Medway’s second league game of the season saw them take on London Irish Wild Geese for the first time in their history. On a hot sunny Saturday afternoon at Priestfields Medway kicked off playing into the breeze. The home side were fielding a number of changes from the previous week with Harrison Cooper-Meadows, Sam Bailey and Jack Johnson making their league debuts for the club. The opening exchanges saw Medway dominate field position and take the game to their visitors. On 6 minutes however a loose offload in the Irish 22 saw their right winger accept the gift and run the distance of the field to score a converted try and take the lead 0-7. Medway were undeterred. Tom Beaumont marshalled his players and they came straight back at Irish. A line out saw Henry Kenny carry strongly, then Cullen Daly attacked the blind and put Alfie Orris in for the equalising score with Daniel Harvey adding the extras. 7-7. Harvey put Medway ahead a few minutes later with a well struck penalty following the visits transgressing the offside line. 10-7. Medway increased their lead soon after when Cullen Daly combined with Zac Garratt to gain good field position. Irish go off the feet and Medway kick for the corner. From the line out Jordan Stubbington drove over from short range for the second try converted by Daniel Harvey. 17-7.
The visitors were stung into action and gained good ground and had a number of pick and gas and phases on the Medway line. Cullen Daly was sin binned for illegal clearing at the ruck then after several more phases Daniel Harvey was sin binned for a high tackle. Down to 13 men Medway provided stout defence but eventually Irish managed to get over line for a converted try. 17-14. With just 13 men Medway looked to keep the ball and prevent Irish from capitalising on their numerical advantage. On one of the Medway drives the visitors are penalised for holding on in the tackle. Debutant Jack Johnson stepped up and calmly slotted the kick to make the score 20-16. As half-time approached Medway are back up to their full compliment and win a line out in the London Irish half. The ball is moved wide for Alfie Orris who finishes well. The conversion is missed and Medway lead 25-14 at half time.
The second half began and Medway pinned their opposition deep in their half. Harrison Cooper-Meadows and Sean Marriott making notable tackles. With the breeze at their backs Medway pressed hard. The visitors were forced into conceding penalties. The front row of Jack Nickalls, Billy Sandison and Richard Petch were dominant and Harvey made no mistake stretching the lead out to 31-14. On 50 minutes Medway put the game beyond the visitors. From the converted penalty re-start, man of the match, Mo Pangarker gathered the ball under pressure. Cullen Daly fed Jack Johnson who kicked deep into the Irish half. A good kick chase pressured the visitors into a poor clearance kick. Cullen Daly fielded the ball and moves the ball to Daniel Harvey and he provides Alfie Orris the space to beat his man and as the cover looked to close Orris down he passed back inside for Harvey to score and convert his own try making the score 38-14. The next try came on 56 minutes. Great work by Zach Garratt on the right wing saw Medway go through the phases and eventually Cullen Daly and Antony Clement exploited the lack of defence on the blindside on the other side of the field and and score through Clement. Harvey converted 45-14. Harvey added another penalty to his tally 10 minutes later to move the score out to 48-14. Irish never stopped playing and showed good character. From some late attacks Medway were reduced to 14 men when Antony Clement saw yellow for obstruction. The final score of the game was a classic blindside attack from a scrum in their 22m. Jordan Stubbington and Cullen Daly combined to feed Zach Garratt who rounded his man and went the length of the field outpacing the cover defence to score a fine try. Owen Church-Mills converted to make the final score 55-15.
A good Medway performance and a good start to the season with 2 bonus point wins.Coach Taff Gwilliam said “This victory shows the depth of our squad with a number of players missing today. There is competition for places. This was a good performance but there were a number of aspects of our game we still need to improve if we are to challenge for top honours”. He added “ It was a great win against such a notable club as Irish so the boys can rightly be proud of their performance”.