Medway 24 Camberley 32 (London 1 South) 09th April 2022

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’.

Cobham 40 Medway 28 (London 1 South) 02nd April 2022

Medway travelled to Cobham in Surrey on Saturday looking to extend their nine match unbeaten run having already secured promotion the previous week. The playing conditions were excellent for Rugby and both sides served up an entertaining affair. Sadly that winning Medway run came to end with Cobham running out deserved winners.

The game kicked off and within 2 minutes Medway were behind. A lethargic start and lost possession led to a missed tackle in midfield and the home centre scored a well taken converted try. 7-0. A Medway side, showing 7 changes from the previous week, came back into the game. On 20 minutes good phase play saw space created for Lordi Waqa who broke two home cover tackles to score. Dan Harvey converted to level the scores at 7-7. With 28 minutes gone Cobham regained the lead. A solid scrummage provided the platform. They went through phases, retaining possession well and eventually narrowed the Medway defence to create space for the right winger to finish smartly out wide. The try was converted and Medway went in at Half time 14-7 down.

The opening of the second half saw Medway deep in the opposition 22 pressing their line when a pass went astray. Cobham fly hacked downfield. Owen Church-Mills and Sean Marriott did well to recover the ball under pressure but as they looked to clear their lines Marriott’s kick was charged down and Medway found themselves 21-7 down within the first minute of the second half re-start. Medway once again had to chase the game and on 47 minutes they were back in it. Good game management from Dan Harvey and strong  carries from Henry Kenny, Michael Fankah, Maik Timmerman and Tom Beaumont saw the home line pressed. Medway were held up over the line. A goal line drop out saw Lordi Waqa run back hard from the resultant ruck Harvey and Antony Clement move the ball wide and a powerful run from John Sipawa sees him score. Harvey added the extras. 21-14.

Medway’s hopes off making a comeback were dashed. Back to back tries from the home side on 53 and 57 minutes both from the home back row on the back of excellent lead up play combined with poor tackling from Medway took the score out to 33-14. On 62 minutes Medway had a scrum just outside the home 22m.  Lewis Stimpson attacked the blindside and did well and offloaded the ball to the supporting Luke Burns who in turn broke a tackle to dive over and be awarded the try. This to the disappointment of the home crowd as they felt he did not have control of the ball. They had a point. 33-21. On 67 minutes there was no argument. Good work from a number of players created the space for Billy Sandison to punch over. Once again Harvey converted 33-28. Medway had come back well securing the try bonus point. They had another chance but Billy Humphrey was unable to ground the ball over the line and Cobham escaped. That was Medway’s last chance as Cobham closed the game out with another try from their industrious back row in the 72nd minute.

In truth Cobham deserved their victory. The positives for Medway is that they secured a try bonus point away from home and a lot of players in their squad gained some valuable game time.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said “Cobham were the better side today. We have no complaints. There are areas of our game that need to improve throughout the whole squad and we will continue to work on that” he added “We have had a great season and no matter what happens nothing can take that away. We look forward with confidence”

 

Medway 22 Horsham 19 (London 1 South) 26th March 2022

Medway went into Saturday’s game against Horsham knowing that a victory would secure them promotion to National Division 3 next season. A large crowd turned out to cheer Medway and help get them over the line but the visitors had not come to roll over. They came to win and they so very nearly did. The game kicked off in bright sunshine with a strong breeze at the visitors backs and it did not take long for them to open the scoring. A penalty kick to the corner saw Horsham go to the catch and drive. This attempt was thwarted by good defensive work but Horsham were patient and after a number of phases managed to drive over from short range for the converted try. 0-7. On 13 minutes Medway replied. Medway attacked and drove up field through good ball carrying with Mo Pangarker, Tom Beaumont and Henry Kenny prominent. Horsham conceded a penalty at the breakdown and a Dan Harvey penalty kick made the score 3-7. Immediately after this Medway were forced to make a change with No 8 Jordan Stubbington forced to leave the field with a shoulder injury. Hooker Billy Humphrey coming on for his 302nd 1st XV appearance to replace him. The middle of the half saw Horsham dominant. Two tries in 3 minutes one of which was converted put Medway’s ambition in serious doubt as they were outplayed at the breakdown by a robust Horsham pack. At 3-19 things were looking bleak but this Medway side never give up and on a rare foray in the Horsham 22m they were awarded a penalty. Harvey kicked the ball into the touch close to the Horsham line. The visitors defended the initial attempted catch and drive but Medway retained the ball and moved it wide. John Sipawa was stopped short and the next phase saw Sam Garofalo feed Dan Harvey who stepped inside the defence to run round under the posts. He converted his own try and although second best in the first half Medway went in just 10-19 down at the break.

The second half was all about Medway establishing control at the set piece. Using the hard won penalties to gain good field position. Billy Sandison, Richard Petch and Jack Nickalls were dominating up front and there was no respite for Horsham when Maik Timmerman replaced Nickalls. Good field position provided good ball carrying opportunities Henry Kenny, Anthony Clement and Max Bullock kept Medway on the front foot. Horsham started conceding penalties at the breakdown and Harvey punished them with successful kicks on 46, 56, 59 and 63 minutes to reduce and then overhaul the Horsham lead. Horsham continued to be competitive in broken play but the Medway stranglehold at the set piece and good defence work particularly by Sean Marriott, Lewis Stimpson, Henry Kenny and Mo Pangarker combined with the back field organisation from Glen Wadsworth ensured that Horsham remained scoreless in the second half. Medway were winners securing promotion to National League rugby for the first time in their history.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘This was not one of our best performances and you have to credit Horsham for that. They were excellent at the breakdown and will feel aggrieved not to have come away with more out of this game’ he added ‘ that said we are delighted to have secured promotion it is a great day for the players and the whole club. We have come a long way and can now look forward to testing ourselves at the National level’.

London Cornish 27 Medway 41 (London 1 South) 12th March 2022

Medway travelled to Roehampton on Saturday looking to maintain their push for promotion after a splendid win least week against London Welsh. The match was kicked off by London Cornish on an excellent playing surface in good, bright but slightly breezy conditions. Within 2 minutes Medway were awarded a penalty. Opting to kick for touch, they missed.  Cornish punished the errant kick and following a number of phases eventually scored an unconverted try out wide. To make matters worse fly half Dan Harvey received a yellow card reducing Medway to 14 men. On 10 mins London Cornish, belying their lowly league position, scored again. Another Medway turnover in the Cornish half saw Cornish counter attack and score another try out wide. This time converted to make the score 12-0. On 24 minutes Medway again conceded. This time a penalty for holding on in the breakdown. 15-0. To add to the visitors woes lock and Vice Captain Max Easton was injured and forced to leave the field to replaced by young 18 year old Michael Fankah. Medway were reeling and had to tighten their game up. Possession was retained and penalties came from the home defence. The returned Harvey kicked the penalties into the corner and Medway scored two catch and drive tries from the line outs. The first a penalty try when the maul was pulled down short of the line. This resulting in a yellow card for a Cornish player and the second from Tom Beaumont from an excellently controlled driving maul. This was converted by Dan Harvey to make the score 15-14. The final play of the half saw another opportunity to score from a line out but Billy Sandison was held up over the line.

The second half saw Medway pin London Cornish back from the kick off. Glen Wadsworth playing his first game in 9 years for the 1st XV charged a clearance kick down forcing a 5 metre scrum. The Medway pack drove and No 8 Lewis Stimpson was on hand to score. Dan Harvey converted and Medway led for the first time. 15-21. Dan Harvey added a penalty to his conversion to push the Medway lead out to 15-24. The next 5 minutes took the game away from the home side. A catch and drive try from Billy Sandison (converted by Harvey) and a push over try from Lewis Stimpson took Medway’s lead out to 15-36. Medway then lost centre Max Bullock to injury with Dan O’Brien replacing him and veteran Billy Humphrey came on to replace Captain Tom Beaumont. The last 10 minutes of the game saw three tries. Two to the home side with a one from Medway. This Cornish team never gave up. They showed character and plenty of fight and deservedly earned a try bonus point. Their first try was scored out wide after some good phases play and fine handling. The second was a pick and go on the Medway line with the final play of the match this after Sam Garofalo and Billy Humphrey had combined to score on the blind side of a scrum.

The final score 27-41.

The London Cornish team battled hard and despite their lowly position showed the tenacity and pride in their game which will hold them in good stead for next season. Their Director of Rugby Dickon Moon was beaming with pride. He has done a great job for them. Taff Gwilliam said ‘This was not our finest performance. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the opposition and be grateful to your own team for keeping it together after a disastrous start and securing the all important win’.

 

 

 

 

 

Medway 28 London Welsh 12 (London 1 South) 05th March 2022

Medway hosted London Welsh for the first time in the club’s history in this top of the table clash. With the teams having identical playing records both sets of supporters turned out in large numbers for this eagerly anticipated game. For Medway Billy Humphrey was playing his 300th league game. Medway kicked off with a strong breeze at their back and were soon 0-5 down. Two missed tackles found London Welsh in possession under the Medway posts. Quick ruck ball and with the Medway defence in disarray they found their winger who scampered over for the unconverted try with literally 1 minute gone. Not the start the home side were seeking. Medway needed to bounce back. And they did. From a scrum Medway exerted pressure and the visitors 9 failed to clear his lines properly. Sam Garofalo re-gathered the ball and found Mo Pangarker. His strong run got him behind the Welsh defence and an offload to John Sipawa saw him dive over in the corner. Dan Harvey converted to put Medway in front 7-5. With the wind at their backs and Harvey pinning Welsh back with his game management Medway soon added to their score. With 11 minutes gone on the clock the London Welsh back row player is penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. Dan Harvey makes no mistake. 10-5. London Welsh hit back straight away. Some uncharacteristic poor tackling in midfield sees Welsh break through and create a 2 v 1 on the Medway fullback and the inevitable try is scored. With the conversion they take the lead 10-12. Playing with the wind the signs were ominous for the home side. The visitors had contained the Medway attack and the only other scoring of the half was from the boot of Harvey on 28 mins. 13-12. He did hit the crossbar with another long-range attempt, but Medway went into half time with the slenderest of leads.

The second half kicked off and with Medway playing into the strong breeze. It was felt by everyone that Welsh would use the elements to dominate and take the game away from the home side. It was not to be the case. The Medway set piece was superb. Billy Sandison, Maik Timmerman and Richard Petch were dominating up front in the scrummage winning penalties. Sandison (awarded man of the match), Max Easton and Mo Pangarker were dominating the line out denying the visitors the platform they were seeking. With this Medway retained the hard-won possession. Strong running into the breeze from Henry Kenny, Tom Beaumont, Billy Humphrey, Antony Clement and Max Bullock ensured Medway retained possession for large periods of play. On 50 minutes this possession bore fruit. Good line out work and midfield carrying into the breeze narrowed the London Welsh Defence, Garofalo and Harvey put the ball out wide, and John Sipawa bumps off an attempted tackle to score in the corner. The try is unconverted. 18-12. As the half progresses the set piece dominance and ball retention denies London Welsh the opportunities they crave to get back into the game. What little possession they had Medway defended well. Henry Kenny, Antony Clement, and Mo Pangarker making some heavy tackles. The new Medway back three of Conor Chalmers, Sean Marriott and Sipawa were doing an excellent covering job. On the hour mark Medway increased their lead through a Harvey penalty following yet another scrum infringement under pressure. 21-12. Jack Nickalls came on to replace stalwart Richard Petch in the front row. Medway were keen to keep the pressure on the visitors set piece. As the match went into the closing minutes Medway made changes to keep their work rate up. Billy Humphrey went off to a large cheer joined by Mo Pangarker who had an excellent game. Dan O’ Brian and Michael Fankah replacing them in the back row. Fankah’s first touch of the ball was to score. A scrum 5m out saw the dominant Medway pack drive for the line. Welsh were helpless as excellent control at the base saw Fankah touch down. Dan Harvey converted to make the score 28-12. London Welsh tried to come back but with three fresh players on in the forwards Tom Beaumont’s team closed the game out.

A brilliant second half performance with the tactics well executed ensured the Medway victory.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘This was an important occasion for us. Playing such a prestigious club at Medway for the first time and securing a win in front of the largest crowd seen here for a few years was simply superb’. He added ‘having been defeated by them earlier in the season, we prepared a plan and the boys executed it brilliantly’.

Next week Medway travel to Roehampton to take on London Cornish.

 

 

 

 

Battersea Ironsides 19 Medway 33 (London 1 South) 19th February 2022

Medway travelled to Battersea Ironsides on Saturday and took on the home side in what were absolutely dreadful conditions. The wind and rain combined with a sodden cut up pitch would normally have served up a dull uninspiring game, but not so. Ironsides and Medway made light of the situation to serve up an excellent and entertaining match.

The Medway victory was built on the back of a dominant scrum and good ball retention skills in the conditions. For their part Ironsides looked to attack at every opportunity and in truth deserved more from the game than they got.

Medway played with the strong wind at their backs in the first half and were soon on the front foot. Good field position well marshalled by Fly Half Jack Johnson saw Max Bullock break the home defensive line, quick ruck ball sets Lewis Stimpson up to scamper home for the opening try converted by Jack Johnson. 0-7.

Despite dominating field position Medway then turned the ball over cheaply in the home half and a couple of fly hacks backed up by a quality kick chase from the home side saw them score a well taken try against the run of play. The conversion drawing them level.

On 25 minutes Ironsides have the put in at a scrum near the half way line. An excellent counter drive from the visitors with Billy Sandison, Mike Timmerman and Richard Petch dominating their opposition saw Medway win the turnover. Mo Pangarker, on his return to the 1st XV, picked up beat several tacklers to score an excellent try. Jack Johnson converted to put Medway ahead 7-14.

On the half hour mark Medway lose Number 8 Jordan Stubbington to a shoulder injury. Despite this set back Medway continue to pressure the home side. The pressure tells when from a 5 metre scrum Lewis Stimpson, having moved to the 8 position, shows good control at the base of the scrum to secure the push over try. Jack Johnson converts and Medway lead 7-21.

Although playing with the elements Medway were made to pay from the last play of the half. The home side despite struggling at the set piece still looked to play with ambition and tenacity. This was rewarded with well won turnover ball. Consecutive penalties conceded by Medway saw the Ironsides score with the final play of the half. The try was converted and Medway had just a narrow lead of 14-21 to show at half time. Not enough points given the elements it was felt by all the onlookers.

The second half was kicked off by Medway with the elements behind the home side. The kick went loose and was recovered by Jack Johnson. An excellent foray by him deep into the home half saw him create a 2 v 1. Max Bullock in support received the pass and finished well out wide for the unconverted try giving Medway the try bonus point. 14-26.

The next period of play was dominated by the home side and only excellent defence, with Antony Clement prominent, kept the Medway line intact.

On the hour mark and following a sustained period of defending Medway broke out. They drove deep into the home 22m and were awarded a penalty. A strong driving scrum saw Lewis Stimpson show excellent ball control to secure his hat trick of tries. Jack Johnson converted to give Medway the lead by 14-33.

The final score of the game came in the 66th minute. The home side showed why they are a strong force in the league when with a sustained period of pressure and despite excellent defence that pressure was rightfully rewarded with a short range uncovered try. 19-33

Medway despite this closed the game out and in doing so secured a vital away win moving them a step closer to promotion.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ This is a real tough place to come and secure a win. Ironsides had had only one defeat in the last 5 games at home so we are delighted to have secured the win with a try bonus point.’

Medway next face high flying London Welsh at home on the 5th March. See the website for more details.

Medway 44 Chichester 12 (London 1 South) 12th February 2022

Medway RFC entertained old rivals Chichester at Priestfields on Saturday. Although dry a very strong wind was blowing down the pitch which Medway played into at the kick off. Both teams were forced into making late changes to their squad making for an intriguing match with the depth of the respective squads being tested. Chichester kicked off and immediately went on the attack. With the wind at their backs they looked to dominate field position. Medway defended the opening exchanges well. On 6 minutes with good field position Chichester kicked through. Stand in Fullback Alfie Orris gathered the ball and broke through the visitors kick chase line. He linked with Jordan Stubbington and Lewis Stimpson who exchanged passes for Jordan Stubbington to score the opening try. A very difficult conversion was missed. 5-0. Chichester soon came back and replied with a try of their own. Medway lost possession on the left and the visitors went wide. Medway were caught offside and as the referee played advantage Chichester cross kicked. They re-gathered the ball to score a well taken converted try. 5-7. The rest of the half was about Medway looking to deny Chichester the possession that they needed to make full use of the very windy conditions. Medway looked to retain the ball. They worked hard to do so going through phase after phase with both forwards and backs carrying and supporting thus preventing the visitors the opportunities to score. Medway’s reward for playing with patience and control into the wind was rewarded after 24 minutes. Numerous phases and short carries disrupted and narrowed the visitors defence and good attacking width saw Dan Harvey eventually score an unconverted try in the corner. 10-7. The rest of the first half was scoreless with Chichester dominating field position but solid defence from Medway preventing any further score.

The second half kicked off with the wind at Medway’s back and there was an air of expectancy but Chichester were not about to simply roll over. The visitors took the game to Medway and this was a very even affair. On 52 minutes Medway lock Jordan Stubbington was yellow carded. Chichester attacked the Medway line but stout goal line defence prevented the score. A Dan Harvey penalty on 55 minutes, just inside the Chichester half, for offside saw 14 man Medway increase their lead to 13-7. Kicking the penalty rather than go for field position showed how tight the match at that point was. With an hour of the game gone and just a single score separating the two teams this looked to be a winnable game for the visitors. They were battling hard and very much in the game. Good ball retention meant they were frustrating the home efforts. With 61 minutes gone Chichester were playing very well. They had a line out on the half way line. However the ball was overthrown and Harvey gathered the loose ball for Medway. He got in behind the Chichester defence offloading to Max Easton in support. He was stopped but quick ruck ball saw Timmerman carry off a short Petch pass. Again quick ruck ball then saw Garofalo, Harvey and Clement combine to create the space for Alfie Orris to score under the posts. Harvey converted and Medway were ahead 20-7. This score just seemed to open the game up. Chichester had been playing well and the game could have gone either way but it was Medway who were now starting to dominate. On 67 minutes Tom Beaumont and Michael Fankah stole the visitor’s ball and combined to set up a ruck inside the Chichester half. The backs moved the ball wide and Orris finished in the corner to secure the Medway try bonus point. The conversion was missed. 25-7. From the re-start Medway inexplicably conceded back to back penalties and Chichester made the most of it scoring an unconverted try from short range. 25-12. On 73 minutes Medway bounced back. Sean Marriott stole possession from Chichester. Billy Humphrey, on for the impressive Sandison, drove deep to the visitors line and Sam Garofalo fed Max Bullock who powered over from short range. Dan Harvey converted to make the score 32-12. Straight from the kick off Max Easton takes the ball in the air under pressure and feeds Max Bullock on Medway’s 10 metre line. Bullock gets on the outside of his marker and breaks the defensive line running hard. He gets away from the cover and steps inside the fullback to score a fine individual try under the posts. Harvey converted. 39-12. The final score of the game was a well worked line out which saw Humphrey and Easton combine for Jordan Stubbington to score an unconverted try. 44-12.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ We are delighted with the win especially with so many changes in the side. We always have tough games against Chichester and for an hour this game could have gone either way… we stuck to our plan and the boys were rewarded with a fine victory’. He added ‘The younger players like Max Bullock, John Sipawa, Jack Nickalls, Michael Fankah and Maik Timmerman are improving and we are creating some genuine depth in our squad’. Next week Medway travel to an improved Battersea Ironside team. The Medway team will be looking to maintain the push for promotion.

 

 

 

 

Guildford 26 Medway 43 (London 1 South) 30th January 2022

Medway travelled to Guildford on Saturday looking to maintain their good start to 2022. A windy but dry day saw the teams take to the field with Medway kicking off, the wind at their backs.

After the opening exchanges Medway found themselves with a scrum feed in their own 22m. The ball was won and Antony Clement carried into the home backs. The ball was recycled for Jack Johnson to kick into space. A good kick chase from Alfie Orris, Jack Johnson and Max Bullock saw the latter win the race to the ball and hack on. Bullock re-gathered the ball and offloaded out of the tackle to Johnson who went over for the try. Dan Harvey converted. A great start for the visitors with just 7 minutes gone. 0-7.

On 21 minutes Guildford failed to find touch from their own 22m. Dan Harvey and Alfie Orris moved the ball in field for Sean Marriott to attack up the middle. The ruck ball was fed to Orris off his wing who then carried into the defence. The ruck was once again won and Garofalo fed Jack Johnson. He attacked line beating 2 defenders then went round the cover defence to score near the posts. Harvey converted. 0-14. A great start.

Medway then suffered a blow when No 8 Jordan Stubbington was forced to leave the field. He was replaced by back up hooker Bill Humphrey.

Four minutes later Medway are on the attack again. A scrum on the right hand side is fed out wide left to Alfie Orris. He makes good ground stretching the home defence. The ruck is won and the forwards go through two more phases with carries from Petch, Clement and Harvey before Jack Johnson kicks into space behind the home defence. Sam Garofalo in support wins the race for the touchdown. Harvey converts. 0-21.

The re-start from Guildford, following the Garofalo try, did not go 10m. The resultant scrum saw Medway split the field. From the scrum the ball was fed to Alfie Orris in space who flies down the wing outpacing the cover defence to score in the corner and give Medway the try bonus point. Dan Harvey lands an excellent conversion to make the score 0-28.

Guildford looked to get back in the game winning back to back penalties at the breakdown They kicked for the corner but their attempts at the catch and drive were thwarted. The first half concluded with Medway in a super dominant position and the try bonus point in the bag.

The second half kicked off with Medway now playing into the strong breeze. A line out to Medway saw Guildford awarded a free kick and the home side go quick. A single pass into midfield sees the Guildford centre through a disorganised Medway defence to score the simplest of tries under the posts. 7-28.

From the re-start Guildford secure possession and attack down the right. A breakdown infringement from Medway sees’ Guildford tap and go and kick through. Sean Marriott is penalised for a tackle on the kicker and is given a yellow card and Guildford are awarded, correctly, a penalty try. 14-28.

With those two quick tries Guildford are back into the game with just 4 frenetic minutes of the second half gone.

Despite being down to 14 men the Medway pack were on top at the set piece. Bill Sandison, Richard Petch and Maik Timmerman dominating their counterparts. That dominance wins a penalty. Dan Harvey is successful with the kick. 14-31.

Just as it seemed Medway had weathered the Guildford storm a loose midfield pass was intercepted and Guildford are in again under the posts for another converted try. 21-31.

With Medway restored to their full complement they looked to re-establish control of the game. With the pack dominant at the scrum Medway kept the ball in, driving to win the penalty. A kick to the corner saw the initial line out catch and drive sacked. Medway then went through several phases with Mo Pangarker, Max Easton and Tom Beaumont prominent in attacking the home line. Eventually the home defence is narrowed and the ball fed wide. Accurate passing sees Dan Harvey score in the corner. He lands the conversion of his own try from the touchline. 21-38.

Guildford having been 28-0 at half time were showing real grit and determination to get something out of the game. With 66 minutes gone they were rewarded with their own try bonus point. The home side’s inside attacks were thwarted by Medway. Tom Beaumont, Michael Fankah and Antony Clement all making good tackles. Guildford then kicked wide and the bounce of the ball went their way for a well taken unconverted try in the corner. 26-38

The final score of this match went to the visitors on 75 minutes. Successive penalties were won at a scrum 10m out. Medway opt for the scrum re-set each time. With the scrum dominate Guildford could not stop the drive and good control from Billy Humphrey at the base saw him score the unconverted try to make the final score 26-43.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘ this was a classic tale of two halves…we were accurate clinical and totally dominated the first half but to Guildford’s credit they gave us a lesson with their second half efforts’ he added ‘our players lost focus and concentration triggered by the sharpness of Guildford however to learn this valuable lesson and still get the bonus point win is testament to our excellent first half performance’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medway 35 Farnham 15 (London 1 South) 22nd January 2022

Medway entertained Farnham RFC at Priestfields for the first time ever in this Division 1 league encounter. The match was played in front of a large crowd boosted by the club’s Volunteer Luncheon attendees.

The game kicked off in excellent playing conditions and Medway were soon on the score board after just 4 minutes. Good field position saw Medway pressure the visitors as they looked to clear. Antony Clement intercepted a loose kick then fed Jack Johnson who rounded the defence to score. Owen Church-Mills converted 7-0.

On 8 minutes a sharp looking Farnham team responded. Medway were penalised at a scrum and Farnham kicked in the corner. The initial attempts to score a catch and drive were thwarted but the visitors No 8 broke left to score a well taken converted try. 7-7.

The match entertained the crowd as both sides looked to play a high tempo expansive game. With 10 minutes gone it was Medway who went in front when the reliable boot of Owen Church-Mills punished a scrum infringement from the visitors. 10-7.

The lively Farnham team looked to come back and in doing so played some excellent rugby forcing Medway to defend and eventually concede an offside penalty after 32 minutes. 10-10.

Medway were struck a blow when influential lock Henry Kenny was forced to leave the field through injury. 18 year old Michael Fankah replacing him.

Despite the the last 6 minutes of the first half and the first 4 minutes of the second was to be deciding period of the game. Medway scored two tries and a penalty in quick succession to take control.

The first try, a brilliant individual effort, by Alfie Orris saw him break two tackle attempts in midfield then burst away to score near the posts which Owen Church-Mills converted. 17-10.

The second came from good work by Captain Tom Beaumont who broke left from a Medway Lineout near the visitors line and created space for Jack Johnson. He rounded the defence to add to his personal tally in the left corner. The try was unconverted.

The second half saw the visitors penalised at a scrum after just 4 minutes and Jack Johnson made no mistake with the ensuing kick. 25-10.

Owen Church-Mills was forced from the field with an ankle injury with Billy Humphrey replacing him.

On 48 minutes Farnham who continued to battle hard were rewarded with a penalty of their own for a deliberate knock on. Mo Pangarker saw yellow and Farnham punished the indiscretion with an unconverted try in the corner to make the score 25-15.

Despite the changes and being down to 14 men Medway retained possession well and were rewarded with a Penalty after a handling in the ruck offence from the visitors. Jack Johnson was successful 28-15.

The final score of the match which gave Medway the try bonus point came in the 68th minute. A penalty on the half way line saw a quick tap and go from Sam Garofalo. Medway then went through several phases narrowing the Farnham defence creating space out wide for man of the match Sean Marriott to score. Jack Johnson converted. 35-15.

Catch Taff Gwilliam said ‘this was a much tougher game than the scoreline suggests. Farnham are a good team. We picked up a few injuries and despite to having re-organise managed to secure the points’. He added ‘Farnham play a good brand of rugby and have a good spirit within their team. They will do well’.

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”.