Chichester 19 Medway 27 (London 1 South) 23rd October 2021

This top of the table clash saw second placed Medway travel to West Sussex to take on third placed Chichester. Although early in the season this was still a key game for both these promotion contenders. Medway gave league debuts to Stewart Stockford and John  Sipowa. The match kicked off in good overhead and underfoot conditions and it was the home side who had the perfect start. A handling error off the kick off gave Chichester great field position. Although their scrum came under severe pressure they managed to recycle the ball and after a couple of phases scored a well taken converted try. 7-0. Medway responded quickly when 3 minutes later Chichester were penalised for holding on in the ruck. Owen Church-Mills slotted the kick to make the score 7-3. The next half hour was a tight fought affair but Medway started to get on top. Their set piece with Jack Nickalls, Bill Sandison and Maik Timmerman dominating their counterparts causing the home side problems and disrupting their platform. On 31 minutes a penalty at the scrum saw Medway kick for field position. The line out won by Max Easton and three phases later the backs put Alfie Orris away. He was tackled short but good support saw Sam Garofalo on hand to take the offload and score under the posts. Owen Church-Mills added the conversion. 7-10. With just a couple of minutes left in the half Medway went through several phases, Jordan Stubbington, Henry Kenny, Mo Pangarker, Stewart Stockford and Antony Clement all involved to provide space for Alfie Orris to get behind the home defence. As the cover converged it was Owen Church-Mills in support to receive the pass to score under the posts. He converted his own try to make the half time score 7-17.

The second half kicked off and with only 4 minutes gone Referee Tony Hanks went down with a muscle injury. Fortunately another qualified referee from Chichester was on hand to ensure the game was completed. The first score of the second half came on 57 minutes. Medway drove from a line out but Chichester were adjudged to have collapsed the driving maul and Church-Mills made no mistake with the kick. 7-20. Chichester worked hard to get back into the game but the Medway defence held firm. Captain Tom Beaumont, Henry Kenny, Max Easton and Mo Pangarker prominent. The game was put beyond the reach of the home side on 70 minutes. Good ball from the line out saw Medway attack deep into the Chichester half winning a scrum. The scrum platform was sound and saw Medway attack through Lewis Stimpson and Jordan Stubbington. The ball was re-cycled Sam Garofalo, Owen Church-Mills and Max Bullock combining to put Alfie Orris away in space. He was tackled short of the line but debutant John Sipowa was on hand to take the offload and score under the posts. Church-Mills added the extras and Medway led 7-27 with 9 minutes left. To Chichester’s credit they never gave up. They showed great character kept playing and scored two late tries to narrow the gap to 19-27 however the day belonged to Medway.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘…we are delighted with the result. This is a very difficult place to come and get a win. Although early in the season it was nonetheless an important victory’.

Medway remain remain second behind London Welsh.