Medway's U12s the Knights ended the season and their time in mini rugby with a very wet day out at the Aylesford festival. The format was two pools of 5 teams with the only winner from each progressing to the final. Medway were drawn in a tough pool consisting of Aylesford B, Blackheath, Gravesend and Ashford with the Knights playing them in that order. The Knights knew it was going to be hard work even before the driving wind and rain had been taken into account, yet 17 hardy lads turned up ready and willing and they all played in every game.
All season we have focused trying to start well and not conceding early tries with very mixed results. Today the team entered the pitch looking like drowned rats, most of them already filthy and they started brilliantly maybe we've found the secret at last. Just a minute into the match and after a wave of attacks Prop Harry Lockyer weaved his way over to open the scoring. A good catch and return from the restart followed by a quick ruck saw Hooker Sam Crean break down the blind side and feed Fly Half Lewis Hollidge who timed his pass well to put Centre Josh Butler away. Butler won the race to the corner to score. More quick hands for the 3rd try this time from Winger Jack Bloomfield who put No.8 Adam Sleiman into space and again the race to the corner was won. The first half scoring was completed with Lockyer getting his second crashing over from close in. 20 – 0 at half time. The second half was stopped short when Medway reached the 30 – 0 score line cut off. Another breakaway try for Sleiman and a half pitch break and score from Centre Josh Lamb who brilliantly saw and went through a gap in the defence. Final score 30 - 0.
Blackheath were next and Medway continued from where they left off , taking the game to Blackheath from the start and scoring after just 3mins, Centre Josh Lamb again making the break through the gap before putting away his Centre partner Josh Butler who finished the move. Both teams then cancelled each other out for the remainder of the first half and well into the second until Hollidge intercepted on the halfway line, side stepped the fullback and got to within 10m of the Blackheath line before being tackled. The Knights piled into the resulting ruck on the far right hand side of the pitch and quickly spun it wide allowing Butler to score in the far left hand corner, a quite brilliant try which gained applause from both sets fans and coaches alike. The Knights completed the scoring with another flowing move which saw the defence once again trying to get across to cover the quick hands which allowed Hollidge to throw the dummy and go through to score. Final score 15 - 0.
Gravesend started well against the Knights with both teams sharing possession but not really making ground until Second Row Tom Narborough broke through a couple of tackles and released No.8 Sleiman who accelerated away for his 3rd try of the day. The second try was quick to follow, Scrum Half Harry Meadows broke blind from back of the scrum and put Lamb away for his second of the day with a well-timed pass. The first half scoring was completed by wing Jack Bloomfield who showed a real turn of pace to get to the corner before the cover tackles. The second half started with a catch and drive from Prop Anthony Parish which saw him held up on the half way line. The forwards joined the maul and amazingly managed to push it and Anthony all the way down to and over the try line to score. Another blind side break from Meadows lead to the 5th try instead of the well-timed pass it was a well-timed dummy with Meadows going over himself this time. The 6th and final cut off try was another fine solo effort from Josh Lamb who returned the ball from the kick off all the way to the try line for his 3rd of the day. Final score 30 - 0.
The final group game against Ashford was the group decider with Medway needing a draw or better to reach the final. Having started every game on fire the Knights unfortunately just didn't get going in this one. Too much respect was given to the Ashford backs with the Knights waiting for them to come the defence rather than the defence getting up to put them under pressure. Even after holding one attempt up over the line the lesson wasn't learnt and the Ashford backs took advantage to score with the next attack. The knights did rally second half and took the game to Ashford but just could get the decisive break. The hands that had been excellent all day in the slippery conditions finally started to make mistakes with a few knock ons as the tiredness set in. Knowing a draw would be enough the lads gave it all they had but it wasn't to be. Final score 0 – 5.
Once again absolutely brilliant rugby played in awful conditions and all the boys were a credit to the club. 75 points scored and only 5 conceded. Won 3 and lost 1. A great way to finish the season and a fitting way to finish mini rugby. Roll on the 15 a side game next season.
The Knights: Sam Crean, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oscar Wells, Jacob Clayton, Adam Sleiman, Miles Eason, Joseph Van Vilsteren and Harry Lockyer
Medway’s U12s the Knights suffered heartbreak in the semi-final of the bowl after a narrow 3 tries to 2 defeat at the hands of Cranbrook. Despite being the smaller of the two sides physically Medway dominated territory and possession for large spells of the match. Medway have had problems with slow starts all season but not on this occasion, they never left the Cranbrook half for the first 10mins of the match. Great play by the forwards set up the backs for a number of attacking runs and on 3 separate occasions if the last pass went to hand it would have been a try. Whether it was the early morning start or glory of the try line beckoning we don’t know but players with usually great hands were spilling good passes or the final pass was behind the winger. Frustratingly with Cranbrooks first sustained attack at the end of the first half they managed to score using the big forwards to power up the middle of the pitch and eventually over the line.
After the Knights conceded possession from the kick off at the start of the second half, Cranbrook took full advantage to again drive over the Knights line and double their lead. As all season Medway never let their heads drop and started to play their fast attacking rugby again, this time no dropped balls and after a series of attacks centre Christopher Jarvis finished from close range. Sometimes players can try just too hard and after conceding 3 penalties in a row for infringements around the ruck Medway found themselves trying to hold up a bigger pack on their own line. Eventually the pressure told and Medway conceded again. With time running out Medway took a quick kick off and great chase forced a line out to the Knights deep in Cranbrook territory, a scrappy lineout was won and after two quick rucks and some great play by the backs, centre Josh Lamb was able to coast in to score in the corner. Despite finishing the stronger time ran out for the Knights and with it their cup hopes in a 15 – 10 defeat.
Sidcup beat Sittingbourne in the other semi to earn a place in the final which Cranbrook won convincingly, so Medway and our local friends Sittingbourne met in the third and fourth place play off.
Medway started well and looked dangerous with the ball in hand although the game was a bit stop / start and scrappy. All the early pressure was from Medway who apart from a couple of good Sittingbourne breaks spent most of the first half camped in the Sittingbourne last third. The Sittingbourne defence had held firm for most of the first half until a penalty just 7m out was taken quickly by scrum half Harry Meadows who fed fly half Lewis Hollidge who in turn drew the defence before passing to centre Josh Lamb who took a great line to power over for the only score of the half.
Medway continued to dominate in the second half and added further scores from centre Christopher Jarvis with a fine solo run, winger Jack Bloomfield who after two quick rucks received the ball out wide and after rounding the winger cut in to beat the cover tackles and finally prop Harry Lockyer who powered over from close range after several rucks and maul from the hard working forwards set him up.
After seeing the Cranbrook v Sidcup result the Knights were left thinking what could have been, but once again they should feel proud of the great rugby they played in both games. They are now looking forward along with all the squad players who didn’t make today to next week’s Aylesford Festival.
The Knights: Sam Crean, Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oscar Wells, Christopher Jarvis, Jacob Clayton, Adam Sleiman and Harry Lockyer
This Sunday the Knights had a good run out prior to the Kent Finals next week at the Westcombe Park Festival.
The first opponents were Tonbridge Juddians who were in good form, Medway’s forwards started well at the restarts and matched the big TJ pack at both the scrum and lineout. Where Tj’s gained the majority of their possession was at the breakdowns, which all too often they were to first and recycled the ball swiftly, from one such opportunity they moved the ball down the line for their centre to open the scoring, For the remainder of the half there were few clear chances as Medway defended well and began to ask a few questions of their own on the TJ back line. With half time approaching, TJ’s put up a high ball over the Medway back line and the ball bounced cruelly one way then the other, before popping up perfectly for the oncoming TJ’s player to go over for their second. Medway battled hard and competed gamely throughout the second half but were unable to break through the TJ’s defence and as the half wore on TJ’s added 3 further tries for a 0-25 win.
Medway’s next opponents Beckenham took the full brunt of Medway’s earlier defeat, the forwards once again were hungry for work, not only were they dominant at the restarts but all over the field, Medway won the majority of the rucks and gave the back line plenty of ball to apply pressure on the Beckenham back line. The pressure finally told when Joshua Lamb took a pass from fly half Lewis Hollidge, then looped wide around the Beckenham defence. As the full back came across to cover, he stepped inside him to go over and open the scoring. A few minutes later Medway added their second through Christopher Jarvis, who picked up the ball from Jean-Luc Carden, on one wing and looped wide around the Beckenham defence to score in the other corner. In the second half Medway added three unanswered tries, the first from Joshua Butler, who outpaced the last defender after a well-timed pass from Chris Jarvis. A few minutes later Scrum half released Jack Bloomfield to force his way over from close range before Joshua Lamb completed his hat trick with a great run, breaking two tackles and weaving though the Beckenham defence to complete the scoring 25-0
Next up were a Barbarian side who were made up of players from Sevenoaks, Old Colfs, Westcombe Park and Medway’s own Jean-Pascal Carden. Medway were quickly into their stride in this one, when Lewis Hollidge’s dummy was bought and he hit the gap in the Ba Ba defence to open the scoring, Joshua Butler added Medway’sthe second in a similar try to his first when Chris Jarvis released him to use his pace and score in the corner. Chris Jarvis then turned provider rather than supplier when he took a pass from Lewis Hollidge 5 yards from his own line, then sprinted away from the Ba Ba defence. The next try was a cracker, Jack Bloomfield weaved his way into the Ba Ba’s half before releasing Josh Butler down the wing as the cover tackler came across, he popped a pass to outside centre Chris Jarvis who did the rest. Harry Meadows added a fifth try when he picked the ball up from the back of a ruck just outside the Ba Ba’s line and the scoring was completed when Chris Jarvis drew his man after a fine run and freed Joshua Lamb to go over in the corner. 30-0
Medway’s final group game was against local rivals Maidstone, in a tight first half, The Knights forwards were in fine form once again, competing for everything and not letting Maidstone settle, while the back link play was at times excellent and finally lead to the first try, when Chris Jarvis made good ground before freeing Josh Butler who sprinted away to go over in the corner. In the second half Medway added a further two scores, the first a determined run from Joshua Lamb, who weaved his way through the Maidstone defence and powered over to score, before Chris Jarvis rounded off the scoring in this one with a looping run around the Maidstone back line. 15-0
Medway’s efforts set them up for a plate Semi Final against the current Kent Champions Old Elthamians. This was a very close encounter of few clear cut chances and no score in the first half, with both sides doggedly determined and tackling resolutely throughout. In the second half Old Elthamians increased the pressure on the Medway back line. Medway defended their line well for the majority of the half but one short lapse of concentration when a penalty was awarded against them, saw the OE’s sprint clear to go over for the only score of the game. 0-5
On the day 3 wins 2 losses, with 14 tries for and only 6 against.
The Knights: Aidan Wolfe, Reuben Murdoch-North, Lewis Hollidge, Tom Narborough, Joshua Lamb, Josh Butler, Jack Bloomfield, Sam Crean, Oliver Rees, Oscar Wells, Adam Sleiman, Anthony Parish, Christopher Jarvis, Harry Meadows, Jacob Clayton, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Jamie Wyndham and Jean Pascal Carden.
Along with 500 other players and members from Medway RFC, the U12’s transformed from Knights into various Aliens and other Sci-Fi characters for the 2012 Easter Tour to California Cliffs Great Yarmouth.
Despite both Friday and Saturday nights Kangaroo Courts and the partying that followed, all 23 players made the Sunday Morning trip to Holt RFC to face the hosts and Peterborough RFC in a round robin tournament playing both teams twice.
The Knights decided to play all 23 Aliens in each game with 10 subs coming on at half time. Even before the red and yellow face paint was applied some of the Aliens were looking decidedly worse for ware and no amount of space juice was going to help.
The first match was against hosts Holt RFC and where the space juice failed the conceding of an early converted try soon woke the Medway Aliens up. They came back well and were unlucky to have a try disallowed with the ref calling it held up. With the changes made for the second half the Knights dominated the game with Holt only getting out of their half with a restart after centre Josh Lamb had scored an unconverted try to make the score 7 – 5. Despite crossing the Holt try line a further 3 times the Knights were unable to add to their tally with all 3 tries being disallowed for various reasons.
In their second match they faced very good Peterborough team and looked to have done well to hold them to one converted try in the first half until they conceded a penalty try for tackling a player into touch by grabbing his shirt! Again the changes were made at half time and the Knights had the majority of possession and territory but couldn’t get past the great defence of Peterborough. Final score 14 – 0.
The Knights second match against Holt ended in a 7 all draw. The Knights took the lead through fly half Lewis Hollidge who pounced on a loose ball over the try line after having earlier efforts disallowed and was able to convert his own try. Holt fought back well to equalise late in the second half.
In their final match against Peterborough the Knights put on a brave defensive performance in the first half to stop them scoring, and with the subs on at half time applied all the pressure in the second half but again failed to convert it to points. The game ended as a scoreless draw.
4 tough games with some very good rugby played but most pleasingly for the Medway coaches and spectators was the superb discipline of the 23 Aliens on show. With 6 disallowed tries and a penalty try given against them for a shirt pull, it would have been easy for one or more of them to comment or complain to the ref but not one Alien said a word despite their frustrations which was commendable. A great Easter weekend was had by all (what goes on tour stays on tour Harry).
The Aliens beamed down were:
Slimey Sam Crean, Beam me up Jack Bloomfield, Josh Jabba Butler, Jean Pascal C3PO Carden, Jean Luc C2PO Carden, Mattias C1PO Carden, Lewis Skywalker Hollidge, Joshua Lightyear Lamb, Harry Tu Tu Meadows, Tom Nanu Nanu Narborough, Anthony Pluto Parish, Oscar Orson Wells, Christopher Jupiter Jarvis, Adam Sci-Fi Sleiman, Harry Buzz Lockyer, Ethan Ghostbuster Green, Taylor Alien Ali, Reuben Murdock-North Star, Aidan Wookie Wolfe, Jamie Jetson Wyndham, Joseph Van Venus Vilsteren, Cosmic Karl O’Grady and Alfie Android Pattenden.
On Sunday the Medway Knights took a short drive down the Bluebell Hill, to Aylesford RFC to compete in the qualifying rounds of the Kent Mini Rugby U12 Festival, for the final time as a Mini’s squad.
This year the format for the Qualifiers was completely different to previous years, with no quarter Finals. Instead from a group of seven teams, Medway played four matches and were required to finish in the top four teams of their group, to secure a Semi Final place in one of the four competitions, at the Kent Finals Day on the 22nd April.
In their opening tie, the Knights soon found themselves trailing and needing to chase the game after a scrappy start to the match. From the initial kick off, indecision from two Knights players allowed the ball to bounce awkwardly and drift out of play, just short of the Medway line. From the resulting line out a Medway knock on, surrendered possession to Blackheath and they took full advantage from the resulting scrum, moving the ball through the hands, before their centre broke three tackles to go over in the corner. To their credit the Knights reacted well, excellent work upfront at every breakdown, secured the backs more than their fair share of ball as Medway pushed on to try and level things, but the Blackheath defence held firm until half time. The second half began in a similar vein with Medway applying plenty of pressure upfront and the backs probing for gaps to try and breach the Blackheath defence. From one such attack the second try came for Blackheath, as Medway moved the ball out from the back of their scrum, their centre timed his run well to intercept the pass to break clear and double their lead. This would be the last try conceded by the Knights on the day. Once again Medway dug in and poured forward, pressuring the Blackheath defence and they finally got some reward for their endeavours, when outside centre Chris Jarvis was released out wide and he weaved his way through two challenges before forcing his way over through a last ditch tackle on the Blackheath line. That proved to be the final attack of the match. Final score 10-5.
The following match was 15 minutes of hard graft for Medway, as they worked extremely hard to keep a very strong and determined, Dartfordians side at bay, who battled hard to cross over the Medway line. It was a match of few clear chances as each side cancelled out the other. In the second half Dartfordians were camped in the Medway half for much of the half and did finally get over the line, fortunately for Medway a superb last ditch tackle ensured the ball was not grounded. Final score 0-0.
With two matches remaining Medway had it all to do, to have any hope of progressing to the finals, the Knights responded brilliantly, playing some fine rugby against a well drilled and efficient Maidstone. Matches between these two sides are always close and this one was no exception. The tempo of Medway’s play in this match was much improved from the off, they finally got the ball moving through the backs well and with their direct aggressive running, it made life difficult for Maidstone. The forwards once against won a good deal of the scrums and line outs and were first to the majority of the breakdowns in the first half, which built the momentum. With half time approaching, from a breakdown just inside the Maidstone half, scrum half Harry Meadows spun the ball out from the back of the ruck to free Christopher Jarvis, who turned on the burner and weaved his way through the Maidstone defence to open the scoring. The second half was great to watch with both sides looking to move the ball through the hands, the work rate from the Knights pack was excellent once again, doggedly defending every breakdown to ensure they did not concede another try. As the half wore on, Medway edged closer to the Maidstone line, finally breaking through, when Adam Sleiman took on and broke free from his tackler and headed for the line, before being halted five yards from the Maidstone line, fortunately for Medway, he was not held and he managed to get back to his feet and force his way over to double the lead and secure the win for the Knights. 10-0
In their final qualifier Medway faced Canterbury, knowing a win, would guarantee a Semi Final place in one of the competitions. Medway started well and were in front early on, excellent fast rucking from the forwards, and quick hands out to Christopher Jarvis with room to go through the gears, saw him jink his way past three defenders to open the scoring. Canterbury came back well and for the last three minutes of the half it was backs against the wall stuff for the Knights, who resolutely defended their line, until the half time whistle. In the second half Medway added two cracking scores, showing the type of direct running and slick passing rugby, their coaches and supporters love to see. The first came from a great scrum by Medway, Harry Meadows released fly half Lewis Hollidge who drew his man in and delivered a fine pass to the charging Joshua Lamb who crashed his way over in the corner. The final try of the match went one better still, after several phases Medway once again found themselves deep in the Canterbury half, from the back of the ruck on one side of the pitch they moved the ball along the line through the hands, gathering momentum as they went until the last man was drawn in by Joshua Lamb who delivered an inch perfect pass for Josh Butler to step inside the full back and dive over in the corner. Superb stuff. Final score 15-0.
Their efforts ensured another day out for Medway’s Knights at the Kent Mini’s Finals, this year a Semi Final place in the Bowl Competition.
The Knights: Sam Crean, Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oscar Wells, Christopher Jarvis, Jacob Clayton, Adam Sleiman and Harry Lockyer
An away fixture with Whitstable and hosts Sittingbourne gave Medway U12’s their final run out before the Kent Qualifiers next weekend.
The Knights v Sittingbourne is always a hard fought match which over the years has usually resulted in a close score. In their first fixture today, Sittingbourne were off to a flyer, when direct from the kick off the Sittingbourne player took the high ball well, before running powerfully and directly three quarters of the pitch though several Medway players to open the scoring. The Medway boys determined and meaningful reaction to this setback, was excellent. The forwards got a grip on things at the breakdown and Medway backs began to move the ball well through the hands and the pressure mounted on the Sittingbourne defence. Just before half time, from a scrum close to the Sittingbourne line, fly half Lewis Hollidge, missed inside centre Josh Lamb and Chris Jarvis took the pass at full pace to break the first tackle from his opposition centre, but was held up by the covering full back right on the line. With their tails up, Medway started the second half strongly and finally managed to break through the Sittingbourne defence, when after several phases of play, the ball was spun out wide once again to Chris Jarvis, who outsprinted the Sittingbourne defence to go over in the corner. Soon after Medway added a second, which came from a scrum, deep in the Sittingbourne half. Scrum half Harry Meadows, set free Lewis Hollidge on the blind side who in turn released, inside centre Joshua Lamb, who crashed his way over to score. The final try of the game came from a superb solo run from deep by Mattias Carden, who jinked and weaved his way through 4 or 5 tackles before going over. Final score 5-15 to Medway.
Next up were a very able Whitstable side who battled well throughout the first half, with a well drilled pack, they won their fair share of possession from the scrum and line outs and made good ground through their backs. As the half wore on Medway took a grip on the match and from one of their attacks, the first try of the match came when Joshua Lamb broke clear deep into the Whitstable half, as the Whitstable defence struggled to halt his run, the Medway players drove him on up the pitch, before he once again broke clear to score in the corner. In the second half Medway pushed on and played some great rugby, their second try came after another determined run from Lamb was halted with a high tackle. From the resulting penalty, Medway shipped the ball down the line for Chris Jarvis to go over in the corner. From the next kick off Chris Jarvis took the high ball and ran the length of the pitch, before drawing the last defender and offloading an unselfish pass to wing Josh Butler who was in support to score. Two further tries, a second for Josh Butler and a third of the day for Jarvis completed the scoring in this one. Medway winning 25-0.
This left enough time for Medway once again to face Sittingbourne. in a game of fewer clear chances, Medway finally opened the scoring before half time, when prop Oscar Wells picked up the ball from the back of the ruck and rolled off his tackler to open the scoring. In the second half Medway added a second though Josh Lamb, before Sittingbourne pinned Medway back and got there reward with a score in the corner. As the game came to a close, Medway responded well and mounted a sustained attack in the Sittingbourne half, which culminated in the final try of the day through scrum half Harry Meadows who pounced from close range to score. Final score was 5 – 15 in favour of Medway.
Some really good rugby was played by all 3 sides, players and coaches alike are now looking forward to next weekends qualifiers.
The Knights: Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oscar Wells, , Christopher Jarvis, Jacob Clayton, Adam Sleiman and Harry Lockyer.
Medway U12’s, The Knights, made the short trip to Gravesend to take on both the hosts and Upminster. With 23 players it was decided to play mixed A / B squads against both teams.
First up were hosts Gravesend who started the stronger and looked like the team most likely to score for most of the first half and only a few big tackles stopped them from doing so. As the half went on Medway came more into the game but again the home defence stood strong making the crucial tackles on any breaks made. In the second half and after having the upper hand in the first, the home side looked to take advantage of the slope. Despite the majority of possession and territory going against the Knights, they were able to hold out until the last minute of the game when Gravesend final crossed to score against the dogged defence. To everyone bar the Knights players it looked like it would be the decisive score, but they had other ideas and after a great chase and tackle from the restart the Knights turned over the ball in the resulting ruck. Two quick attacks down the blind side ended with centre Ethan Green going over to get the equalizing and final score. The end result being a 5 all draw.
Next up were Upminster and the Knights knew they would be up against it in the first half going up the slope. They managed to keep Upminster down to 2 scores at half time although to be honest but for a few handling errors it could have been more. The Knights were confident of pulling it back in the second half but two missed tackles out wide and a well recycled ball saw Upminster add a third try right at the start of the second half. To their credit the Knights are a team who refuse to give up or know when they are beaten and from the restart went onto the attack, after a series of rucks and mauls to gain ground the backs finally got some decent ball to work with finishing with winger Christopher Jarvis cutting in and breaking the cover tackle to score. From the Upminster restart Medway had a clean catch in their 22 followed by a very quick ruck to release the backs. Again with fast ball and going forward the backs showed exactly what they are capable of, quick hands to the inside centre Sam Crean who made good ground getting up over the halfway line before releasing outside centre Josh Lamb with a perfectly timed pass. The timing of the pass put Josh through the gap before his pace and determination did the rest with him scoring in the corner. Medway continued to attack and pushed Upminster all the way to the final whistle again a few dropped passes making all the difference. Final score was a 15 to 10 defeat.
Despite the great comeback and excellent tries scored by the Knights, for the majority of the game they were second to the rucks and mauls. Hopefully the lessons will be learnt from the game. When they did match Upminster for speed upfront it was a very even game but Medway need to keep that level of performance going for much longer periods of the game.
The Knights squad were: Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Taylor Ali, Oscar Wells, Aidan Wolfe, Christopher Jarvis, Jamie Wyndham, Jacob Clayton, Joseph Van Vilsteren, Ethan Green, Alfie Pattenden, Karl O’Grady and Harry Lockyer.
Silverware for Medway RFC U12’s B Squad.
Medway U12’s The Knights B squad entered the Beccehamians B festival on 04.03.2012. The B squad travelled with all but one of the B team players and were supported by members of the A squad who were used to make up numbers as subs. The players faced some very harsh conditions, so much so that the constant wind and rain eventually brought the festival to a premature end with the pitches becoming unplayable and all teams losing players to the wet and cold.
Despite the nasty weather all the teams played to a high standard and the handling mistakes were relatively few for the poor conditions. Medway’s now customary slow start surfaced again against first opponents Hastings, conceding an early try but vastly improving after that to deny Hastings anymore scores but unfortunately unable to add a score themselves.
The Knights second match was against Old Colfeians and Medway were the team to make the better start. After both teams had enjoyed short spells of territory and possession Old Colfs were denied a scoring chance after a scrum 5m out was turned over and from the resulting break away Medway won a ruck on the half way line which No.8 Jamie Wyndham attacked down the blindside breaking the covering tackle and racing away to score. A second try was added by fullback Mattias Carden again breaking through from the half way line after a great pick up from a through kick and fine solo run. Old Colfs played like a different team in the second half quickly scoring two tries of their own to equalize and Medway had to put in a great defensive performance to keep the scores level.
In Medway’s next and ultimately last match against Dartfordians the improvements continued. As the weather worsened the Knights played their best rugby of the day, taking the lead after prop Harry Lockyear drove over from 5 yards out to score his first ever try for Medway. Darts equalized before half time and took the lead late into the second half only for fly half Sam Crean to equalize with minutes to go after a good steady scrum allowed Sam to take the ball at pace from the scrum half to go over in the corner. Medway sealed the win with the last play of the day withtry hungry prop Harry getting his second ever try this time breaking through tackles with great strength from 10m out.
With the weather continuing to worsen and the pitch becoming waterlogged, it was decided not to play the final group game between Medway and Sevenoaks and call it a draw.
The results meant Medway finished second in the group and would have played a plate final against Old Caterhamians but with pitches unplayable and the teams equal on results and tries the plate was shared.
A long day out (especially after some of the teams vehicles had to be towed of the pitches by 4 by 4’s) and awful weather but the lads played well and thoroughly enjoyed the day in the mud.
The Squad was: Ethan Green, Jean Luc Carden, Jean Pascal Carden, Karl O'Grady, Aidan Wolfe, Kyle Struthers, Harry Lockyear, Jamie Wyndham and Taylor Ali. The Subs were: Anthony Parish, Tom Narborough, Lewis Hollidge, Mattias Carden, Josh Lamb, Josh Butler, Oscar Wells, Jacob Clayton and Sam Crean.
With another late change to the fixtures Medway U12’s The Knights were down to 15 regulars and 1 brand new player for the away trip to Edenbridge.
After a joint warm up and training session it was agreed to play a 15 a side training game for 15mins and then a normal match with 12min halves.
Medway had a new player Taylor turn up and although he hadn’t played except for one or two games at school, found himself coming on into the outside centre position after a reshuffle due to an injury to The Knights No.8 just minutes into the first match. Despite his inexperience he had a great debut tackling well in both matches and following the advice of the more experienced players about what position he should take up in defence and attack. Both sides had coaches on the pitch during the training match for advice but it was played with all the speed and aggression of a normal match. Edenbridge had most of the early possession but were unable to make the telling break, as the match went on Medway gained in confidence and with it came more possession and territory but again were unable to make the final ball count. Into the final minute it was still 0-0 and with Edenbridge attacking Medway’s try line it looked like the home side would score until a great turnover at a ruck just 2m out allowed the Knights to get the clearance kick in. Edenbridge won the resulting line out deep in their half but Medway were up quick enough to stop any clearance kick and flanker Oscar was hand to rip the ball in the tackle and go over the line. There was time for the restart but not time for Edenbridge to come back. Final result was a 5 – 0 win for the Knights.
The second match mirrored the first with Edenbridge dominating possession and territory, but Medway with some brave defending held out until the final minute of the first half when after sustained pressure Edenbridge were able to drive a maul over the line to score. To the Knights credit they were straight onto the attack from the restart and put together their own brief spell of pressure. Edenbridge looked like clearing the ball after winning a scrum from 5m out, but wing Mattias was up quick to intercept from the centre and force his way over despite the cover tackle. All level at half time but a tiring Medway side knew it was going to take a brave defencive performance to hold out. Edenbridge had all of the possession and territory for the whole of the second half. Numerous last ditch tackles and even players being held up over the line was just enough to keep the hosts from scoring again. The ref called last play with a line out to Medway 7m from their own line, Edenbridge won the line out and attacked again but two great tackles and a fast ruck turned the ball over. Medway kicked up field to clear from the ruck and with a great chase turned the ball over in the Edenbridge half. Despite it being their one and only scoring chance of the second half with a 3 man overlap our prop decided enough was enough and kicked the ball 30m into touch like they do on the telly! So the game ended fairly as a 5 all draw.
With a few key players missing, a new player and players playing new roles the boys really did perform very well.
The Knights squad were : Oliver (prop), Jack (centre), Josh B (fullback / No.8), Jean Pascal (hooker), Jean Luc (wing), Mattias (wing), Lewis (fly half), Joshua L (No.8 / fullback), Harry M (scrum half), Tom (second row), Adam (No.8), Oscar (flanker / second row), Aidan (second row), Jacob (flanker / centre), Taylor (centre) and Harry L (prop / second row).
Following a forced three week layoff due to the extreme weather, Medway’s Knights were itching to get back into the action and got their chance in an away fixture at Old Colfeians.
As both squads had around 20 available players and were unable to field both A and B sides, it was decided the teams would play one long match with 4 quarters enabling the coaches to give all players good game time.
Both teams began the match with their A teams, Colfs started strongly winning a high percentage of the scrums and early breakdowns and Medway as not uncommon this year started slowly. Showing a bit of inexperience in the backs Medway’s centres and wing were drawn into the centre of the field and an intelligent long pass gave Colfs a two man overlap which they scored from. Medway realised they were in a match and upped their game but only after conceding a very similar try to the first. With a quick talk in the first break the Knights to their credit addressed the defensive problem and pulled back two tries of their own as they began to settle down. Two fine solo efforts from scrum half Harry Meadows who threw a dummy at the back of a scrum just inside the opposition half and won the race to the corner and from No.8 Jamie Wyndham who burst through the defence from a penalty move 10m out. Half time score 10 all.
It was déjà vu at the start of the second half with two tries in quick succession for the hosts before Medway got going. It wasn’t until the final minute of the third quarter that the Knights looked like scoring. After a good kick and chase followed by aggressive rucking, Medway were unlucky not to score in the corner after the ball was knocked on when going over the line. The ref told the players that the resulting scrum would be the last play of the quarter and in an awesome effort a pack that had been struggling most of the day drove the hosts back for the ball to go lose and allow Meadows to pounce for his second try.
With both sides tiring the final quarter was always likely to have a few tries in it. Medway although 5 points down were still on a high after the finish to the last quarter and started with two quick tries, both good solo finishes from wings Christopher Jarvis and Mattias Carden after fine build up play from backs and forwards. Old Colfeians then scored a bizarre try to level the match when the Medway winger left the field to give him an unopposed run in because he thought Medway had 3 wingers on the pitch! It was very honest of him but unfortunately a mistake. Medway did have 3 wingers on the pitch but one of them was playing fly half due to injuries! It was now end to end stuff with Medway regaining the lead through centre Sam Crean who finished a good period of play breaking through with a crash ball to score. Old Colfs levelled again before the final try went to Medway with winger Jean Luc Carden beating the last defender after some fine handling left him with a one on one in the corner.
A great morning’s rugby played in the right spirit with both sides hopefully gaining from the experience. The next time these sides will meet will be in a very tough qualifying group in the Kent Cup. To be honest The Knights were stronger with the mixed A B teams but Colfs had the better A team results so it will be very close again I’m sure.
The Knights squad were : Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Adam Sleiman, Oscar Wells, Aidan Wolfe, Miles Eason, Christopher Jarvis, Jamie Wyndham, Jacob Clayton, Joseph Van Vilsteren and Harry Lockyer.
Following last Sundays defeat at the hands of TJ’s A string, the Knights were looking to get straight back to winning ways in another away fixture with local rivals Aylesford. Recent fixtures between these two sides have been close, hard fought affairs and todays matches were no different.
In a game of seldom few clear cut chances, defences ruled the day in the A team fixture. Throughout the first half both sides enjoyed spells of good pressure, making good ground and threatening the opposition line, but neither side were able to turn their pressure into points, due to not being able to find the killer pass in the last few yards to break the last line of defence to get over. In the second half Medway moved the ball well and stretched the Aylesford defence, with a long spell of possession, as the game wore on Aylesford were forced to kick from deep on several occasions to clear their lines and it was from one of these kicks, that Medway finally managed to break the deadlock when full back Josh Butler, took the high ball and raced away down the wing, before rounding the Aylesford full back to score in the corner. Aylesford came back well but were unable to penetrate the Medway defence. Final score 0-5.
In the following A/B match, all the tries came in the first half. Aylesford scored first, when their player broke off the back of a maul 10 yards out, in spite of two Medway defenders challenging well on their line, the referee adjudged the ball was over the line. Medway were not behind for long, from good rucking at the breakdown, scrum half Josh Lamb broke clear in his own half, his pass sent Mattias Carden away on a fine mazy run, which was too hot for the Aylesford defence and levelled the scores. Minutes later Medway were back on the attack and in the Aylesford half, this time Joshua Lamb chose to go it alone from the back of the scrum and with a three man overlap outside him, he stepped inside the last defender to score the winning try. Final score 5-10.
There was still time for a short 10 minute game for the A sides. All of the match was spent in the Medway half and in spite of Aylesford’s best efforts to break through, time and time again, every Medway player to a man was there tackling rucking and generally throwing themselves in the way to thwart every attack and ensure they did not concede a try. Final score 0-0.
As expected a hard mornings rugby against a strong Aylesford Squad but managing to go undefeated after last weeks reversals was a great result for the players. Not to much shown in attack this week, bar two or three moments of brilliance but a teriffic defensive performance from all the players. Its getting harder to see the difference between the A and B performances which again is testiment to the spirit and skill all the players are starting to show.
The Knights squad were : Oliver Rees, Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Adam Sleiman, Oscar Wells, Aidan Wolfe, Miles Eason, Karl O’Grady, Matthew Phillips and Harry Lockyer.
The Knights managed to take 22 players to Tonbridge Juddians after the fixture was rescheduled from home to away during the week at the request of TJ’s and for which the TJ’s coaches thanked both parents and players. With only the one squad the Knights stuck to a mixed A / B squad for all 3 matches, the hosts were able to field 3 teams an A, B and C.
First up for the Knights were TJ’s B squad who caught the travelling side cold and quickly scored 2 unanswered tries. Medway were to slow to react to the loose ball and were guilty of getting drawn in towards the break downs allowing the space out wide for the TJ’s fast centres and wingers to take advantage. Medway did recover and came back into the match towards the end of the first half. Their one spell of pressure was enough to get a try back before the break with second row Tom Narborough scoring from close in after a number of attempts were held up just short. Despite the half time warning from the coaches about getting drawn in, the Knights did just that at the start of the second half and conceded a third try. To the players credit Medway never looked a beaten side and started to play the sort of fast flowing good handling rugby we know they are capable of. After a number of good attacks the Knights earned a scrum 10m out from were centre Josh Lamb was able to break through to score after a well-timed pass and good line of running. A good clean catch from the re-start followed by a quickly set up maul set the backs away. With good straight running and well-timed passes winger Jack Bloomfield was given the time and space to finish well in the corner and deservedly level the match 15 all.
Despite the warning from the first match, the Knights unbelievably started even worse against TJ’s C squad this time going 3 tries to nil down within the first 5mins. Missed tackles and some great play from Tonbridge being the main reasons but again the Knights refused to let their heads drop. After a spell of pressure on the TJ’s line the Knights had the vision to get the ball wide allowing outside centre Lewis Hollidge to score on the outside of the TJ’s winger. Shortly after the re-start a great handling move ended with fullback Josh Butler being held up inches short of the line before Hollidge gathered the ball to dive over for his second. The half ended with the Knights 3 tries to 2 down but with their heads up. The second half saw the Knights continue the great rugby. With good fast rucking from the forwards allowing quick ball for the backs and giving them the chance exploit the space created. This fine play resulted in two more tries coming from fly half Mattias Carden and fullback Butler. Tonbridge did rally and spent the last minute of the game on the Knights try line with great defence keeping them out until the final whistle went when the ball was held up over the line. A great come back for a 20 – 15 win.
Their final match against the TJ’s A squad turned into a very one sided game in favour of the hosts. In a previous write up I described them as probably one of the best sides in Kent and nothing today changed that opinion. Man for man they are a head taller and a few inches wider than the Medway players but take nothing away from them they also play great rugby. Medway fought bravely in the first half and had a few good attacking plays. They were able to limit the hosts to 3 tries which is no mean feat. As the Knights tired in the second half the Tonbridge players realised Medway had no answer if the ball was fed wide quickly and ran in a further 5 unanswered tries. Despite being a big side TJ’s also have real skill and pace throughout the team. With good technic Medway have turned over bigger teams upfront and in the loose, not today though, TJ’s dominated possession and used it extremely well.
The players earned praise from the Ref and the TJ’s coach for never giving up and they actually finished the game with their best spell of the match. The Knights did themselves proud and learned a great deal from all 3 matches today no more so than the last. Tackles that were missed against the bigger players at the start of the game weren’t missed at the end which goes to show the spirit and lessons learnt by the Knights.
The Knights squad was: Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Alfie Pattenden, Adam Sleiman, Joseph Van Vilsteren, Oscar Wells, Aidan Wolfe, Jamie Wyndham, Miles Eason, Karl O’Grady and Harry Lockyer.
The Knights welcomed both Blackheath and Beckenham to Priestfields for the traditional New Year’s Cup which is contested between the 3 sides. Each age group from U7’s through to U12’s plays a round robin tournament with the results for each age going towards the overall tally to decide which club wins the cup. The cup competition would be played between the A squads with the B or A/B teams playing just as competitive friendlies afterwards.
First up in the Cup were Blackheath A’s. Despite early pressure from Blackheath the Knights defended bravely and eventually broke out of their half after turning over a scrum just 5m from their own line. Playing against a bigger set of forwards and struggling for clean possession from set pieces the backs knew they had to make the most of the scrum won just 10m from their opponents try line and with centre Josh Lamb taking a crash ball at pace and with a great line they did just that as Josh broke through to score. As good sides always do Blackheath came straight back at the Knights and levelled the scores before half time. Going down the slope second half and with the bigger forwards winning most of the possession Blackheath made both count to take the lead shortly after the break. This time it was Medway’s turn to come back and although set piece ball was hard to come by, the rucks were a different matter as the Knights pack won pretty much any ball that went to ground. With a bit more possession the Knights applied the pressure, Blackheath held up a number of attacks over their own line and looked like they were going to deny Medway a score until No.8 Adam Sleiman and Flyhalf Lewis Hollidge jointly charged a clearance kick down for Second Row Oliver Rees to dive onto the loose ball to score and level the match. After a couple more Blackheath attacks the full time whistle went with the game a deserved draw 10 – 10 .
The Knights second Cup match against Beckenham A was similar to the first match in the respect that Beckenham’s bigger forwards won the majority of set piece ball and Medway were better in the loose but out wide it was totally different. Given time and space winger Jack Bloomfield scored a hat trick of tries in the first half finishing two good handling moves from the backs and a fine individual try. Going down the slope in the second half the Medway forwards decided to get in on the scoring act. Firstly with a blind side break from the half way line and sprint to score in the corner from second row Tom Narborough followed by tries from No.8 Slieman and hooker Sam Crean both showing good support play to finish attacking plays. The final score being 30 – 0 win for the Knights.
The cup result was decided with the Blackheath v Beckenham match which Blackheath won 4 tries to 1 meaning Medway topped the group with a better try difference.
Medway’s B squad was made up of 10 B team players and 3 A team to make up the numbers.
They had a great start against a mixed A B squad from Blackheath going 3 tries to 1 up by half time through a brace from fullback Christopher Jarvis and a fine solo try from centre Jack Bloomfield early on in the match. Blackheath strengthened their team for the second half and dominated the match scoring 5 unanswered tries to win the game 30 – 15 but the Medway lads had performed very well.
To their credit even after conceding an early try against Beckenham’s A team, the Knights didn’t let their heads drop and taking the positives from the first half performance in the last game soon got on level terms through No.8 Jamie Wyndham breaking the tackle to score from close range. From the restart the ball was caught clean and after going through two sets of hands found its way to Wyndham who was in support on the wing, after a turn of pace and good side step he crossed for his second. Beckenham soon levelled the scores before Wyndham completed his hat trick to give Medway the lead at the break. With great tackling and rucking Medway dominated the game in the second half and managed to double their tally with a further 2 scores from Wyndham (5 tries for the No.8 in a single match he was turning up everywhere) and a second of the day for our No.8 now turned fullback Adam Sleiman.
Blackheath were the club that won the overall Cup but it was a great start to the new year with the A team deservedly winning the U12 section of the cup and the B team putting in two great performances. The 25 players for Medway Knights U12’s were:
Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Alfie Pattenden, Oliver Rees, Adam Sleiman, Kyle Struthers, Joseph Van Vilsteren, Oscar Wells, Aidan Wolfe, Jamie Wyndham, Miles Eason, Sam Lockett, Harry Henbest and Harry Lockyer.
21 Knights braved the conditions to welcome Bromley to Medway on a blustery, wet and windy Sunday morning. Bromley had enough for one side with subs and agreed to play two games against the Knights. The Knights decided to play both games using all the players and with a mixed ability squad it gave the coaches the chance to play players in different positions and give valuable game time to some of the more inexperienced players. One such player was Harry Henbest who made his debut playing in both games up front in the forwards. He had an impressive morning and only looked out of place because he was the smallest forward on the pitch, he certainly got stuck in.
The Knights made a great start to the first game playing some good open rugby. An impressive midfield break from the backs took the Knights up into Bromley’s 22 and after two more attacks through the hands of the backs, Hooker Sam Crean was there in support to finish the move and score the first try. Bromley hit back just before half time with some good play of their own to level the score. As the weather worsened in the second half the bigger Bromley pack took control and bossed the game adding a further 2 scores from fine driving moves making the final score 15 – 5 in favour of Bromley.
The Knights were really up against it in the second match, after being dominated in the loose by the bigger pack in the first match and losing 2 of their bigger forwards to injuries it didn’t bode well. To their credit the Knights took on the advice from their coaches who despite the conditions asked them to play a faster rucking and attacking game to try and nullify the Bromley pack. Right from the start the Knights upped the pace and had the upper hand for the whole of the first half. Sam Crean got his second try of the day and the Knights could have added more. As it was 5 nil was a great score at half time.
Bromley came back strongly in the second half and had a lot more success by keeping the ball of the floor with mauls and close driving runs, if the ball did go down the Knights were awesome in the rucks and turned over plenty of ball. The difference being this time the Bromley defence stopped the Medway backs without the big yards being made. Eventually tiredness took its toll and a couple of dropped passes and missed tackles meant Bromley got the 2 tries they needed to win the match 10 – 5.
The Knights didn’t get the results they wanted but put in a great performance and gained valuable experience. Some of the attacking and especially the rucking was very good and a joy to watch.
The Knights squad was: Harry Lockyer, Josh Butler, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Josh Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Oscar Wells, Anthony Parish, Jack Bloomfield, Matthew Phillips, Adam Sleiman, Kyle Struthers , Mattias Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Jean Pascal Carden, Harry Henbest, Karl O’Grady and Alfie Pattenden.
A small Knights squad made the trip to West Wickham to face hosts Beccehamian’s and Old Caterhamians. Due to various illnesses and absences the usually strong travelling squad was down in numbers by about 10 players, meaning the coaches had no selection headaches with all 15 players playing in one mixed A/B team. After a good warm up and training session it was agreed to play 3 short sided fixtures.
First up were the hosts A team and despite the thorough warm up and training session the Knights got off to exactly the same slow start which has plagued the team over the last few weeks. Within a minute or two from the kick off the Knights found themselves a try down and again as in the past few weeks this woke the boys up. From the moment they conceded the try the tackling and loose play was far better and the Knights managed to stop Beccs from adding to their tally. Unfortunately Medway were also unable to score and so lost the game 5 – 0.
Despite it being a losing start the Knights had put in a good performance and were looking to continue in the same vein against a strong Beccs B team. This time it was Medway who got the better start with No.8 Sam Crean scoring after 2 or 3 mins of dominant Knights play. The home side did come back at Medway but the defence was superb and soon the Knights were pressing for another score. After coming close on a number of occasions Scrum Half Harry Meadows converted one of the chances just before half time to double their lead. The second half was much closer than the first with both teams having chances but only Medway able to add to the score with Crean’s second of the game mid-way through the half after some great inter passing between backs and forwards created the chance. The final score being 15 – 0 to the Knights.
Although the games were short sided they were very tough and by the time the Knights meet Old Caterhamians in their last match they had lost both Full Back Josh Butler and Second Row Tom Narborough to injuries. After the 3rd player Full Back Christopher Jarvis was injured in the first half both teams agreed to play with just 12 players. The Old Cats pack were dominant throughout the match and it was a case of damage limitation for the Knights who were starved of possession. Despite the territory and possession being totally one sided Medway limited Old Cats to one try in each half and were valiant in defeat. The referee had praise for Fly Half / Hooker / Second Row Lewis Hollidge for twice saving tries by getting under the ball after the opposition players had crossed the line, he also praised both Prop Anthony Parish and No.8 / Hooker Sam Crean for their all-round determination and good play.
Low on numbers, players playing out of position and good strong opposition could have led to a bad day at the office but with great performances and determination all round, the small Knights squad made sure the sunny day was enjoyed by all who travelled with them.
The Knights squad was: Harry Lockyer, Josh Butler, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Jack Bloomfield, Jean Luc Carden, Jean Pascal Carden, Mattias Carden, Ethan Green and Miles Eason.
The Knights hosted Ashford who turned up in impressive numbers with enough players to field 3 sides. With a thorough warm up and a break for the 2 mins Remembrance Day Silence (very respectfully observed by both sets of players and supporters) there was enough time to play 3 x 10 min a side games.
The Knights have worked hard to improve their start in matches over the last few months and thought they had kicked the habit of starting slow and trying to come back later in matches. Unfortunately they were back to their old ways against Ashford conceding all the tries against in the first half and after the break not conceding at all in the 3 games.
The first and last matches were against Ashford’s A team with the same 2 tries to nil reverse result in both games. As already mentioned both tries in each game were conceded early in the first half, a couple through missed tackles and a couple after good play from the Ashford team, committing the backs to tackles with a good attacking play and then getting it wide to the winger who went over unopposed in the corner. After the disappointing start to both games the Knights rallied and took the game to Ashford. In both matches it was the Knights who were attacking at the end of the match and looking to score.
The second of the 3 matches was a mixed A, B game and the same old story saw the Knights 2 tries to nil down early in the game. The difference this time was that the Knights were able to turn their own possession into points. After a series of attacking runs and good rucks, scrum half Harry Meadows attacked the blind side from one such a ruck and broke the tackle to make it 2 – 1 at half time. With the lift of scoring just before the break the Knights dominated the second half adding 2 more tries, centre Josh Lamb crashing over from a penalty 7m out and second row Joseph Van Vilsteren completing the scoring after a strong run and great reach to get over the line. Ashford did come back at the Knights but unlike earlier the tackles weren’t missed and they held on for the win.
The Knights never really played their best today, partly due to their own performances and partly due to good opponents. On a positive note though, they did show that when the performance was there they were more than able to hold their own against a squad who in numbers and physical size were a lot bigger than themselves.
The Knights squad was: Harry Lockyer, Josh Butler, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Josh Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Oscar Wells, Anthony Parish, Jamie Wyndham, Jack Bloomfield, Joseph Van Vilsteren, Matthew Phillips, Adam Sleiman, Kyle Struthers , Mattias Carden, Jean Luc Carden, George Hamblyn and Jean Pascal Carden.
The Knights travelled with 22 players to Blackheath looking forward to a tough mornings rugby against both the hosts and Tonbridge Juddians. With both Medway and Blackheath not having enough for two teams it was agreed they would both play against Tonbridge’s A and B teams and then a mixed ability match against Blackheath. Unfortunately Medway lost Joseph Van Vilsteren due to illness before the first match against Tonbridge Juddians A’s.
Tonbridge are if not the best team in the county certainly one of the top one or two at this age group and any team will have to be at their very best to stick with them. Unfortunately the Knights were not at their best and didn’t really get going until the second half by which time they had conceded 5 tries to nil. They could argue that one was touched down by a defender before the Tonbridge player and there was knock on in the build-up to another, but to be honest other than the rucking the Knights were out played in every department. The second half was much better with the Knights upping their performance and getting a consolation try scored by No.8 Adam Sleiman. Even with the improvement of performance there were still too many missed tackles and too many basic mistakes made, add that to some great play from Tonbridge and another 5 tries were conceded. The referee praised Medway for their rucking after the game and picked out both prop Oscar Wells and fly half Lewis Hollidge for the amount of tackles they made, also naming Oscar man of the match.
The second match against Tonbridge Judds B team gave the coaches a chance to play all the subs from the first match and try different positions for some of the more experienced players. Although the team played better than the first match they were still relying on mistakes from the Judds to hand over possession rather than winning the break downs. In a very even first half nobody looked like scoring until Hollidge this time playing hooker intercepted a pass on the half way line and side stepped the cover defence during the race to score. The second half was just as even although missed tackles again cost Medway dear conceding two late tries.
The final match against hosts Blackheath saw the Knights best performance of the day. Looking a lot more like the Knights we know they were first to the breakdowns winning the majority of the loose balls and using it well in the backs. Winger Christopher Jarvis scored a hat trick of tries in the first half before getting a well-earned rest for the second. The backs shared the rest of the spoils with centre Josh Lamb and full back Josh Butler completing the scoring although the whole team deserved praise in the way they played. Most pleasing for the coaches was the fact that the tackling was back to its best along with the commitment in the loose that stopped Blackheath from scoring. The Knights were able to get all the fit players onto the pitch for at least a half in this game.
A good way to finish after such a disappointing start.
The Knights squad was: Harry Lockyer, Josh Butler, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Josh Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Alfie Pattenden, Oscar Wells, Anthony Parish, Jamie Wyndham, Jack Bloomfield, Karl O’Grady, Joseph Van Vilsteren, William Milham, Matthew Phillips, Oliver Rees, Adam Sleiman, Kyle Struthers and Aidan Wolfe.
The Knights took 19 players to Sevenoaks where they had a joint training session before playing a hard fought game against their hosts. After a thorough warm up the forwards and backs split for separate training sessions. It was then agreed to play a 20min a half game with rolling subs to give all the players good game time.
The Knights started strongly with the backs pressuring the Sevenoaks players by getting up quick, making the tackles and the forwards winning plenty of ball in the loose through good quick rucking. In the set pieces it was harder to provide clean ball for the backs against a larger pack so they had to rely on what they turned over. After one such turn over and a quick break from the backs the ball was taken up to the Sevenoaks line. Sevenoaks managed to turn the ball over in the maul but once again good pressure from the backs and a charge down led to a chance for Fly Half Lewis Hollidge who dived for the ball over the line but knocked on in the process of trying to score. A long spell of pressure resulting in a penalty about 15m out from the try line led to the Knights second chance. Quick hands set up Wing Jacob Clayton who again looked to have scored but a forward pass in the build-up denied the Knights once again. The Knights spent most of the remainder of the half in Sevenoaks territory and just before half time went over in the corner once again through wing Clayton but the ball was judged to have been knocked on in the process of scoring, leaving the teams level at half time.
Sevenoaks started the second half very well and after winning a series of rucks and mauls got the ball wide for their winger who broke 2 tackles to score in the corner. The knights were gutted, it was probably the only two tackles they missed the whole game. To their credit the Knights went straight back into the attack right from the kick off and after a good chase and tackle from Hooker Sam Crean the resulting ruck was won and the forwards and backs drove the ball up the pitch all the way to the try line with Crean finishing the move he had started levelling the scores. Other than a brief spell after the Sevenoaks kick off the Knights spent the rest of the half attacking the Sevenoaks line. Fly half Hollidge once again dived onto a loose ball over the line and although it wasn’t knocked on this time it had already been touched down by a defending player to deny Medway once again. The game ended in a 5 – 5 draw.
Both teams tried to play good running rugby and the commitment in the loose and tackling from both was just great to watch. The Medway players felt they had done enough to win but for once the finishing let them down. In fairness Sevenoaks deserved to hold out for the draw after withstanding so much pressure and looking dangerous on the attack themselves. Still undefeated this season the Knights continue their great start.
Included in the squad were two players making their debut for the Knights Miles Eason and Harry Lockyer both were really impressive and looked as if they were experienced players. The remainder of the squad was: Josh Butler, Jean Pascal Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Mattias Carden, Jacob Clayton, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Josh Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Alfie Pattenden, Oscar Wells, Anthony Parish, Jamie Wyndham, Jack Bloomfield and Reuben Murdock-North.
Medway U12s (The Knights) Cup winners once again.
After the undefeated cup winning start made last week at their own festival, the Knights travelled to Upminster with high hopes of performing well and hopefully being able to go one better than last week's shared cup win.
As last week the format was two groups of 5 teams playing each team in the group once, the two top placed teams playing in the cup final and the two second placed teams playing a final for the plate.
Unfortunately Thurrock had to pull out of the group so Medway’s first game was a bye. Having a long wait after the bye the Knights struggled to find their form in the first half against Chingford although two late tries from Centre Josh Lamb and Wing Mattias Carden made the second half a slightly less tense affair. Further tries from Lamb and fullback Josh Butler sealed a comfortable 20–0 win. Next up were Old Darfordians, both teams tested each other’s defences’ first half but no scores were made. The second half was just as even with the big Dartfordians pack keeping it tight starving Medway’s backs of the chance to attack until a big clearance kick and great chase allowed the quicker forwards to turn over the ball and release the backs. With the Dartfordians defence desperately trying to get across to cover the overlap the gap opened for fly half Lewis Hollidge to exploit and score the only try of the match sealing a 5–0 win. The Knights final group game was against Dagenham who had struggled in their previous games but really upped their performance against Medway. Dagenham had the edge up front and by winning plenty of ball it was Medway who really had to work hard defensively to keep Dagenham from scoring, but that’s exactly what they did with the final score a 0–0 draw.
Without reaching the high standards they set last week the Knights managed to top their group and reach a second cup final in as many weeks. Hosts Upminster won their group to make it a repeat of last week’s 2–2 drawn final and last year’s Upminster Festival final which the hosts won 2–1 . The worry was without the players performing at the top of their game Upminster would be too much for them. As soon as the game started the worries were proved to be unfounded Medway were at their very best and after soaking up early pressure went onto the attack themselves. A series of strong runs from forwards and backs aided by good fast rucking set up a blind side attack from scrum half Harry Meadows who had the presence of mind to give a great timed pass to wing Christopher Jarvis who in turn had the pace and power to go over in the corner. The remainder of the first and to be fair pretty much all of the second half was spent in the Knights half. It took a massive defensive performance to hold Upminster out. The last few minutes of the game were spent camped on Medway’s try line. After repelling numerous attacks and holding the ball up over the line, the forwards won the resulting scrum and after a clearing kick to touch the final whistle went to Medway’s relief and joy the final was won 5–0.
A continued great start to the season and another cup win without conceding a try all day. Proud coaches and parents all round.
The Medway Knights squad was:
Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Mattias Carden, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oliver Rees, Adam Sleiman, Jamie Wyndham, Jean Luc Carden, Jean Pascal Carden and Oscar Wells.
Medway U12's (The Knights) start the season as Cup Winners.
The season started with the Knights as hosts in the Medway festival in which they managed to field a team in each of the qualifying groups. The Yellows were made up of the less experienced players with just a couple of the older hands to steady the ship. Being tight on numbers they were lucky enough to be able to use two players from Sevenoaks for the whole day and a big thank you must go to Alex and Jack who both performed brilliantly. Alex played at Scrum Half and put in countless tackles and Jack played second row where he impressed with his ball carrying and work in the loose. Being a B team they were always going to be up against it but gave their all in every game. Despite losing Fly Half George Hamblyn for the day with an injury in the first game which was a 20 nil loss to Upminster, followed by a 5 nil but very brave and spirited loss to Sittingbourne and a 30 nil loss to Sevenoaks the boys never let their heads drop and rallied to beat Whitstable 10 – 5 in their final pool game. The tries were scored by winger William Milham and debutante prop Jordan Allen. This set up a 4th place bowl final against Maidstone in which the boys once again bravely lost 15 nil. Another mention must also go to winger Matthew Phillips who was also making his first appearance but didn’t look out of place at all.
They started as an inexperienced team but showed great courage and determination while gaining valuable experience and doing themselves proud. The Yellow squad was:
Jordan Allen, Amun Bains, Jean Pasca Carden, Jean Luc Carden, Jacob Clayton, Ethan Green, Wlliam Milham, Karl O’Grady, Alfie Pattenden, Matthew Phillips, Kyle Struthers, Joseph Van Vilsteren, Aidan Wolfe, Jamie Wyndham and George Hamblyn.
The Knights Red team also found themselves in a tough group but after a slow start in the first half against Gravesend they really started to play some fantastic rugby. The forwards performed really well in both the line outs and the mauls and were outstanding in the scrums and rucks, balls against the head and quick rucks enabled the backs to open up and run the tries in. The eventual score was a 30 - 5 win for Medway. The tries were scored by Scrum Half Harry Meadows, Fly half Lewis Hollidge, both the Centres Jack Bloomfield and Josh Lamb and a brace for winger William Milham. After soaking up the pressure in the first half, another great second half performance saw the Reds score 2 unanswered tries from Winger Christopher Jarvis to complete a 10 nil win against Maidstone. Their 3rd group game was against Blackheath and the whole team lifted their game to complete a 25 to nil victory. The boys were playing really good fast open rugby and once again the backs were running in the tries while the forwards were providing not only the platform but numerous turn over balls. Tries were scored by fly half Hollidge, centre Lamb, winger Milham, full back Josh Butler and prop Oscar Wells after the forwards decided enough was enough from the backs and drove him over. Their final group game was a hard fought battle with Aylesford which the Reds eventually won 10 nil with tries from winger Jarvis and No.8 Adam Sleiman. Another debut mention must go to prop Anthony Parish who performed superbly all day.
The results won the group for Medway Reds and set up a final with Upminster who were also undefeated. The reds scored first through winger Milham when he was given the space to exploit after quick passing from the backs. In a rare lapse of concentration the Reds allowed Upminster back in from the restart after failing to deal with the kick or defend the blind side. Unfazed they got back to the attacking rugby they had played all day and after a series of attacks centre Lamb forced his way over to put the Reds 10 – 5 up at half time. Upminster gave it their all in the second half and after numerous attacks at the try line were repelled with brave defence by the Reds, Upminster eventually evened the scores again. Now exhausted both sides cancelled each other out for the remaining minutes of the final with the game ending in a deserved draw and the honours shared 10 all.
Medway Reds played 5, won 4, drew 1 and lost nil. Tries for 17, against 3. Undefeated and playing some really good rugby, deservedly shared winners of the cup and looking forward to playing in Upminster next week at their festival.
The Medway Knights Red squad was:
Jack Bloomfield, Josh Butler, Mattias Carden, Sam Crean, Lewis Hollidge, Christopher Jarvis, Joshua Lamb, Harry Meadows, William Milham, Tom Narborough, Anthony Parish, Oliver Rees, Adam Sleiman and Oscar Wells.