Priestfields` final senior fixture of the season was a much anticipated showdown between Medway Vets and the clubs third string. In blazing sunshine a large crowd were entertained by a fast flowing and attacking game. Playing into a stiff breeze the ` old men ` were able to secure plenty of possession in the opening quarter and play rugby in the opposition half. Fine second–row scrummaging from Tony Evenden and Dave Davies produced some controlled ball for Justin Hollindge to penetrate across the gain line and set up several attacks. Swift back play from Dave Francis and Andy Green ( reminiscent of their hey-day games of the 80s ) led to the opening try. The ball was moved from left to right in a fine handling move featuring backs and forwards until the twelfth phase ball was quickly passed out from Graham McManus, allowing John Duggan to crash through the final line of defence, touching down close to the posts. Line-out ball was dominated by Gary Davies, demonstrating skill and a safe pair of hands in the face of strong spoiling tactics.
The second try for the vets came late in the second quarter. A counter attack down the left was set up by Geoff Kempt linking with John Gilbert and the ever present Ian Dance. The ball was kept live until eventually the young boys just ran out of tacklers and Ian Dance was able to cross the line unopposed.
Gary Squires ( in his final game for the thirds ) worked hard to rally his troops but the first half closed with the third team unable to register a point.
Refreshed with a clutch of second team players the thirds began the second half pressing the vets line. Strong defending from Nigel Gutteridge and Peter Gunning kept out the young guns until eventually pace triumphed over experience and the third team went over for a fine try. However, it was not long a wait for the reply. John White ( on his debut for Medway Vets ) was able to snap up some loose ball from the middle of a line-out and race all of 80 m for an unforgettable try. As the temperature went up the game really began to switch from end to end and an excellent move out of their own half saw the thirds come back with another try. Neil Sword frustrated the youngsters on several occasions, by securing ball against the head. From one such ball, Ian Dance pressed close to the line and strong support from Justin Hollindge brought the Veterans another try. The third team introduced yet another wave of second and first team replacements in an attempt to clinch the game. However, indiscipline amongst their ranks meant it came to little.
Wing replacements Alan Moles and Paul Davis were able to show pace and awareness to support attacking play for the vets. They linked twice to carry the ball across field into the opposition 22m and eventually Gary Davies received the ball at pace, making an angled run for another score to the vets.
In the end it was ruby that won as usual. Medway third team were given a lesson in the importance of team play being more crucial than individual skill.
6 October 2007
A hard fought home win was the order of the day for the
A XV this weekend. A 24 - 7 victory was extremely well earned and
deserved with a great team performance from a good squad of players who
are beginning to discover the benefits of playing simple basic rugby.
Juddians fought hard straight from the kick off spending the first ten minutes camped in the Medway half. Stern defence and a superb scrum from Medway ensured that Juddians were not going to break through. It took a set piece training ground move from the line out after twenty minutes on the opposition five metre line for the Medway forwards to grind and smash their way to the try line and to set up the ball for loose head prop Scott Veitch to score his first try of the season.
Juddians swiftly tried to come back into the game when a foolish penalty was needlessly conceded on our 22 in front of the posts. Our spirits were raised when the kick for goal was missed. However moments later some sloppy work from the Medway forwards who were passing the ball with an alarming degree of panic in our 22 enabled a Judds centre to intercept and casually place the ball under the posts, which meant it was converted with ease. Our guilty player was punished in the bar after!
However being 7 -5 down we started to up the tempo. The whole team raised their game massively and started to attack with pure aggression and momentum. Just on the stroke of half time the forwards were battering their way upfield with some excellent rucking and support play setting up phase after phase. The pressure was relentless, Judds started to concede several penalties and the scrum half Stu Cullen was able to dive over for his first try of the game duly converted by man of the match Tom Evernden.
Immediately after half time fly half Zac Hatcher created space for himself and somehow danced his way through what seemed like half of the Judds team running in a superb 40 metre try under the posts. An early try was exactly what was required to help knock the stuffing out of Judds. The backs were seeing a lot of ball with centres James Banfield and Nick keily creating gap after gap which helped wing Brian Packer set off on a dazzling set of runs. Medway were now completely dominant and starting to smell blood and were attempting to kill off the game. However too many individuals were wanting to take the ball too far on their own with a severe case of "white line fever" and were getting caught. This was beginning to let the performance down and people were swiftly reminded that rugby is the ultimate team sport and must be played as such!
Basic rugby took over again when the totally dominant Medway pack had a scrum on the Judds 5 metre line. Judds were pushed straight over their try line with the Medway No 8 Joe Thorpe controlling the ball at his feet. However the scrum were moving forward so fast that Thorpe managed to lose the ball on the try line, all was not lost as Stu Cullen was on hand to dive on top of the ball and score his second of the game..
An excellent game for those watching in beautiful autumn sunshine and indeed for those playing. It was fantasic to put on a good display in front of our team sponsor Glenn Haylor. In truth the score should have been higher to Medway, however another league win is the priority. The team are playing very good rugby with the emphasis on the word "basics". The compliment was that Judds were convinced that we had some first team players in our side. This was not the case as our squad is good enough not to require any outside help. Indeed the morale of the team and the quality of rugby on display is better than it ever was!
Scorers: Tries Cullen 2
Conversions Evenden jr 2
Team; Gray, Deakin, Veitch, Richards, Stewart, Farrow, Green, Evernden sr, Thorpe (capt), Cullen, Hatcher, Banfield, Keily, Packer, Harding, Evernden jr, McManus, Borat Wojciech.
29 September 2007
Sixty minutes of total domination enabled Medway to rack up their biggest league win in three years. A hat trick of tries from Nick Keily, with two each for the commanding figure of Gavin Green and the always inspirational Skipper Joe Thorpe along with one for Stuart Cullen, Brian Packer and James Banfield saw Medway cruise to a thumping away league win.
The first half saw Medway completely dominate all set and open play. The forwards secured all the ball which built a platform for the backs to express themselves with aplomb. Simon Harding (wing) and Zac (fly half) both on debut showed themselves to be excellent new acquisitions for the team.
Any pre-match nerves were settled with a first minute try under the posts from Keily and a conversion from Tom Evernden. An early exit with a rib injury for Graham Bukata was overcome with a solid replacement in the form of flanker Tony Evernden and the balance of the scrum and lineouts was not upset at all. Six more tries in the first half enabled Medway to go in 41 - 0 up at the break.
At the half time interval we were told that Maidstone had lost a prop and with no replacement the scrums were now to be uncontested. This massively upset the total domination we enjoyed with Maidstone now winning their own ball, which they never achieved in the first half. Maidstone raised their game significantly for the next twenty minutes while it also appeared that Medway thought the game was won and sat on their laurels.
However a training ground dummy move in the lineout called by No 8 Gary Squires on the Maidstone 22 enabled the forwards with Prop Gavin Gray and man of the match Brett Richards involved in superbly battering through Maidstones forwards to set up a well worked try. This knocked the stuffing out of Maidstone and showed the benefit of all the hard work of midweek training. Two more tries swiftly followed and with the final try being in the last minute of the game and the score at 56 - 0 we wanted to beat our previous high score in a league match of 57 - 0 v Old Gravesendians two seasons ago, and with the conversions not being taken as well as they might, up stepped the Skipper to calmly slot the ball between the posts despite being barracked and ridiculed from his own team before the ball had even been kicked!
A very good win, but a lot has still to be done to maintain the standard
for the rest of the season. Hard work on the training ground will continue
with no slackening off at all. We will undoubtedly come up against sterner opposition
although Maidstone showed in patches that they could play quite good rugby. They
also took a heavy defeat in a superb sporting manner which was a credit to them
and something we could learn from in the future.
Team: Gray, Deakin, Thorpe, Richards, Bukata, Stewart, Evernden sr, Green, Squires, Cullen, Zac, Banfield, Keily, Harding, Packer, Evernden jr, Borat Vorchy.