Medway entertained League Leaders Camberley at Priestfields on Saturday. A win for Camberley would see them crowned league champions. For Medway’s part they were looking to preserve their season long unbeaten home record. With both sides already promoted a large crowd gathered for what promised to be an entertaining affair and they were not disappointed.
Camberley kicked off and dominated the early stages playing a direct physical game with their large pack of forwards. A series of pick and drives narrowed the Medway defence and some crisp passing saw the visitors winger go over in the corner for a converted try. 0-7. On 12 minutes Medway responded. Some great individual work from Alfie Orris saw him kick ahead and re gather to score out wide. Dan Harvey converted to level the score. The rest of the half belonged to Camberley. Their forwards were dominating the breakdown and forced Medway to concede a penalty. The visitors kicked to the corner and scored a converted try with a catch and drive from the lineout. 7-14. On 34 minutes Camberley won another lineout on the half way line and a well worked strike play from their backs saw them score an excellent unconverted try in the corner. Medway went into half time trailing 7-19.
The second half kicked off and after some end to end play and with 51 minutes gone Camberley put a cross field kick in. The kick appeared to be covered but the unpredictability of the bounce wrong footed the Medway and Camberley pounced. The conversion put Medway 7-26 down and seemingly out off the game. This Medway team have been behind before. This team has pride and character and they showed this in abundance as they picked themselves up and took the game to their illustrious visitors. A good series of phase play saw Billy Humphrey held up over the line. Medway looked to keep the pressure up. Two replacements were made. Props Richard Petch and Maik Timmerman, both having performed well, were replaced by Dan Huntley and Jack Nickalls. On 61 minutes Medway reduced the arrears. From a solid scrum platform Billy Humphrey and Alfie Orris combined to put Sam Garofalo over in the corner. Dan Harvey converted 14-26. On 68 minutes Medway were again attacking the visitors line. Sam Garofalo, Antony Clement and Lordi Waqa combined to put Alfie Orris over in the corner for an unconverted try. 19-26. From the re-start Camberley recovered the ball and Medway were penalised for not moving away at the ruck. The kick was taken and Medway were now 19-29 down but still in it. With just 6 minutes left on the clock Medway kept hammering away at Camberley. An attempted catch and drive was initially thwarted by the visitors but good work from Mo Pangarker saw the ball re-cycled wide for wing John Sipawa to power over for an unconverted try and the try bonus point. 24-29. Camberley were feeling the pressure. With just 3 minutes left on the clock and only a single score between the two sides Camberley won a penalty just outside the Medway 22m. They opted for the kick immediately and it was successful. Medway’s hopes of a famous comeback were thwarted. 24-32. Although they pressed the visitors line again in the closing seconds it was not to be and Medway’s unbeaten home record went to the League Champions.
Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ The last few weeks have been difficult with injuries and illness but we showed our strength in depth with a performance our club can be proud of’. He added ‘ we are promoted and that is a brilliant achievement for our club. Camberley are worthy Champions and we congratulate them’.