Medway travelled to Battersea Ironsides on Saturday and took on the home side in what were absolutely dreadful conditions. The wind and rain combined with a sodden cut up pitch would normally have served up a dull uninspiring game, but not so. Ironsides and Medway made light of the situation to serve up an excellent and entertaining match.
The Medway victory was built on the back of a dominant scrum and good ball retention skills in the conditions. For their part Ironsides looked to attack at every opportunity and in truth deserved more from the game than they got.
Medway played with the strong wind at their backs in the first half and were soon on the front foot. Good field position well marshalled by Fly Half Jack Johnson saw Max Bullock break the home defensive line, quick ruck ball sets Lewis Stimpson up to scamper home for the opening try converted by Jack Johnson. 0-7.
Despite dominating field position Medway then turned the ball over cheaply in the home half and a couple of fly hacks backed up by a quality kick chase from the home side saw them score a well taken try against the run of play. The conversion drawing them level.
On 25 minutes Ironsides have the put in at a scrum near the half way line. An excellent counter drive from the visitors with Billy Sandison, Mike Timmerman and Richard Petch dominating their opposition saw Medway win the turnover. Mo Pangarker, on his return to the 1st XV, picked up beat several tacklers to score an excellent try. Jack Johnson converted to put Medway ahead 7-14.
On the half hour mark Medway lose Number 8 Jordan Stubbington to a shoulder injury. Despite this set back Medway continue to pressure the home side. The pressure tells when from a 5 metre scrum Lewis Stimpson, having moved to the 8 position, shows good control at the base of the scrum to secure the push over try. Jack Johnson converts and Medway lead 7-21.
Although playing with the elements Medway were made to pay from the last play of the half. The home side despite struggling at the set piece still looked to play with ambition and tenacity. This was rewarded with well won turnover ball. Consecutive penalties conceded by Medway saw the Ironsides score with the final play of the half. The try was converted and Medway had just a narrow lead of 14-21 to show at half time. Not enough points given the elements it was felt by all the onlookers.
The second half was kicked off by Medway with the elements behind the home side. The kick went loose and was recovered by Jack Johnson. An excellent foray by him deep into the home half saw him create a 2 v 1. Max Bullock in support received the pass and finished well out wide for the unconverted try giving Medway the try bonus point. 14-26.
The next period of play was dominated by the home side and only excellent defence, with Antony Clement prominent, kept the Medway line intact.
On the hour mark and following a sustained period of defending Medway broke out. They drove deep into the home 22m and were awarded a penalty. A strong driving scrum saw Lewis Stimpson show excellent ball control to secure his hat trick of tries. Jack Johnson converted to give Medway the lead by 14-33.
The final score of the game came in the 66th minute. The home side showed why they are a strong force in the league when with a sustained period of pressure and despite excellent defence that pressure was rightfully rewarded with a short range uncovered try. 19-33
Medway despite this closed the game out and in doing so secured a vital away win moving them a step closer to promotion.
Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ This is a real tough place to come and secure a win. Ironsides had had only one defeat in the last 5 games at home so we are delighted to have secured the win with a try bonus point.’
Medway next face high flying London Welsh at home on the 5th March. See the website for more details.