Horsham 27 Medway 21 (London 1 South) 18th January 2020

Medway travelled to Horsham on Saturday without regulars James Dance and Alex O’Leary. Sam Garofalo and Ross Cooley replacing them with Bill Sandison, Christian Hecter and debutant Cullen Daly on the bench.  The weather was bright, sunny and still, perfect conditions for running rugby on Horsham’s new artificial pitch.  Medway started brightly controlling possession and putting multiple phases together. From a lineout on the Horsham 22 Medway were awarded a penalty after the Horsham backs drifted offside, Dan Harvey converted to give Medway a 3 – 0 lead.  Medway were controlling the game at this stage and when Horsham were caught offside again Dan Harvey increased the lead to 6 – 0.  On 15 minutes Medway won another lineout through Max Easton, Dan Huntley broke the Horsham line and passed inside to skipper Tom Beaumont who scored under the posts, Dan Harvey converted and Medway were going well leading 13 – 0.  Medway continued to go through their patterns but were penalised for an offence at the breakdown,  Horsham kicked to the corner and won good lineout ball. After multiple drives at the Medway line they scored a well deserved try but the conversion was missed, Medway 13 – Horsham 5.  On 25 minutes Medway lost their hooker Billy Humphrey, he was replaced by Bill Sandison.  Horsham were getting themselves back into the game and after winning a lineout on the Medway 22 they scored another try under the posts when their fly half cut a good line through the Medway defence. Medway 13 – Horsham 12.  After further Medway pressure they were awarded a penalty after Horsham were caught offside on their 22meter line, Harvey slotted the kick. Medway 16 – Horsham 12 was the half time score.  Medway had played well in this half but were guilty of giving away some needless penalties.

Eight minutes into the second half Medway’s Dan Harvey was yellow carded for a high tackle on the 22, Horsham kicked to the corner but excellent defence denied them a scoring opportunity.  Medway worked hard to negate the temporary loss of Harvey and after a number of phases some slick inter passing a subtle pass from Max Bullock put Alfie Orris away for a try in the corner.  The conversion was missed, Medway 21 – Horsham 12.  Medway worked hard and didn’t concede any points when down to 14 men, a good effort which the travelling faithful thought would lead to an eventual victory.  However after 20 minutes a deliberate knock on by Medway allowed Horsham to reduce the lead by kicking the resulting penalty, Medway 21 – Horsham 15.  Medway bounced back and after a lineout offence by Horsham had an opportunity to increase their lead but missed penalty.  With the game in the balance the Horsham hooker charged upfield and after some poor tackling was eventually hauled down in the Medway 22. From the resulting scrum Horsham broke the Medway defence to score under the posts, the conversion was successful. Medway 21 – Horsham 22.  Horsham were going well and forced a scrum in the Medway 22 and after phases of attack scored a another try, the conversion was missed. Medway 22 – Horsham 27.  Medway lost full back Rhys Burns and prop Ross Cooley to injury so the scrums became uncontested, they were replaced by Cullen Daly and Christian Hector.  Medway attacked tirelessly during the final minutes but were unable to break the excellent Horsham defence.

The Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said; a disappointing result for Medway but on balance Horsham deserved the win and we offer them our congratulations.