Medway 51 Guildford 17 (London 1 South) 16th October 2021

On Saturday Medway entertained Surrey rivals Guildford at Priestfields in breezy but bright conditions. The game kicked off with the home side playing into the elements. Medway started much the brighter side. An early line out saw Medway drive then move the ball through the backs for Jack Johnson to throw an excellent inside pass for Sam Garofalo to scamper over. The try was unconverted. 5-0. Medway continued to press and exerted good control of the ball through the phases and stretched the visitors defence. Johnson again involved with a good line break feeding Owen Church-Mills who scored and then converted his own try. 12-0. Medway were continuing to dominate. A penalty saw Medway kick for the corner. A well executed catch and drive put Billy Sandison over for the third try. Owen Church-Mills converted. 19-0. Medway’s bonus point try came after 22 minutes with Alfie Orris and Jack Johnson linking again after some good ball from the Medway forwards. Johnson’s try was unconverted but Medway were now leading 24-0. With Medway scoring at a point a minute and playing some scintillating stuff you could be forgiven for fearing the worst for Guildford. But with a couple of wins already under their belt this season they were not simply going to lie down. The latter part of the first half mostly went to them showing everyone their fighting spirits and some quality. That final 15 minutes of the first half saw four tries with both sides looking to play expansively. Three of those tries going, deservedly, to the visitors who showed their capabilities and some good character. A sharp try from the Guildford 9 breaking on the Medway 22m broke their duck . It was unconverted 24-5. Medway replied with an excellent run from Max Bullock who was stopped just short but Antony Clement was in support to pick up and dive over. Church-Mills converted. 31-5.

Then came Guildford’s best spell of the game. Medway conceded back to back penalties and paid the price. The visitors executed an excellent catch and drive and a few minutes later a short range drive to bring the half time score to 31-17. With the elements at their back Medway needed to re-establish control of the game and immediately from the kick off they forced Guildford into conceding a penalty. Church-Mills was on target. 34-17. On 46 minutes Medway won a scrum on the Guildford 10m line. The ball is fed to Max Bullock who beat his marker then rounded the fullback for a fine individual try. Church-Mills converted 41-17. Medway then make changes with Dan Harvey replacing Owen Church-Mills and Maik Timmerman coming on for Richard Petch. Dan Harvey soon makes his mark when following another strong scrum Medway win the penalty which he kicks to put the score out to 44-17. Veteran Billy Humphrey replaced Medway Captain Tom Beaumont who had been ill in the lead up to the game. The industrious Sean Marriott was also forced to leave the pitch with Church-Mills returning to the fray. Guildford for their part never stopped trying to play but the Medway pack led by the front row of Bill Sandison, Jack Nickalls, Richard Petch and Maik Timmerman dominated the set piece.  With ‘man of the match’ Henry Kenny making some crunching tackles and carrying hard in midfield. It was always difficult for them. Jordan Stubbington was regularly getting over the gain line backed up by Mo Pangarker and Max Easton all of which meant that Guildford struggled to get any foothold in the second half.

The final score of the game came in the 75th minute. Another great line out steal from Max Easton saw Garofalo and Harvey move the ball wide for Alfie Orris to finish smartly. Dan Harvey converted to make the final score 51-17.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “ We played some great stuff today scoring some superb tries. Guildford never gave up to their credit but i was pleased with our tempo and execution”.