Medway entertained Surrey side Cobham on Saturday at Priestfields on a fine day for Rugby. Having won the previous meeting between these two sides with a fortunate last minute score the home side were under no illusions as to the test they were to face. With a number of changes from the previous week’s narrow win at Hove the game kicked off. Medway were immediately on the front foot and dominating the opening exchanges. Despite concerted pressure on the Cobham line, back to back errors after 9 minutes, saw Cobham gain good field position against the run of play and clinically score a well taken converted try from their winger. 0-7 Medway despite this setback again pressed the visitors line with good continuity in their play. The front row of Sandison, Petch and O’Leary were getting the better of their opponents thus providing the platform. On 14 minutes they forced the visitors to concede a kickable penalty which Daniel Harvey duly obliged with. 3-7. Medway from the re-start once again took play deep into the Cobham 22 and again the visitors were penalised for offside. Medway opted for the scrum and excellent handling saw Orris beat his marker to score an unconverted try in the corner. 8-7. The visitors continual propensity to concede offside penalties saw them reduced to 14 men. Harvey kicked the resultant penalty to make the score 11-7. That was the only score of the sin bin period. The rest of the half saw both sides trying to gain the ascendency but sound defence and a couple of unforced errors ensured no lines were crossed. Cobham had a kickable opportunity but the effort sailed wide of the posts. Medway having played against the breeze went in at half time 11-7 to the good.
The second half kicked off and early Medway errors when in possession dented their initial hopes of a fast start but on 45 minutes a well executed catch and drive line out saw Max Easton get the final touchdown. Harvey converted and Medway increased their lead to 18-7. That lead however was soon cut when a Cobham cross kick bounced cruelly back over the head of the home defender for the winger to re-gather and score a converted try. 18-14. On 53 minutes Medway were back on the front foot. Yet another penalty from the visitors saw Medway opt for the scrum and following good early defence from the visitors Medway eventually breached their line. Alfie Orris on the end of some fine interplay and quick phase ball, orchestrated by Garofalo and Harvey, to crash over under posts for his second try converted by Harvey. 25-14. Medway were now dominating field position and concerted pressure on the visitor’s line saw replacement prop Gary Beck, making his home debut, drive over from short range for an unconverted try extending Medway’s lead to 30-14 on the hour mark. Straight from the re-start Medway attacked again. Good work from Amon Panikoula, Dan Huntley and Jordan Stubbington saw the ball moved wide with excellent hands from Harvey, man of the match, Antony Clement and Charlie Wardzynski. Young Zach Garratt broke the defensive line. Again good continuity saw Sam Sharpe on hand to finish a great team try . Harvey kicked the conversion from the touchline and Medway stretched the lead out to 37-14. A couple of late accurate Harvey penalties made the final score 43-14. Medway’s strong finish ensured the bonus point victory they needed to maintain their challenge at the top of the league.
Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘For large parts of this game the sides were pretty even but our improved set piece from last week and better discipline allowed us to pull away and seal the win’. He added ‘As coaches we asked for improvement and against a well organised opposition, who we know have ability, that is what we got’