Medway 30 Battersea Ironsides 5 (London 1 South) 30th October 2021

Medway entertained Battersea Ironsides for the first time in the clubs’ history. On a breezy day it was Medway that played into the elements first and they were soon on the scoreboard. A handling error gave Medway great field position and and from the resultant scrummage Jordan Stubbington made good ground Max Bullock in support was incisive and offloaded to Alfie Orris who finished. A great start to the home side. Dan Harvey converted and Medway led 7-0. Battersea for their part looked to play a high tempo game and were soon camping in the Medway half. A missed penalty opportunity was soon followed up with a score. Medway lost the ball in contact on the halfway line. The visitors counter attacked and Medway were adjudged to have stopped the attack illegally. A quick tap from their left winger saw him scamper over to score an unconverted try with the Medway defence disorganised. 7-5. Immediately from the restart Medway won a penalty at the breakdown. Dan Harvey was on target and increased the home side’s lead to 10-5. As the game progressed the Medway scrum started to dominate their opponents. Jack Nickalls, Billy Sandison, Richard Petch were outstanding in the front row and provided an excellent platform. A penalty from a scrum saw Medway gain good field position. Well won line out ball from Bill Sandison and Mo Pangarker saw Stubbington break his marker’s tackle and race over for Medway’s second try. Harvey, whose kicking was immaculate all day converted to make the half time score 17-5.

The second half saw the Medway forwards win two early penalties which Harvey kicked to put the lead out to 23-5. Good strong play from Henry Kenny, Tom Beaumont and Lewis Stimpson ensured good ball retention and with Max Bullock and Antony Clement running hard off the back of the forward carries kept the visitors on the back foot. To Ironsides credit they kept trying to play tempo rugby off the back foot but the Medway defence was solid. Sean Marriott and Tom Beaumont excelling in the contact. Dan Harvey and Owen Church-Mills ensuring the defence was well organised behind. With what little possession Ironsides did win they attacked and were unlucky not to have scored in the 51st minute when a foot in touch denied them a try. On the hour mark Medway won a scrum on ironsides 22m and attacked through Jordan Stubbington. He was brought down short but the ball was recycled and Harvey fed Alfie Orris on the inside for him to drive over for the try. Harvey converted. 30-7. The last 20 minutes saw Medway press the visitors hard looking for the bonus point score. Despite numerous opportunities having camped on the visitors try line, the all important try went begging. The combination of poor finishing and control combined with superb last ditch defence from the visitors ensured there was no more scoring. Medway did add fresh players to the fray with Harry Campbell coming on for his 1st XV debut as well as veteran Bobby Ellis and the evergreen Ross Cooley. Despite this they could not breach the visitors line for the all important bonus point 4th try.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘Battersea Ironsides were an unknown quality for us so we are delighted to have won the game and continue our good start to the season’.  Next week Medway travel to Old Deer Park to take on league leaders London Welsh. As today was, it is also the first time in the clubs history that the two clubs meet in a league encounter.