London Welsh 33 Medway 16 (London 1 South) 06th November 2021

Medway travelled to Old Deer Park to take on London Welsh for the first  time ever in a league match. The game was preceded by the unveiling of a memorial plaque (with the Welsh Guards and the London Welsh Male voice choir present) in remembrance of fallen London Welsh members serving their country. With first playing second in the league a good healthy crowd of over 600 supporters were in attendance to watch in the fine weather and good underfoot conditions. Within 3 minutes visitors, Medway, were ahead when the home side loose head was adjudged to be scrummaging illegally under pressure. Dan Harvey kicked the resultant penalty. 0-3. The rest of the half saw London Welsh dominate and pin Medway back in their 22m. With 8 minutes on the clock London Welsh opened their own account. Medway having conceded a penalty at the breakdown the home side camped on the visitors 5m line after the line out catch and drive. On the back of a number of pick and goes and short target drives they eventually scored a converted try. 7-3. On 23 minutes the home side went further ahead when their winger exposed a gap in the Medway inside defence to scamper over under the posts for the converted try. 14-3. London Welsh were sharper at the breakdown and although their scrummaging was under pressure, with Jack Nickalls, Bill Sandison and Richard Petch putting them under the cosh, they maintained their stranglehold on field position. Medway defended well, Mo Pangarker Tom Beaumont and Lewis Stimpson worked hard but eventually the home side were rewarded for their pressure when a loose clearance kick allowed the home fullback to create space for the No 8 to run in from the 22m line unopposed for the unconverted try. 19-3 at half time.

The second half kicked off and Medway clearly needed to get back into the game. Good early pressure in the set piece and strong runs from Henry Kenny and Mo Pangarker saw Medway have two kickable opportunities to narrow the gap. Harvey was successful with the second. 19-6. The first incursion of the home side into the Medway 22m in the second half saw them come away with points. Medway had defended the initial attack well and won good ball from the resultant scrum. However they then failed to find touch and the home fullback combined with their, man of match, right winger to beat the Medway kick chase and score the converted try. 26-6. Medway never gave up and continued to battle. On 56 minutes a box kick from the home 9 was well fielded by Sean Marriott. The ball was fed to midfield and centre Max Bullock made an incisive 20m break up the middle of the home defence. Although tackled the ball was re-cycled for Sam Garofalo, Dan Harvey and Owen Church-Mills to combine and put Alfie Orris away. He stood the cover defence up to score a fine unconverted try in the corner. 26-11. Medway put fresh legs on with Sam Bailey, Bill Humphrey and John Sopowa introduced to maintain the visitor’s momentum. Although Jordan Stubbington, Henry Kenny and Antony Clement carried well the London Welsh defence was solid.  Any hopes of a Medway comeback were dashed on 63 minutes. A line out deep in the Medway half saw London Welsh attack with phase after phase of forwards carrying. Eventually the Medway defence was narrowed and the ball fed wide for the home side right winger to notch another try to his tally. The try was converted. 33-11. The Medway team did not give up. They have character and continued to battle. Having won good field position they pressed the home line time and again. Welsh defended well but conceded back to back penalties.  Medway opted to take scrums given the score line and pressed the home line hard. Their perseverance was eventually rewarded when scrum half Sam Garofalo dived over for the unconverted try to make the final score 33-16.

London Welsh were the better side on their day and deserved their victory. Although Medway improved in the second half it was London Welsh’s day.