go through their patterns but were penalised for an offence at the breakdown,  Horsham kicked to the corner and won good lineout ball. After multiple drives at the Medway line they scored a well deserved try but the conversion was missed, Medway 13 – Horsham 5.  On 25 minutes Medway lost their hooker Billy Humphrey, he was replaced by Bill Sandison.  Horsham were getting themselves back into the game and after winning a lineout on the Medway 22 they scored another try under the posts when their fly half cut a good line through the Medway defence. Medway 13 – Horsham 12.  After further Medway pressure they were awarded a penalty after Horsham were caught offside on their 22meter line, Harvey slotted the kick. Medway 16 – Horsham 12 was the half time score.  Medway had played well in this half but were guilty of giving away some needless penalties.

Eight minutes into the second half Medway’s Dan Harvey was yellow carded for a high tackle on the 22, Horsham kicked to the corner but excellent defence denied them a scoring opportunity.  Medway worked hard to negate the temporary loss of Harvey and after a number of phases some slick inter passing a subtle pass from Max Bullock put Alfie Orris away for a try in the corner.  The conversion was missed, Medway 21 – Horsham 12.  Medway worked hard and didn’t concede any points when down to 14 men, a good effort which the travelling faithful thought would lead to an eventual victory.  However after 20 minutes a deliberate knock on by Medway allowed Horsham to reduce the lead by kicking the resulting penalty, Medway 21 – Horsham 15.  Medway bounced back and after a lineout offence by Horsham had an opportunity to increase their lead but missed penalty.  With the game in the balance the Horsham hooker charged upfield and after some poor tackling was eventually hauled down in the Medway 22. From the resulting scrum Horsham broke the Medway defence to score under the posts, the conversion was successful. Medway 21 – Horsham 22.  Horsham were going well and forced a scrum in the Medway 22 and after phases of attack scored a another try, the conversion was missed. Medway 22 – Horsham 27.  Medway lost full back Rhys Burns and prop Ross Cooley to injury so the scrums became uncontested, they were replaced by Cullen Daly and Christian Hector.  Medway attacked tirelessly during the final minutes but were unable to break the excellent Horsham defence.

The Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said; a disappointing result for Medway but on balance Horsham deserved the win and we offer them our congratulations.

Medway 32 Belsize Park 7 (London 1 South) 11th January 2020

On a cold and very windy January afternoon in Kent, local side Medway entertained North London rivals Belsize Park at Priestfields in this Division 1 clash. A good sized crowd was present to cheer their sides on.  Belsize Park came to Priestfields having won 4 of their previous 5 outings so were going to be a stern test. The match was sponsored by an old Medway stalwart living in Australia these days, Mike Boucher.  With the strong wind blowing straight down the pitch it was Medway who were first to face the elements. Belsize Park kicked off and for 15 minutes Medway were pinned back in their own 22m. Good solid team defence kept the visitors at bay. Although pinned back Medway with Dan Harvey orchestrating things looked to retain possession when they did have it.  Strong ball carrying by forwards Dan Huntley, Mo Pangarker, Max Easton and Jordan Stubbington with excellent support saw Medway deny their visitors the possession they craved. The front row of Jack Nickalls, Billy Humphrey and Alex O’ Leary were putting their counterparts under a lot of pressure at the scrum taking away the solid platform the visitors craved.  The game was scoreless until the 25th minute. Young Max Bullock was stripped of possession in contact as he tried to carry out from just outside the Medway 22m and the Belsize centre raced away unopposed to score the converted try under the posts. 0-7.  Medway responded well. Winning back to back penalties Captain Tom Beaumont rightly opted to gain field position rather than attempt long range penalties at goal. Medway went through many phases and scrums attacking the visitors line but their defence held firm. Despite not scoring Medway frustrated their visitors with good ball retention for long periods playing into the elements.  Belsize eventually cleared their lines and camped themselves deep into the Medway half. A ball won from a visitors scrum on the Medway 22m saw the attacking pass go to ground. Max Bullock scooped it up and went the length of field outstripping the chasing Belsize Park defence to score an excellent individual try. The difficult conversion was missed.  Medway went into half time behind 5-7 but satisfied with their performance considering the elements.

The second half kicked off, Medway had the elements at their back, and this soon paid dividends when the Belsize scrum conceded a penalty under pressure. Just inside the visitors half with the wind behind Dan Harvey’s successful kick gave Medway the lead for the first time. 8-7.  Medway looked to dominate field position and squeeze their visitors but to the Belsize Park credit they always tried to play rugby from deep in an attempt to stay in the game.  Medway made changes with Rhys Burns replacing James Dance, Christian Hechter replacing Jordan Stubbington and Ross Cooley replacing Jack Nickalls.  The visitors attempt to stay in the game though was destroyed by the same combination with 2 tries in an 8 minute period.  Dan Harvey and Alfie Orris. The first try saw Medway win consecutive rucks balls and as the visitors looked to defend out wide an inside ball from Harvey opened up the line and put Orris away to score. Harvey added the conversion.  The Harvey Orris combination was on hand once again. Conor Chalmers  gathered a poor kick out from defence and set up the ruck then with Harvey creating the space holding the inside defence he put Orris away on the outside this time. Harvey converted and Medway led 22-7.  Medway now craved the bonus point. The forwards continued to pound away but the Belsize defence never gave up. With their front line defence holding firm with good line speed and tackling Harvey saw space behind and kicked over. Antony Clement capped off a solid hardworking performance by racing through re-gathering the ball and scoring under the posts thus sealing the win and the bonus point to the delight of the home crowd.  The final act of the game went to Dan Harvey as he kicked a penalty in front of the posts to make the final score 32-7.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ Belsize Park are a good side. We are delighted to have won with the bonus point. Today was about controlling the ball in the elements. Tom Beaumont led the team well with good decision making and Dan Harvey’s game management was superb. With the clinical finishing of Alfie Orris, Max Bullock and Antony Clement it was very satisfying for all’.

Camberley 10 Medway 12 (London 1 South) 04th January 2020

Medway travelled to 3rd placed Camberley on Saturday for their first game after the Christmas break. Alex O’Leary and Sam Garofalo were restored to the team for what was expected to be a hard fought encounter. Camberley were comfortable winners at Medway earlier in the season.  To welcome in the new year the weather was bright and dry with a stiff breeze blowing the length of the pitch.  Camberley started brightly retaining possession and going through multiple phases as they advanced towards the Medway line. Medway’s defence was solid and after 5 minutes of relentless pressures they won a scrum following a Camberley knock-on.  The scrum was won comfortably but unfortunately the kick to touch was missed and Camberley were back on the offensive. Medway eventually won the ball back but knocked-on, however, they  drove the Camberley scrum backwards winning the first of numerous scrum penalties.  On 25 minutes Medway lost their Hooker Billy Sandison to a calf injury, he was replaced by the evergreen Ross Cooley.  Then it was Medway’s turn to attack but the excellent Camberley defence kept them out and that was the pattern for the remainder of the first half, lots of effort but neither side being able to break the defensive line.

The first half ended 0 – 0.

Medway had a penalty early in the second half but the kick was missed.  On 50 minutes Camberley won a lineout, drove forward then moved the ball through the backs and scored a well worked try. The kick was missed but Camberley had the all important lead, 5 – 0.  After good work by the Camberley pack they drove over the Medway line to score another try, the kick was missed but they now lead by 10 – 0.  Medway worked hard to get themselves back into the game and were camped on the Camberley 5 meter line, after numerous scrum penalties the Camberley loose head prop was yellow carded. They eventually cleared their line.  On 75minutes after a strong break into the Camberley half by Max Bullock the resulting breakdown ball was  kicked cross-field for Alfie Orris to gather and score for Medway. Dan Harvey slotted the conversion to make the score 10 – 7 to Camberley.  This raised the self-belief of this young Medway side and they continued to attack but desperate Camberley defence kept them out. Then following another Camberley penalty at the breakdown  James Dance took a quick tap catching the defence unawares and squeezed over the line for the winning try! The conversion was narrowly missed and the referee blew his whistle for no side.

An exciting end to a hard fought game played in the right spirit.

Medway 23 Thurrock 8 (London 1 South) 21st December 2019

On a wet and windy day at Priestfields Medway entertained Essex rivals Thurrock. The visitors have been in good form recently with three fine wins and scoring well over a 100 points. For their part Medway were keen to bounce back after the narrowest of defeats to league leaders Westcombe Park last week.  Medway’s pre-match preparations were hampered when top try scorer Alfie Orris was forced to withdraw with an ankle problem. Young Zachary Garratt replaced him and did a sterling job throughout the game.  The home side played against the elements in the first half but despite this were on the score board first.  The home side won a penalty from the set piece and the referee allowed the game to continue under advantage and Dan Harvey put a excellent kick in behind the home defence for Conor Chalmers to run onto and score in the corner. Harvey landed a great conversion with the ball bouncing over off both post and crossbar. 7-0.  Medway failed to deal with the re-start and Thurrock won a penalty at the breakdown. They kicked for the corner and although their catch and drive was stopped they still managed to score from close range. The conversion was missed. 7-5.  On 17 minutes with Thurrock, enjoying territorial advantage with the wind at their backs, forced Medway to concede a penalty. The kick was successful and the visitors led 7-8.  Medway responded on 24 minutes when they won a penalty at the scrum. Jack Nickalls, Bill Sandison and Ross Colley were dominating their counterparts. Harvey was on target and Medway took the lead 10-8.  Medway re-gathered the ball from the re-start and kept control against the elements. Going through multiple phases with Tom Beaumont, Mo Pangarker, Dan Huntley, Jordan Stubbington and Max Easton all carrying hard backed up by Antony Clement and Max Bullock they worked their way up the pitch. Thurrock were penalised in front of their posts for not releasing in the tackle. Harvey was accurate as ever. 13-8.  Medway went into half time with no further score. Medway replaced Jordan Stubbington with young Christian Hechter for the start of the second half.

The half saw Medway dominate field position and the visitors cause was not helped when after 48 minutes their Blindside flanker was yellow carded for a no arms tackle.  Medway added to their points tally 3 minutes later with another Harvey penalty for offside at a line out. 16-8.  Medway were soon on the attack again after the re-start. Another scrum infringement by Thurrock saw James Dance take a quick tap and go. He got behind the visitors defence and good support won quick ball. The visitors could not get their defence set for the next few phases and Captain Tom Beaumont eventually burst through to score the try. Harvey converted. 23-8.  Sam Garofalo came on replacing Rhys Burns who had done a sterling job for the side.  With 25 minutes still to play Medway were keen to add to their score but credit to Thurrock they never gave up. They battled hard at the breakdown and carried robustly in an effort to get back into the game.  When they were camped back on their own line under pressure Medway won three scrum penalties in a row. They were thwarted illegally and the home side opted for the scrum each time. Thurrock eventually held out with the home crowd disappointed that a penalty try was not awarded.  To the credit of Thurrock they defended their line well eventually forcing Medway into touch and clearing their lines.  On 65 minutes with Medway still pressing Thurrock suffered another yellow card for a late tackle on Chalmers. Medway then introduced Ciaran Slater replacing the tiring Dan Huntley. Huntley playing his first full game in three months following return from injury.  Despite a lot of Medway pressure as the clock wound down Thurrock held out and thwarted the home sides endeavour for a bonus point.  The match was played in a good spirit by both sides in what were very difficult conditions.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ” Thurrock are well coached and tough side to play. We are pleased to have bounced back after last week’s defeat especially against such robust team like Thurrock”

 

Medway 30 Westcombe Park 31 (London 1 South) 14th December 2019

Medway entertained Kent rivals Westcombe Park at Priestfields on Saturday in this top of the table clash.  Medway were dealt a blow before the game even kicked off when Tight Head Prop Alex O’ Leary had to withdraw with an ankle injury. Ross Cooley switched to tight head. Young Jack Nickalls started his first full game. Dan Huntley who turned up to watch came onto the bench following a lengthy lay off.  With a strong breeze blowing straight down the pitch it was Medway who had first use but Westcombe Park came out the blocks quickest and led after just 5 minutes . Missed tackles in midfield saw them score a converted try.  Medway responded 9 minutes later when Bill Sandison and Christian Hechter combined to provide the ball for Max Bullock and Alfies Orris to  put Tom Beaumont away. Dan Harvey converted from the touchline and levelled the score at 7-7.  Two penalties from Dan Harvey on 17 and 24 minutes put Medway ahead 13-7. Westcombe Park responded with one of their own to narrow to gap. 13-10.  The next score of the first half came on 37 minutes and went to the home side. Having won a penalty Medway opted to kick for the corner and a well worked line out by Sandison, Easton and Huntley saw Bill Sandison score in the corner. Harvey landed the conversion to put the home side out to 20-10.  The last play of the half saw Harvey on target again from a penalty and the home side went into half time leading 23-10.

Westcombe Park came out of the blocks firing in the second half. With a strong wind at their backs they dominated field position. A breakdown penalty followed by an unconverted try out wide with 8 minutes got them back to 23-18.  Medway were on the back foot having lost both Mo Pangarker and Jordan Stubbington out of their back row to injury. Hooker Bill Humphrey was filling in at No 8.   On 53 minutes Westcombe Park won another penalty at the breakdown with Medway penalised for hands in the ruck. The kick was successful and the score was now 23-21.  On 58 minutes another infringement from the home side was punished and saw Westcombe Park take the lead 23-24.  Sam Garofalo came on James Dance at scrum half. Medway need to get control of the ball and keep it if they were to stay in the game and have a chance.  On 67 minutes they did just that. Following a series of phases and good line out driving from Medway they eventually won a penalty on Westcombe Park’s 5m line. Medway opted for the scrum and drove for the line. The Westcombe Park pack could not hold the drive and broke off. Medway stayed square and the referee went under the posts and awarding the penalty try. 30-24.  The last 10 minutes saw both sides battling for the victory and it was the visitors who prevailed. Sadly, with just 2 minutes remaining, inept tackling allowed Park to round the home defence and go under the posts. The conversion was successful and they completed a 30-31 victory.

Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said “ this was always going to be a tough game but injuries are no excuse for the defeat. We failed to do some of the defensive basics well enough and to Westcombe Park’s credit they took full advantage’’  he added “ we never gave up and to come back and score our last try in those conditions was excellent…we just failed to close it out”

Medway 28 HAC 19 (London 1 South) 23rd November 2019

Medway entertained the Honourable Artillery Company for the first time ever in Saturday’s Division 1 league game at Priestfields. With the weather holding off the large crowd were treated to an enthralling match which until the final minutes could have gone either way.  HAC had the better of the initial opening exchanges but it was Medway who scored first when on their very first excursion into the HAC half they won a penalty at the breakdown. Harvey was on target and the home side led 3-0.   The match was a hard fought affair and HAC deservedly took the lead on 17m. Good work work from the visiting forwards saw a mismatch created in midfield for the try. The conversion put the visitors ahead 3-7.  Medway had chances to score from the boot and ball in hand but uncharacteristic errors let them down. HAC always looked dangerous  with their high tempo game.  On 32 minutes Medway had a line out on the HAC 10m line. Bill Sandison and Max Easton combined to win the ball. James Dance fed Conor Chalmers who broke through several tackles to be hauled down just short of the line. The ball was re-cycled quickly and Dance and Harvey combined to send Orris over. The try was unconverted but Medway led 8-7.

HAC hit back almost immediately from the re-start. Medway were penalised for a high tackle. HAC kicked for the corner. From the resultant lineout their catch and drive effort was halted but after several phases near the Medway line they eventually scored the converted try to lead 8-14.  Medway, with just a few minutes of the half remaining, won a penalty at the scrum. They kicked for the corner and won the line out. Medway kept the ball in hand and pressed the home line. Eventually the visitors defence was breached when Orris was on hand to dive over for his second try. Harvey converted and Medway went into to half time leading 15-14. Medway were fortunate to be leading. The combination of basic errors and the excellent play from HAC meant that the game was still anybody’s to take.  To re-enforce the point HAC were the team to score first after the re-start. They gathered the kick off retained possession and camped themselves on Medway’s line. Once again they were patient. Good ball retention and re-cycling saw them eventually get over the line for a deserved try. The conversion was missed but HAC led 15-19.  On 49 minutes Medway replied. The scrum was dominating and this provided the platform for Medway. Good possession from the scrums gave Medway field position. Jordan Stubbington launching attacks off this possession with good support from Antony Clement and Tom Beaumont ensured the ball was re-cycled and eventually James Dance fed Mo Pangarker for him to burst through the visitors defence and score. Harvey converted and Medway led again 22-19.  Medway increased that lead when another scrum penalty gave Dan Harvey the opportunity. He made no mistake and Medway stretched the lead to 25-19. Medway won excellent field position as the game progressed but spurned good scoring opportunities near the visitors line from both boot and hand. On the back of this HAC cleared their lines efficiently.  The home victory was only secured with 4 minutes left on the clock, HAC committed a high tackle in front of their own posts and Medway opted to kick and get the two score buffer. Harvey made no mistake and and Medway led 28-19.

To HAC’s credit they won the ball back from the kick off then forced Medway to concede an easy kickable penalty . This was the last play of the game. They opted to kick for the corner to try and secure two bonus points rather than the obvious one. Although they won the ball from the ensuing lineout Medway stopped the catch and drive then won the turnover at the subsequent breakdown. The referee blew for full time and Medway were the victors.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “ there are no easy games in this league and HAC’s performance belied their lowly position” he added “It was not our best performance and we made too many basic mistakes but that is not intended take credit away from HAC who play a good brand of rugby and deserved something from this game”.

Medway next travel to Cobham who downed the league leaders Westcombe Park.

 

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”.

 

Medway 20 Chichester 10 (London 1 South) 09th November 2019

Medway entertained old league rivals Chichester at Priestfields on Saturday in round 9 of this season’s programme. The visitors, always a strong combative side, kicked off and with Medway knocking the ball on  Chichester recovered the ball went two phases and clinically scored after just 53 seconds under the home posts. The try was converted and the visitors had had the dream start 0-7.  Medway are too used to conceding early points so there was no panic and after 4 minutes kicked a penalty through Dan Harvey following a scrum infringement from the visitors. 3-7.  Medway started to dominate possession with their front 5 forwards dominating their counterparts. Cooley, Sandison and O’ Leary were causing all sorts of problems up front ably backed up by man of the match Max Easton and partner Christian Hechter. Despite the domination of possession Medway were unable to breach the visitors line because of handling inaccuracies and butchering an obvious 2 v 1 added to that the solid defence work from Chichester.  On 38 minutes Medway did finally get over the line. A penalty outside the visitors 22m was tapped quickly by James Dance who was through the first line of defence before they could touch him he then stepped the cover defence to score near the posts. Harvey kicked the conversion and Medway went into half time 10-7 to the good.

The home side made a change at half time with young developing prop Jack Nickalls replacing the veteran Ross Cooley.  The second half was kicked off by Medway and the home side looked to keep their visitors pinned back deep in their half. After 6 minutes of the half Medway had a line out from a visitors clearance kick. Bill Sandison and Max Easton combined and good hands by the back division put Orris away on the left who finished brilliantly right in the corner just as the cover defence got to him.  Dan Harvey slotted the conversion from the touchline to put Medway 17-7 ahead.  Chichester are not a side to roll over and they came back. Their back row trio were outstanding all day. Combative at the breakdown and carrying strongly principally through their No 8.  Medway having experienced Chichester’s physicality historically dealt with it well. Tom Beaumont, Mo Pangarker and Jordan Stubbington matching up well physically to the challenge.  With 13 minutes of the clock gone in the second half the Chichester back row finally won a penalty at the breakdown just outside Medway’s 22m, the successful kick narrowing the gap to 17-10.  Medway continued to dominate field position forcing Chichester to play from deep. Good work from Clement backed up by some excellent inter-passing and breaks from teenager Max Bullock and Alfie Orris forced Chichester to concede another penalty. Harvey’s accurate boot made no mistake and Medway went out to 20-10.  To keep the pressure up on their visitors Medway introduced Billy Humphrey, back after a 4 week injury absence. Medway also had to re-shuffle when fullback Rhys Burns, making his first start of the season, cramped up. Captain Tom Beaumont moved to centre and Malcolm Cameron came on in the back row.

With just 2 minutes of the game left Chichester had the chance to secure a losing bonus point, one they probably deserved, with penalty in front of the posts outside the 22m. Inexplicably their kicker who had looked sound all day pushed it just the wrong side of the post. Medway cleared their lines and closed out the game for a hard fought victory against a Chichester side who were stronger than their league position would suggest.

 

Next week Medway travel to Beckenham.

London Cornish 3 Medway 43 (London 1 South) 26th October 2019

Medway travelled to Roehampton on Saturday to take on old rivals London Cornish. On a wet, breezy day but on a pitch with a good playing surface the game kicked off. Medway were soon on the front foot. Good control of the ball pinned the home side back but Cornish defended stoutly until the 10th minute. Having been held up over the line Medway were awarded a 5 metre scrum. The forwards drove their counterparts back for No 8 Jordan Stubbington to control the ball and score. Dan Harvey converted and Medway led 0-7. After 15 minutes Cornish were awarded a penalty when Medway were adjudged offside. The home kicker made no mistake 3-7. From the restart Medway pinned the home side back again and continued to press the home line. Another scrum near their line was won by the visitors. Ross Cooley, Billy Sandison and Alex O’ Leary dominating their counterparts. James Dance and Dan Harvey had the platform to combine for Alfie Orris to power over for the first of his three tries on the day. Dan Harvey converted 3-14. On 25 minutes the impressive Max Easton stole a home line out and the steal was followed by good interplay between Antony Clement, Conor Chalmers and Sam Garofalo. Their combination allowed James Dance the space and he went over under the posts for another converted try by Harvey to put Medway in firm control 3-21. On 30 minutes Medway sealed the bonus point when a scrum was won against the head and good handling saw Max Bullock put Conor Chalmers away out wide to score an unconverted try in the corner making the score 3-26. Although Medway continued to press Cornish but they never gave up and kept their visitors at bay for the rest of the half.

The second half started with Medway introducing Christian Hechter to fray with him replacing the industrious Malcolm Cameron. Utility Mo Pangarker, who is having a good season, moved to the back row to accommodate Hechter at lock. London Cornish were looking to come back into the game. They pressed the Medway line for multiple phases but the visitor’s defence held strong. With 48 minutes on the clock good turnover ball was won from the breakdown. Dan Harvey cross kicked and found Alfie Orris in space and he beat the cover defence to score. Harvey was unsuccessful with the conversion leaving the score at 3-31. Medway were then forced to make another change when Sam Garofalo was forced from the field with an ankle injury. Noah Hyde replacing him. Medway continued to dominate the set piece thus providing the platform for their backs to attack and on 55 minutes they reaped further reward. Max Easton broke the home defensive line and more good interplay with Tom Beaumont, Max Bullock and Alfie Orris involved put Antony Clement away for the try. Harvey converted to make the score 3-38. Medway then introduced young Jack Nickalls at loose head to further his experience at this level veteran Ross Cooley making way for him. The final try of this match saw youthful winger Alfie Orris complete his hat trick. Sandison and Easton combined at the line out to provide quick ball. Good handling by the backs put Orris away and he beat his marker to score an unconverted try making the final score 3-43.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “this was a good all round performance by the boys against an understrength Cornish side who never gave up” He added “ we hope to get a few of our own missing players back to fitness in during the week off”.

Medway 20 KGS 14 (London 1 South) 19th October 2019

Medway took on the Old Boy’s side in the first ever fixture between the two sides. The game kicked off in dry, breezy but good underfoot conditions. Medway played into the breeze in the first half and their injury hit side suffered an early setback after just 7 minutes when Zach Garratt was forced from the field with a hamstring injury.  On 13 minutes the visitors opened the scoring with a well executed catch and drive drive and with the conversion led 0-7. That lead was extended after 27 minutes when a missed tackle saw the visiting open side crash over under the posts for another converted try and a 0-14 lead. Medway’s cause suffered another set back when Luke Burns was also forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury.  Medway were forced to re-shuffle with captain Tom Beaumont moving to the centre. Christian Hechter and Max Bullock entering the fray.  KGS continued to look the sharper side and a dangerous attack was only thwarted by an early Sam Garofalo tackle without the ball which saw him sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.  Despite being down to 14 men the Medway scrummage was starting to dominate their visitors. Ross Cooley, Bill Sandison and Alex O’ Leary were providing the home sides pathway back into the game. On 38 minutes the scrum dominance paid dividends when having conceded a series of penalties at the scrum on their own line the referee inevitably awarded Medway a penalty try to make the half time score 7-14.

The second half kicked off and Medway buoyed by the late first half try took the game to visitors pinning them back. A box kick by the KGS scrum half was well fielded by Max Bullock, he offloaded to Jordan Stubbington who broke his markers tackle and fed Antony Clement who in turn gave it to Orris and although tackled short popped the ball up for Captain Tom Beaumont to score. Dan Harvey converted and Medway were level.  Medway were now dominating proceedings and field position, Max Easton, Antony Clement and Alfie Orris particularly prominent.  The field position pressure saw scrum and breakdown penalties given away by the visitors resulting in a yellow card for a deliberate knock on and kickable penalties which Harvey knocked over and put Medway ahead 20-14.  If anyone thought the game was a forgone conclusion with the turnaround were mistaken. The Old boys are a talented outfit and continued to play their brand of rugby stretching Medway time and again. The Old Boys cause was assisted when following injury and another yellow card the scrums became uncontested providing them with a platform that Medway had previously taken away from them.  However there was no further score in the match but in fairness Medway had to defend almost 20 phases on their own line in the last 10 minutes to eek out a victory against the visitors.

Medway coach Taff Gwilliam side “We are delighted to have secured victory against a talented, well organised side especially given the number of injured players we have missing”.