Hammersmith and Fulham 12 Medway 29 (London 1 South) 15th January 2022

Medway travelled to the ‘Hammers’ Hurlingham Park ground for their first ever visit in this key promotion fixture. With the ‘Hammers’ only 3 points behind Medway but having a game in hand the outcome was crucial to the aspirations of both clubs. Medway had the dream start with only 3 minutes on the clock. Good work off the back of a solid scrum by Jordan Stubbington saw quick ball for Sam Garofalo who fed Alfie Orris. Orris beat his man but was tackled short, his offload was eventually fed out to the opposite touchline for John Sopawa to score an unconverted try. 0-5. The good Medway start was based on a solid scrum platform with the front 5 of Bill Sandison, Maik Timmerman, Richard Petch, Henry Kenny and Mo Pangarker getting on top of their counterparts. Good front foot ball saw the home side forced to concede a penalty at the breakdown. Owen Church-Mills made no mistake. 0-8. The Hammers looked to come back and threatened with their talented back division. Some good attacking phases was rewarded with a penalty. The home side kicked for the corner. The initial catch and drive was stopped but they got the reward they sought with a close range drive successful as was the conversion. 7-8. Medway were on the scoreboard next on 34 minutes. A scrum outside their own 22m saw the visitors attack from deep.  Garofalo, Orris and Stubbington combine to gain good ground. Good support play from Lewis Stimpson, Henry Kenny, Tom Beaumont and Mo Pangarker ensure quick ball which Jack Johnson and Sean Marriott feed wide to John Sopowa. Sipowa looked set to score but is tackled short however Beaumont feeds Billy Sandison and he powers over from short range for the try coverted by Owen Church-Mills. 7-15. Hammersmith & Fulham look to respond. Good phase play from them stretched Medway but their defence with Johnson, Bullock, Church-MIlls and Marriott working hard held firm for the 7-15 half time score.

The second half kicked off with end to end stuff from both teams but good last minute defence from both sides prevented any score until the 55th minute. Medway had good field position but waste the line out opportunity. A scrum is awarded to the home side but the Medway pressure secures a penalty. Medway opt for the scrum and their dominance secures the pushover try from Jordan Stubbington. Owen Church-Mills converts to make the score 7-22. Medway made changes with youngsters Jack Nickalls and Michael Fankah replacing Petch and Stimpson. Hammersmith were forced to make a couple of enforced injury changes themselves with one looking serious. The Medway club wish the player well and hope the injury is not too severe. With Medway looking the dominant side the next score was not long in coming. On 63 minutes Medway secured an attacking scrum 10 metres out. A quality scrum drive from all 8 forwards saw Stubbington’s control at the base rewarded with a second try. The try bonus point was secured and the try converted by the dependable Owen Church-Mills. 7-29. Medway added veteran Billy Humphrey to the fray and although both sides had opportunities the final score of the match went to the home side who never gave up. Back to back penalties saw Hammersmith & Fulham secure good field position and they are rewarded eventually with a good close range effort which was unconverted. 12-29.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘This is an excellent result for us. The Hammers have one of the best back divisions in the league and I am really pleased with the execution of our game plan’. He added “we were forced to make changes at 10 and 12 and all the boys responded well and are rightfully proud of this win against a quality club”.

London Irish WG 24 Medway 25 (London 1 South) 08th January 2022

Medway travelled to Sudbury on Saturday to take on London Irish Wild Geese. This return fixture was played out in constant rain making conditions less than ideal for the players. The home side kicked off and the only score of the first half came in the 39th minute when Owen Church-Mills converted the 10th penalty conceded by Irish in the half which also earned the home side a yellow card for persistent infringement.  Medway had dominated the first half mainly through their stronger scrum, courtesy of Maik Timmerman, Billy Sandison and Richard Petch, and that was backed up with good ball retention from Jordan Stubbington, Henry Kenny, Mo Pangarker and Lewis Stimpson in the conditions. They had opportunities to score having had a try disallowed by Clement and Tom Beaumont being held up over the line on another occasion. However they were unable to get the score they craved as line out chances went begging and to the credit of the much improved Irish team some excellent and well organised defence.

 Half time saw Medway forced into making a change with centre Antony Clement forced to leave the field with a leg injury.  The rain abated and both sides looked to play a more expansive game and with just two minutes of the half gone Medway scored the opening try. Irish a man down looked to kick out deep but were unable to find touch. Medway counter attacked with Jack Johnson beating the kick chase. He fed Tom Beaumont in support who offloaded out of the tackle to Max Bullock who beat the scramble defence to score the unconverted try in the corner. 0-8. Irish responded 5 minutes later when their excellent fly half kicked in behind the Medway defence and their fullback won the race for the touchdown. The try was unconverted. 5-8. Medway added Jack Nickalls to the fray replacing stalwart Richard Petch. On 53 minutes Irish gave away a penalty for attacking the jumper in the air. Owen Church-Mills struck it well. 5-11. From the kick off Medway gain possession and kick deep for field position. Irish gather the ball and kicked back. Alfie Orris catches the ball and counter attacks. The Irish kick chase was poor and the pace of Orris saw him cut through and score under the posts. Church-Mills converted 5-18. On 64 minutes with Medway attacked the Irish line through Tom Beaumont who went close but was stopped just short. Irish knocked the ball on on their line and the resultant Medway scrum drove for the line. Jordan Stubbington controlled the drive well. The home scrum half dived in as Medway were about to score giving the referee no option but to award the penalty try. 5-25.

 Medway made a further change with Billy Humphrey replacing Billy Sandison at Hooker. From the restart Medway failed to gather the ball and found themselves defending their line. Irish won a penalty and a quick tap and go saw Sean Marriott tackle the ball carrier inside the 10 metres and he rightly saw yellow. Irish tapped and went again but Medway defended their line but their defence was eventually narrowed and the ball went out wide for the inevitable score which was unconverted 10-25. Irish had their tails up. Medway were a man down. Within 5 minutes Irish had scored again. A kick in behind from their fly half saw them win the race for the touch down against a short handed defence. The converted try saw the score back to 17-24. With just 5 minutes remaining Irish win a line out 5 meters out from the Medway line. The go to the catch and drive but this is thwarted. Pick and go becomes their attack choice and they eventually score in the corner. A magnificent conversion brings Irish back to within a point at 24-25. The restart see Irish try to run out from defence with several phases but with Medway restored to their full compliment Irish cannot get out of their half. Medway eventually win a penalty at the breakdown and the game is over.

 Coach Taff Gwilliam said “ This was a much improved Irish side who battled hard. We are just pleased to have secured victory in the conditions but given we were in control 25-5 up with 20 minutes to go we have to look at how we close games out”. He added if London Irish keep this side together they will do well in the second half of the season”.

Camberley 41 Medway 31 (London 1 South) 11th December 2021

Medway travelled to third placed Camberley on Saturday in an eagerly awaited top of the table clash. The crowd were thoroughly entertained as the teams served up a pulsating encounter in which the home side eventually prevailed by 41 to 31.

The first 10 minutes of the match was all Camberley. They dominated field position and although they failed to score with an attempted catch and drive on 7 minutes they did manage to narrow the Medway defence then move the ball wide to score an unconverted try in the other corner. 5-0.

Within a few minutes Camberley were back on the attack and forced a couple of missed tackles in the Medway 22 and again scored an unconverted try for a 10-0 lead with only 10 minutes gone.

Medway started to get a foothold in the game based on a solid scrummaging platform. On 27 minutes they opened their account.

Antony Clement carried inside the 22m and Medway got quick ball Dan Harvey fed Max Bullock who got outside his man then put Alfie Orris away. The covering defence were drawn by Orris who fed back to the supporting Bullock and he outpaced the chasing defence to score. Harvey converted. 10-7. A superb break out try.

On 31 minutes a line out in Medway’s own half saw Bill Sandison and Jordan Stubbington combine. Sam Garofalo fed Sean Marriott who got over the gain line. Max Easton, Henry Kenny and Mo Pangarker drove into the heart of the Camberley defence. Quick ball from Garofalo and Harvey put Orris away supported by Jack Johnson who exchanged passes with Orris for him to score. Harvey added the extras 10-14.

Camberley came back. A penalty at the breakdown saw them go for the corner and a well executed catch and drive together with a good conversion from their fly half saw them re-take the lead 17-14.

The last play of the half saw Dan Harvey kick a penalty after Camberley were penalised for a high tackle. Half time saw the sides even at 17-17 all.

The second half started as the first. Medway failed to exit from the kick off then conceded back to back penalties the second of which saw Antony Clement yellow carded and reducing Medway to 14 men. The home side took full advantage scoring a converted catch and drive try to lead 24-17.

Down to 14 men Medway showed good character. A well executed line out saw Medway go through the phases with good ball retention. They were pulling the Camberley defence first one way then other. Eventually Medway were able to create space to put Sean Marriott away on the left. He ran hard but was tackled just short of the line. The ball was recycled and Garofalo fed Alfie Orris who broke a tackle to score a great team try. Harvey converted and the match was level again at 24-24.

The next score went to the home side. With 63 minutes on the clock Medway were in possession in their own 22m. They looked to exit when a loose pass saw Camberley recover the error ball and score a simple try in the corner. A good conversion put the score at 31-24.

Despite this setback Medway came back at Camberley. For 10 minutes they pressured Camberley deep in their half. Twice Camberley managed to turn the ball over and clear their lines but Medway kept coming back and multiple phases eventually saw a space for Harvey to offload to Jack Johnson who beat a defender and rounded the cover to score the converted try. 31-31.

With 8 minutes left on the clock the scores were level and it was anyones game. Sadly for Medway they failed to deal with the re-start giving Camberley good field position. Next a simple offside line penalty compounded the error and Camberley converted to take the lead again 34-31.

The last 4 minutes saw Medway try to run the ball out from deep but Camberley kept these attempts at bay defending well and eventually turning the ball over. They themselves looked to seal the game and as they looked to score in the corner Medway were adjudged not to have used arms in the tackle and a penalty try was awarded denying Medway a losing bonus point.

This match lived up to its billing but sadly for Medway they came out on the wrong side of the score.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘It was a great game and the boys gave their absolute all and are gutted to lose. Hopefully we will learn from our own errors and be stronger for the experience.’ He added ‘Camberley are a good side and were clinical in their execution’.

 

 

 

 

Medway 45 Cobham 14 (London 1 South) 04th December 2021

On a very breezy but dry afternoon at Priestfields Medway entertained league rivals Cobham. The match marked Richard Petch’s 150th 1st XV appearance for the host club.

Both teams had been victorious in their previous outings playing expansive rugby so an entertaining encounter was expected. The crowd was swelled by a 100 of Medway’s past players who enjoyed their annual reunion lunch.

Cobham kicked off with the breeze at their backs. Medway gained possession from the kick off and for the first 20 minutes showed excellent ball retention. A single missed penalty opportunity on 12 minutes was Cobham’s only real scoring opportunity.

On 22 minutes Medway opened the scoring. An overthrow from Cobham in their own half was regathered by Tom Beaumont who drove on making good ground. Medway went through the phases and eventually Max Easton went over in the corner for an unconverted try. 5-0.

Immediately from the kick off Max Easton and Tom Beaumont combine to put Sean Marriott away. He finds Max Bullock in support who breaks inside but is denied the try by a last ditch tackle. The ensuing scrum sees Medway pressure the Cobham scrum and turn the ball over for Jordan Stubbington to score. Dan Harvey converted to put Medway ahead 12-0.

With 32 minutes on the clock Cobham were under pressure in their own half and looked to clear their lines. A long kick downfield was caught by Sean Marriott who linked with Jack Johnson. He and ‘man of the match’ Max Bullock counter attacked linking up with Mo Pangarker. Mo breaks a couple of tackles and gives the return pass for Max Bullock to score. Dan Harvey converted. 19-0.

With just two minutes remaining before half time Medway were 19 points to the good playing against the elements and had performed brilliantly. Good ball retention, decision making and patience had put them in a commanding position however Cobham are a good side who never stopped playing. Good field position and some indifferent tackling saw Cobham drive over from from a ruck on the Medway line. The try was converted. 19-7.

Straight from the kick off Medway won a penalty and kicked upfield. The resultant line out saw a wide pass intercepted by the Cobham player in his own 22m and he went the distance to score the converted try.

Medway had undermined what was a top quality 38 minutes with 2 minutes of slackness. The teams went in at half time. Cobham were still in it with the score at 19-14.

Medway kicked the second half off and were soon on the front foot having won the ball back. Bill Sandison, Jack Nickalls, Mo Pangarker and Henry Kenny all making telling carries. Sam Garofalo and Dan Harvey ensured good continuity and the pressure soon told. With the visitors defence narrowed Medway went wide and Antony Clement and Jack Johnson combined to put Sean Marriott away to score. Dan Harvey converted. 26-14.

On 52 minutes Jack Johnson puts a kick deep into the Cobham half. A good kick chase pressures the visitors full back into putting the ball out in is own 22m. The resultant line out sees Bill Sandison and Max Easton combine to win the ball. Medway drive for the line and just as Cobham stop the drive Jordan Stubbington breaks off to drive over from short range. The conversion is missed. 31-14.

Medway make changes to their line up with Maik Timmerman replacing Jack Nickalls and Michael Fankah replacing Mo Pangarker. The changes not diminishing the dominance of the Medway pack.

Medway keep the pressure up and are rewarded on 58 minutes. A line out steal see Medway attack the Cobham midfield through Sean Marriott and he feeds Max Bullock who races over for the try. Dan Harvey converts to make the score 38-14.

Bill Humphrey replaced Bill Sandison. With Medway on top and keeping the pressure up a lot of teams would have crumbled but Cobham showed pride and character they battled hard and never gave up. They kept Medway at bay for long periods and the final score of the game did not come until the final play. Cobham were pinned on their own line and following a number of consecutive penalties Medway opted for the attacking scrum. A well executed push over try sees Stubbington score his hat trick and Harvey converted to make the final score 45-14.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “ we are delighted to have won with the bonus point. Cobham are a well organised, talented team. The first 38 minutes was some of the best controlled rugby, in the elements, that we have played this season”.

Next week see Medway travel to promotion rivals Camberley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horsham 16 Medway 24 (London 1 South) 20th November 2021

Medway journeyed to West Sussex on Saturday to take on a Horsham side who had beaten them on their previous visit. Matches between the two sides are always close and this was match proved to be no exception. Playing into a strong breeze Medway got off to a flying start. Horsham kicked deep into the Medway 22m. Alfie Orris fielded the ball and counter attacked gaining good ground before being tackled. The ball was re-cycled and Medway carried through the forwards, Captain for the day, Max Easton, Jack Nickalls and Richard Petch getting over the gain line with support from their fellow forwards.  The home defence was narrowed as a consequence and Sam Garofalo linked with Dan Harvey to move the ball wide to Max Bullock. He beat his marker to race home scoring in the corner.  Dan Harvey landed the conversion with a superb kick in difficult conditions. 0-7. Horsham soon responded. Medway conceded a penalty at the breakdown and Horsham kicked into the corner. The initial catch and drive was thwarted however Horsham kept the pressure on and eventually drove over from short range for the converted try to level the scores. The rest of the half saw Horsham manage the conditions well and pin Medway back in their own half.  On 15 minutes a loose wide pass from the visitors went to ground and they were penalised at the subsequent breakdown. The home kicker made no mistake 10-7. On 19 minutes another penalty against Medway saw the home side increase their lead to 13-7 with another well struck and accurate kick. With the elements at their back Horsham kept up the pressure pinning Medway deep in their own half. They defended their line well with every Medway player contributing. The defence was highlighted by some great gutsy tackles from Sean Marriott on the dangerous Horsham winger. The last play of the first half however saw the home side’s pressure finally rewarded when Medway were adjudged to have come in the side of a ruck and the accuracy of the home kicker ensured that Horsham went into half time with a 16-7 lead.

The second half started with just one change to the Medway team with young Maik Timmerman replacing Richard Petch after his sterling work at Tighthead. An early blow to Medway’s hope of a comeback was the loss of the influential Dan Huntley with a spiral fracture of his right hand. He was replaced by young 18 year old Michael Fankah making his league debut. Despite this set back Medway set about clawing back the Horsham first half lead. Back to back penalties won at the breakdown (the first by Michael Fankah) saw Harvey kick Medway close to the home line and the subsequent line out saw hooker Billy Humphrey touch down in the corner. Harvey landed an excellent conversion to make the score 16-14. Medway had good opportunities to take the lead but were penalised for truck and trailer as they drove over the line and kickable penalties were missed after a Horsham player was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. Horsham battled hard a man short as Medway kept the pressure on but in the end that pressure and good field position told. In the 67th minute another penalty was conceded at the breakdown by Horsham this, following good work by Jordan Stubbington, Mo Pangarker and Henry Kenny, saw Harvey step up and make no mistake with the effort to give Medway the lead 16-17. Just 4 minutes later Medway increased their slender lead. Good set piece possession was the platform for Harvey and Antony Clement to feed young Max Bullock. He broke the home defensive line and offloaded to the supporting Jack Johnson. He stepped two covering defenders to score an excellent try.  Dan Harvey converted and Medway closed out the game to make the final score 16-24.

No try bonus point for Medway and the final try denying Horsham the bonus point they frankly deserved for an excellent battle.

Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘We are just pleased to have won here in difficult conditions. We always have really tough games against Horsham who are a well organised and dangerous side’.

Medway 31 London Cornish 0 (London 1 South) 13th November 2021

Medway entertained London Cornish on their return to Priestfields on Saturday and ran out winners by 31 points to nil. Although a bonus point victory was achieved this was not the quality of performance normally attributed to the home side. Credit for that in part must go to Cornish who were dogged at the breakdown, looking to slow the game and prevent Medway from playing at the desired tempo which they did successfully. Medway opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a text book try from Jordan Stubbington on his 100th appearance for the Medway 1st XV. A good scrum platform allowed Stubbington to attack. He beat the cover defence and went over. Dan Harvey converted. 7-0. On 16 minutes a line out on the right saw Medway move the ball wide to Alfie Orris who stretched the visitors defence then threw an inside pass to Max Bullock and he scampered over to score the unconverted try. 12-0. On 21 minutes with Medway, dominating up front through Jack Nickalls, Bill Sandison and Richard Petch, went further ahead. A line out in the corner 5m from the visitors line saw hooker Bill Sandison drive over after help from Stubbington and Easton. The conversion from Harvey hit the post. 17-0. Medway were forced into a change when Richard Petch was forced from the field through injury and that saw the introduction of Dan Huntley playing his first game for over 2 years. The home side were dominating with everyone anticipating further scoring but credit to London Cornish they dug in battling hard and showing good character. That combined with some poor decision making from the home side meant that the sides went in at half time with score at 17-0.

The second half kicked off with Medway keen to secure the bonus point  victory and maintain their promotion challenge. With 46 minutes on the clock the bonus point was theirs. Dan Harvey secured a Medway line out with a 50-22 kick. The line out was well won and after several phases with good carrying from Henry Kenny, Tom Beaumont, Antony Clement and Max Easton Dan Harvey fed Max Bullock who crashed over under the posts. Harvey converted to make the score 24-0. Medway looked to up the tempo of the game. They introduced fresh legs with Billy Humphrey replacing the industrious Lewis Stimpson and Sam Bailey coming in at hooker for Bill Sandison. Medway had a number of opportunities to increase the score but that combination of decision making and the dogged character of the visitors meant that the final score of the game did not come until the 71st minute. A Medway attack deep in the visitors 22m from a set piece scrum saw the Medway backs stretch the home home defence and this allowed Alfie Orris to feed the ball back inside for John Sipowa to score. Dan Harvey converted to make the final score 31-0.

Dickon Moon, the London Cornish coach, said after the game….’with such a depleted side we are delighted to have kept the score down to 31-0. We showed character and tenacity……I was proud of the lads’

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.

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.

Chichester 19 Medway 27 (London 1 South) 23rd October 2021

This top of the table clash saw second placed Medway travel to West Sussex to take on third placed Chichester. Although early in the season this was still a key game for both these promotion contenders. Medway gave league debuts to Stewart Stockford and John  Sipowa. The match kicked off in good overhead and underfoot conditions and it was the home side who had the perfect start. A handling error off the kick off gave Chichester great field position. Although their scrum came under severe pressure they managed to recycle the ball and after a couple of phases scored a well taken converted try. 7-0. Medway responded quickly when 3 minutes later Chichester were penalised for holding on in the ruck. Owen Church-Mills slotted the kick to make the score 7-3. The next half hour was a tight fought affair but Medway started to get on top. Their set piece with Jack Nickalls, Bill Sandison and Maik Timmerman dominating their counterparts causing the home side problems and disrupting their platform. On 31 minutes a penalty at the scrum saw Medway kick for field position. The line out won by Max Easton and three phases later the backs put Alfie Orris away. He was tackled short but good support saw Sam Garofalo on hand to take the offload and score under the posts. Owen Church-Mills added the conversion. 7-10. With just a couple of minutes left in the half Medway went through several phases, Jordan Stubbington, Henry Kenny, Mo Pangarker, Stewart Stockford and Antony Clement all involved to provide space for Alfie Orris to get behind the home defence. As the cover converged it was Owen Church-Mills in support to receive the pass to score under the posts. He converted his own try to make the half time score 7-17.

The second half kicked off and with only 4 minutes gone Referee Tony Hanks went down with a muscle injury. Fortunately another qualified referee from Chichester was on hand to ensure the game was completed. The first score of the second half came on 57 minutes. Medway drove from a line out but Chichester were adjudged to have collapsed the driving maul and Church-Mills made no mistake with the kick. 7-20. Chichester worked hard to get back into the game but the Medway defence held firm. Captain Tom Beaumont, Henry Kenny, Max Easton and Mo Pangarker prominent. The game was put beyond the reach of the home side on 70 minutes. Good ball from the line out saw Medway attack deep into the Chichester half winning a scrum. The scrum platform was sound and saw Medway attack through Lewis Stimpson and Jordan Stubbington. The ball was re-cycled Sam Garofalo, Owen Church-Mills and Max Bullock combining to put Alfie Orris away in space. He was tackled short of the line but debutant John Sipowa was on hand to take the offload and score under the posts. Church-Mills added the extras and Medway led 7-27 with 9 minutes left. To Chichester’s credit they never gave up. They showed great character kept playing and scored two late tries to narrow the gap to 19-27 however the day belonged to Medway.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘…we are delighted with the result. This is a very difficult place to come and get a win. Although early in the season it was nonetheless an important victory’.

Medway remain remain second behind London Welsh.

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”.