Medway’s final game of the season saw them travel to Hampshire to take on old rivals Havant. Matches between these two sides have always been keenly fought and this occasion was no different. Playing on Havant’s new artificial pitch Medway kicked off and Zach Garratt secured the ball and fed Antony Clement who drove close to the home line. The ball was re-cycled and Amon Panikoula crashed over for the try with just a minute gone on the clock. It was converted by Dan Harvey. In almost identical fashion Medway failed to deal with the re-start and Havant recovered the ball then went through a few phases before a missed tackle at the fringe of a ruck saw Havant break and their hooker score under the posts which was also converted 7-7. Havant were next to score. Medway were attacking deep inside the home 22m when a handling error saw Havant break out from defence and a missed tackle out wide saw the home winger and their scrum half combine to score under the posts. 14-7. Both sides then came close to scoring. Medway were held short of the line from a catch and drive and subsequent scrums. Havant broke out from this pressure and their hooker thought he had scored but was penalised. Medway levelled the game with a free flowing move which saw them score a great team try out wide through Alfie Orris. Harvey landed the tough conversion 14-14. The final minutes of the half saw Medway have good scoring opportunities from both scrum and lineout 5m from the home line but the chances went by through errors and eventually conceding a penalty leaving the half time scores level.
The second half kicked off and having secured the ball Medway looked to attack but a handling error saw them concede a scrum. Havant took full advantage winning the scrum and good handling resulted with a well taken try out wide. The conversion was missed but they led 19-14. Medway came back and once again had lineouts close to the home line but could not convert the opportunities. They continued to pressure and were rewarded on 48 minutes when Sammy Garofalo broke the Havant defensive line and with good footwork scampered over under the posts. Harvey converted and Medway took the lead 19-21. On 51 minutes Medway’s fragile defence was exposed again when Havant sliced through. A last ditch effort saw the attack held up over line. Havant however were playing under advantage and went for the corner with the resultant penalty kick. Great line out defence repels the initial Havant effort and Medway cleared their lines. The next line out saw Havant secure the ball and their fly half disappointingly eluded three tackles to score the home side’s bonus point try under posts. He converted himself and Havant led 26-21. Havant were dominating this period of the game and thought they had scored again only to have the try disallowed for a forward pass. A error at the base of a Medway scrum gave Havant more possession and they attacked upfield and from a ruck in front of the posts the ball is fed back to their fly half, Knight ,who kicks an excellent drop goal to put Havant two scores ahead 29-21. Medway needed to respond with just 12 minutes remaining. They won a penalty at the kick off and gain good field position from Harvey’s line kick. Possession gives them the chance to attack and Havant lose a player to a yellow card for a high tackle. Medway opt for the scrum and from the scrum attack Antony Clement is held up over the line. Again Medway attack from the scrum but loose possession. Medway keep the pressure up and on 38 minutes Havant are reduced to 13 men for another high tackle preventing a try out wide. A penalty try was awarded. 29-28.
Medway secure the ball from the kick off and the game ends with Medway driving for the line from short distance several times only to eventually concede a penalty for sealing off and Havant survive to secure a hard fought victory.
Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘It has been a tough season the boys have done really well. We have been in the mix throughout and just fell short at the end…………we are a young side and will be a better side for the experience’.