KENT VASE FINAL AT AYLESFORD RFC
The top two teams in Kent Division 1 went head to head in the Vase final expertly hosted by Aylesford RFC. With both sides being promoted into the London leagues next season each were looking to finish the season on a high.
Old Gs were the defending champions having defeated Medway in the final last season. The last encounter between these two sides had seen an injury hit Medway side well beaten in Gravesend. With most of these injured players back in the last few weeks Medway were keen to improve on that result.
On a glorious day and in perfect playing conditions the game kicked off in front of a large appreciative crowd. Medway started strongly and soon opened the scoring after 5 minutes with Roger Rhynheart finishing off some great interplay down the right side.
Old Gs looked to bounce back but some great cover defence by Darren Kistner kept them out. Old Gs looked to punch through the Medway defence with their strong running centres but the Medway team were waiting and stopped them in their tracks. Medway forced turnovers and were gradually taking control of the game.
With Medway dominating possession both in the contact area and through the line out efforts of Anthony Cross the next score went to them. With 22 minutes gone Liam Weobley and Kevin Kimble won turnover ball, Longstaff moved the ball quickly and Monish Shome broke some tackles and went over for a fine individual try. Glen Wadsworth converted and Medway led 12-0.
The Old Gs team looked to bounce back, they attacked down the left side and got outside the Medway defence and scored a deserved unconverted try in the corner in the 36th minute.
The match was effectively sealed in the next 5 minutes. Having clawed their way back into the game Old Gs conceded almost from the kick off. Simon Green finished off some great work by Colin Chapman. 2 minutes later Green scored again with Glen Wadsworth distributing well. This made the half time score 22-5.
The second half started as the first finished. Medway scored immediately from the kick off with Dayne Glassey finishing off some great interplay with an unconverted try putting Medway 27-5 ahead and effectively sealing the match.
Medway were in control they were dominating all aspects of the game and more tries followed. Some great work up front from Billy Humphrey, Sam Brice and Kevin Kistner won quick ball. Rob Longstaff fed Glen Wadsworth who sliced through the defence to score. He converted his own try and Medway were now ahead 34-5.
The next try saw Simon Green complete his hat trick. Good work from Danny Williams and Rob Ellis put him over. The try was unconverted.
To Old Gs credit they never gave up. They battled on and from a scrum on Medway’s 22 scored a well executed unconverted try from a blind side attack.
With 10 minutes remaining both sides managed to score. Glen Wadsworth went over following more good work from Chapman. He converted to put Medway 46-10 ahead. Old Gs completed the scoring with a consolation try to make the final score an emphatic 46-15 victory to the Kent 1 Champions.
A tremendous league and cup double for Medway to cap a fine season and period in the history of the club. Three consecutive league titles, 3 cup finals of which two were won have seen the Medway club grow in stature.
They have a young and exciting squad and look forward to testing themselves in the London leagues next season. Old Gravesendians despite losing on the day will have the satisfaction of knowing they too have achieved magnificently this season in securing London league status and look forward to exciting times ahead.
Kent Vase Semi-Final
Medway travelled to Ashford on Saturday to play for a place in next weeks final knowing that their last visit had proven to be a tight affair and were under no illusions that this would be no easy task, and so it proved.
The match was played in perfect playing conditions. Ashford fielded a much changed team from the last league encounter. Like their visitors youth was the theme. The opening exchanges were clearly Ashford’s and after 15 minutes they went ahead with a try out wide following good work from Lakin.
Medway’s reply did not come until shortly before half time when Colin Chapman touched down a well controlled drive.
Both sides had chances to edge ahead before half time but a lack of composure by both saw the sides even at the half.
The second half saw Medway press the home side and force a number of kickable penalties but these were missed or hit the upright. Ashford took advantage with JJ Murray putting the home side ahead when Medway were caught offside.
Medway’s response was swift. Good work out right saw quick ball moved left and winger Rob Ellis went over in the corner(unconverted) this put the visitors 10-8 ahead in what was still a very tight game. The home side moved up field with man of the match Fitzgerald featuring in all of Ashford’s good work. With Rhys Fussell distributing well, Ashford were still a major threat to the visitors ambition. Medway were caught offside again and JJ Murray made no mistake for the home side to put them ahead again 11-10.
With 20 minutes remaining Medway were trailing to a tenacious young Ashford team. The visitors re-grouped and adjusted their play. Some strong driving play from Liam Weobly, Kevin Kimble and Sam Brice laid the foundation for Chapman and Humphrey to suck the home defence in. With 15 minutes left spaces started to appear and the visitors took full advantage with some clinical finishing. First Roger Rhynheart went over (unconverted) and then Ellis was put away again out wide with Glen Wadsworth converting and Medway were ahead 22-11.
Ashford had given their all. They had worked their socks off and put themselves in with a great shout but the huge effort just fell short. They tired in the last minutes of the game and with Darren Kistner and Roger Rhynheart scoring further tries the final score line of 32-11 did not truly reflect how close Ashford came to pulling off a victory. Ashford’s young guns with
Medway were the victors and now face Old Gravesendians in the final for the second year running.
Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said of the day ‘ credit to John Norman and his team, for parts of the game they were better’......’I was pleased with our fitness levels’........’we showed good composure and clinical finishing to seal a difficult game’.
Kent Vase Quarter-Final
Medway took on Kent 2 team side Orpington at Priestfields on Saturday in bright windy conditions. The Medway team showed 5 changes from the side that secured the league title the week before. Andrew Morgan, Stuart Stockford, Rob Longstaff (first full start following injury), James Reeves and Danny Williams all came in for starts. Dominic Collins was on the bench making the squad for the first time since injury on the 2nd week of the season.
Medway kicked off playing into the strong breeze and the opening exchanges were pretty even. Orpington with a much bigger pack looked to take the came to Medway through their forwards. The visitors 10 with the strong wind at his back ensured Medway had to play out from deep.
Medway defended well conceding only a penalty for offside and at half time led 12-3 following tries from Billy Humphrey and Rob Ellis one of which was converted by Glen Wadsworth. Orpington had worked hard but had been unable to cross the home line. Credit must go to the visitors as the home team had not executed the basics well and had gone outside an intended game plan as a result of the pressure applied by them.
At half time the home team were reminded about the execution of those basics and what their game strategy was.
The second half saw the desired response. Medway played at a much higher tempo and the big visiting forwards struggled to match the pace. The consequence of this was that the visitors were unable to maintain a solid defence. Medway also, when not in possession, piled on the pressure with a more vibrant defence and forced a number of turnovers. They now dominated possession and despite going down to 14 men when referee John Norton yellow carded Monish Shome for persistent offence dominated.
Medway scored 7 second half tries through 17 year old centre Stuart Stockford, full back Darren Kistner , Flanker Colin Chapman, scrum half Rob Longstaff, fly half Glen Wadsworth and two from Billy Humphrey to complete a deserved hat trick. Glen Wadsworth converted 4 of these tries to make the final score 55-3.
Credit to Orpington they never gave up. They showed pride and character and defended to the final whistle. Medway in the second half were just that bit quicker and were clinical in their finishing. The home side’s successful season continues next Saturday against opponents that will be decided in Mondays draw.
Kent League 1, 18 April 2009
A huge crowd turned up at Priestfields on Saturday to see Medway clinch an impressive third successive league title. Cranbrook were the visitors for the second time in a week and the game was hard fought with both teams looking to play an expansive brand of rugby.
Medway began the match playing into a strong wind. The early exchanges were very even. But it the home side that edged ahead with two well struck penalties from Glen Wadsworth.
The first try of the match came in the 30th minute. Good strong running from Aaron Turner and Monish Shome down the right side saw the forwards create good quick ruck ball. Sharp handling by Wadsworth and Simon Green put Rob Ellis away who outpaced the cover defence to score in the corner for a well worked try. This was unconverted.
On the stroke of half time Medway added a second try. Colin Chapman broke the visitors defensive line and off loaded the ball, good interplay by the forwards followed with Roger Rhynheart and Peter Farrow prominent. The visitors defence was sucked in and good handling from Dafydd Ruffell,Simon Green and Darren Kistner saw Ellis put away again to score in the corner. Glen Wadsworth converted and Medway led 18-0 at half time.
The second half saw Medway have the dream start. They secured the ball from the kick off Captain Liam Weobley and Sam Brice picked and drove up supported by Anthony Cross. A series of pick and drives by Peter Farrow Roger Rhynheart and Colin Chapman got Medway close to the visitors line when the ball was presented back the Cranbrook defence was breached by Kevin Kimble who crashed over. Glen Wadsworth added the conversion and Medway were ahead 25-0.
At 25-0 if anyone thought the game was over they were mistaken. A proud Cranbrook team came back. Strong running from Josh Pankhurst backed up by man of the match Tom Alderwick saw Cranbrook back into the game. Tries after 50 and 58 minutes both converted brought the score back to 25-14.
Cranbrook almost scored a third but for some fine defensive work on his own line from Roger Rhynheart saved the day. Medway cleared through the boot of Wadsworth to the huge relief of the home crowd.
With 10 minutes remaining good work from the forwards and Dayne Glassey saw the home side obtain good field position. The ball was secured. Turner and Chapman supported by Weobley controlled the pick and drive and drove into midfield. Ruffell delivered the ball accurately to Wadsworth sat in the pocket and he dropped a majestic goal to effectively seal the Championship for Medway.
James Reeves and Spencer Lancaster came on to provide fresh legs for the final minutes.
Medway won the match and in doing so secured a third successive league title and promotion.
Coach Taff Gwilliam was delighted and praised all the players and back room staff for their dedication, hard work and commitment throughout the season. Despite the recent injury crisis Medway have come through and thoroughly deserve the success. In a 22 game season only the best team can finish top and that proved to be Medway. Everyone at the club has worked hard and deserves to share in the success.
Kent Vase, 11 April 2009
Medway took on old rivals Cranbrook at Priestfields on Saturday in ideal playing conditions. Both sides were missing a number of key players and this Vase match was an opportunity for both coaches to look to the younger members of their squad. Cranbrook, if anything, were the more youthful and their young 17 year old inside centre showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Medway for their part gave 18 year olds Glen Stapleton and Luke Burns their first opportunities in the first team this season and both showed up well particularly Stapleton.
The game opened up with both teams looking to impose themselves on the other. Cranbrook had the edge early on and forced numerous errors from the home team.
Cranbrook deservedly went ahead after 6 minutes after missed tackles in midfield and held the lead in an even contest until the 32 minute when the ever dangerous Kistner broke clear at a ruck to score a fine individual try. Wadsworth added the conversion to make the half time score 7-5.
The second half started much the same Cranbrook looking dangerous and when they broke clear it seemed they would regain the lead however a loose pass saw Burns intercept and score at the other end. Wadsworth converted and Medway were frankly flattered to be ahead.
Cranbrook were now looking to chase the game and a handling error saw Medway regain possession and James Reeves broke two tackles to score and with Wadsworth converting went 21-5 ahead.
Cranbrook looked to get back. Catt tried to get his backs going but Medway held firm with the introduction of Green, Morgan and Young Medway looked solid in defence. Hooker Peter Farrow carried hard and won a penalty. Wadsworth added the points and Medway led 24-5.
The game was put beyond doubt when Kistner added his second try following good forward play sucking in the Cranbrook defence and his pace doing the rest. Wadsworth added the extras to make the score 31-5.
With 10 minutes left Rob Ellis went over to put Medway 36-5 up.
The final score went to the visitors who never gave up. Their Australian prop returning from injury showed good hamstrings with a fine run to the line when Medway turned the ball over under pressure by the visitor’s backs.
Medway were the victors on this occasion but both sides meet each other again next week in the final league game of the season. Both teams will look to finish on a high and it is another day and another game so a great game should be in prospect from two teams who both try to play an entertaining brand of rugby.
Medway travelled to Orpington on Saturday to take on Old Olavians who had already beaten Medway in the opening game of the season. Medway in defeating Ashford in their previous outing lost Cargill, Ruffel, Chapman, Ellis and Rhyneheart to an already long injury list so it was a very different looking Medway team that took to the field. Having cited the injury list it would seem the visitors were making excuses but that is not the case. In fact it is a measure of how far the Medway club have improved when they can lose so many and still be a force to be reckoned with.
A strong Old Olavians team started much the better and pressed Medway hard. They deservedly went ahead 7-0 with a converted try following good all round team work. Shortly afterwards they added a penalty when Medway were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle to make the score 10-0.
The real damage to Medway was done shortly after, Medway made searing break up the middle of the field, good interplay put Medway’s man of the match Darren Kistner away who scored under the Olavians posts, sadly for the visitors, the referee did not award the try, Olavians turned the ball over on the next play and a clearing kick was fumbled re-gathered and Olavians scored under Medway’s posts to take a 17-0 lead.
This temporarily knocked the stuffing out of Medway and Olavians continued to press for the rest of the half and added another penalty this time for off side. The half time whistle came and Old Olavians had total control of the match.
The second half saw only one score within a few minutes of the kick off. The home side, again after some great interplay between forwards and backs, went over for a converted try to effectively seal the game. The visitors could have capitulated but they showed character. Young 17 year old Stuart Stockford making his debut made in-roads into the home defence and showed what a good prospect he is. Dayne Glassey, No 8 James Reeves and Kevin Kimble played strongly. Medway were also pleased with the performance of young 18 year old prop Sam Brice making his second start.
The rest of the game saw the match go from end to end. Medway created a number of chances out wide but the home cover defence was quick and strong and prevented Medway breaching the Olavians line. Olavians themselves looked to have scored again but for a magnificent cover tackle from Kistner.
Medway tried hard, young 20 year old hooker Peter Farrow and Andy Connell came on and provided a much need boost to the forwards who never gave up. Oft Kempt also joined the fray following injury to Aaron Turner.
Medway showed good character in defeat to a quality Old Olavians team who thoroughly deserved their victory.
Medway will not have time to feel sorry for themselves as next week they face their rivals for the league title in Old Gravesendians. It is all to play for still and Medway will be stronger for this experience. The club is developing real strength in depth and that can only auger well for the future.
Priestfields on Saturday saw a Medway team smarting from a damaging deserved home defeat to Sittingbourne the previous week take on an Ashford side, who frankly Medway were lucky to beat earlier in the season.
Medway needed to up their game if they were to maintain their challenge for promotion. The team were reminded of their individual and collective responsibilities before the match and to be fair they responded magnificently.
The team played with a high tempo and stretched their visitors time and again with good controlled rugby.
Six first half tries was just reward for the stylish expansive rugby the hurt and hungry home side ran in. Darren Kistner with 2, Danny Williams, Peter Farrow, Monish Shome and Billy Humphrey all crossed the visitors line. Glen Wadsworth added two conversions to see Medway lead 34-0 at the half time whistle.
Any person not at the game would have thought that the visitors would cave in given the nature of the first half. That would not portray the facts. Ashford, despite the first half mauling came out fighting. John Norman, the visiting captain, was ably supported by Joe Lakin and Owen Piper in the heat of the forward battle. Both Murray brothers, JJ and Liam, were a constant threat backed up by the strong running of Peter Walsh.
Ashford created pressure and were justly awarded penalties in front of the post but given their deficit chose to spurn the kick at goal and kicked to the corners. Medway despite the loss of influential back row players Colin Chapman and pack leader Roger Rhyneheart defended resolutely and kept their line intact.
Second half tries from Kevin Kimble, Danny Williams and two from Peter Farrow to complete his hat trick saw Medway home. Dafydd Ruffel added two conversion to make the final score 58-0.
Medway were pleased with their victory not just the score but the manner of it as the visitors at no time did they give up. They showed character and perseverance. It would have been all too easy to drop their intensity level yet they constantly reminded the home side that they were in a tough battle.
It was pleasing for the home side that new players to the side Aaron Turner and Ollie Cargill proved themselves to be quality additions. James Reeves performed well following the loss of Rhyneheart and together with Steve Young will have given the coach a selection headache for the next game.
This result has guaranteed Medway at least a play off place but they are lloking for more. They now have three matches in which to secure the single vital point that will see them crowned as Champions for an incredible third season in a row.
Despite this the Medway team know that crossing the finishing line will be difficult. Next week they travel to Old Olavians who have already beaten the league leaders this season. There are no easy games in this league. Every team is capable of beating any other on their day so nothing is being taken for granted!
Kent League 1, 14 March 2009
This top of the table encounter lived up to its billing with a pulsating game of rugby which must a have a joy to watch for the neutral. Both sides had everything to play for and produced a hard fought but fair and sporting performance.
The first 15 minutes of the match saw the home side Medway in control by playing a high tempo game with width and stretching the more experienced visitors. Despite creating some great scoring opportunities Medway failed to capitalise through a combination of great defence from the visitors and poor decision making when two overlaps were butchered.
Sittingbourne were not comfortable with the pace of the game and their experienced leaders in Scott Truss, Chris Nutley and Kevin Ford gradually took the pace out of the game and this brought the visitors much more into the match.
The first score did not come until the 29th minute. An attacking scrum to Sittingbourne saw full back Roo Nanson make a late run which was not picked up by the home defence in time and he went over in the corner to put the visitors ahead 5-0 with the try being unconverted.
With half time beckoning Sittingbourne scored again. Allan Chapman came off his wing and good handling inside from Truss and Catling put him in space and he took the opportunity well. Scott Truss converted to put Sittingbourne 12-0 ahead.
Medway were on the back foot. Sittingbourne were hungry and were putting the home side under pressure. That pressure reaped further reward when Sam Catling hit the line at pace stepped the defence and scored in the corner to put the visitors 17-0 ahead with the unconverted try.
Medway needed to re –group. The half time whistle came and Medway had time to re focus and get themselves back into the game.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first. Medway’s young side looked to keep the game alive and Sittingbourne older experienced team preferred to go from set piece to set piece. Neither side were able to gain the ascendency in the second half with Sittingbourne much the happier side with their 17 point lead.
The game burst into life again with just 15 minutes remaining. Danny Williams went over in the corner for an unconverted try and Medway had a life line. Medway were now throwing everything they had at 14 man Sittingbourne following the sin binning of their tight head.
With just three minutes remaining and Sittingbourne back to full compliment Glen Wadsworth went over for a try having sliced through the visitors defence. He converted the try to make the score 12-17 and set up a frantic last few minutes.
Medway pressed but conceded 2 needless penalties. Experienced Scott Truss pushed Medway deep into their own half. Sittingbourne defended high up the field and closed the game out for a fine win.
Sittingbourne were deserved winners. They came with a plan, were hungry and succeeded in securing a vital victory in their quest for promotion. The home side, Medway, a much younger side will do well to learn some valuable lessons if they are to put their promotion push back on track.
Kent League Division 1, 7 March 2009
Medway travelled to in-form Erith on Saturday missing some regular first choice players through injury and work commitments. They thought the match with Erith would be a tough encounter and so it proved.
Medway began well and stretched Erith. Their defence hung on well holding Medway up over the line. Medway were awarded early penalties but these went wide.
A third penalty was attempted into the swirling wind but although it missed the upright Ollie Cargill following up pressured the home defender who spilled the ball for him to score an opportunist try. The conversion was missed and Medway led 5-0.
As the half progressed the home pack led by second row Peter Wedlake started to come more into the game. The home team looked to slow the game down and use their strong forwards to drag the visitors into a dog fight. Medway tried to put pace on the game and the match became a battle of contrasting styles.
Medway stretched the home side but could not break that final defender to complete the score. Erith took the game to Medway through their forwards and were rewarded with 2 penalties to put them 6-5 ahead. Medway’s cause received a major blow just before half time when inspirational captain Liam Weobley required an ambulance for a back injury. Medway re-shuffled with James Reeves moving to second row and replacement hooker Peter Farrow coming on in the back row.
The second half started and very early on the home side increased their lead to 9-3 with another penalty. Medway then started to dominate territory with the wind at their backs. Powerful running from Aaron Turner, making his debut, tested the home side but they held firm. A blindside attack from Colin Chapman saw him held up over the line.
Medway pinned Erith back in their half but could not break down the home side’s very solid defence. Despite good runs from Rob Ellis, Darren Kistner and Chapman Medway were frustrated. Silly penalties allowed the home side to the clear their lines all too often.
The forward battle continued to wage. Young 18 year old prop Sam Brice making his first start for the Medway 1st XV was impressive both in the tight and the loose. Steve Smith playing only his second first team game of the season proved equally effective in combating the Erith forward strength.
The deciding score of the match came with 10 minutes to go. Medway finally got outside the dogged home defence and hooker Billy Humphrey was on hand to score the vital try. This was unconverted and Medway were ahead 10-9.
From the resulting kick off Medway used the wind and played field position keeping the home side pinned back deep in their own half. The game was closed out and Medway secured a vital away win against an Erith team who had won 5 straight home games and seem to be getting stronger as the season progresses.
A great win for the visitors to maintain their promotion challenge. The next match sees Medway take on a resurgent Sittingbourne team at Priestfield.
Kent League Division 1, 21 February 2009
Medway entertained the Askeans club on Saturday in front of a crowd that included the Kent RFU president and many of Medway’s Vice Presidents and sponsors. The team were keen to perform especially in the idyllic rugby conditions that prevailed.
Medway got the dream start they wanted when Glen Wadsworth crossed the line after just 4 minutes and converted himself to put the home side 7-0 up.
Medway were dominating the lineout and winning the contact battle this producing a stream of good ball. Despite this, Medway showed a lack of accuracy and composure thus allowing a lot of scoring opportunities to go begging.
It was not until the 31st minute that the home side scored again. Colin Chapman drove over from short range. Glen Wadsworth added the conversion to make the score 14-0.
Medway now settled into the tempo they wanted and tries from Peter Farrow and Darren Kistner within two minutes of each other at the end of the half gave Medway total control of the game. Wadsworth converted one to make the half time score 26-0.
The second half saw Medway play the high tempo game they craved. The visitors struggled to compete and were forced to defend for the vast majority of the half. Credit must go to the visitors despite being on the back foot for the whole game they never gave up and played with great heart and spirit.
Medway ran in 6 second half tries. Rob Ellis, Peter Farrow, Rob Ellis, Darren Kistner, Glen Wadsworth, and Roger Rhynheart all crossed. Glen Wadsworth converted 5 of the tries to make the final score 66-0. Medway played with pace and width and Askeans suffered their biggest defeat of the season.
The gloss was taken off Medway’s victory however, when in the very last play of the game centre Simon Green was stretchered off of the field with a potentially serious injury requiring hospitalisation. The club eagerly await the medical report on the influential player.
Medway maintain their push for promotion but know that they have a lot to work on in training despite the impressive score line. Askeans, although well beaten, troubled in the home side in certain areas and improvements will need to be made if Medway wish to maintain their promotion push.
Kent League Division 1, 14 February 2009
Medway travelled to an improved Sheppey on Saturday looking to maintain their push for promotion and also seeking to win the Robin Everest Memorial Trophy. The match went ahead despite the poor underfoot conditions following the recent bad weather. As the game went on the pitch cut up making it difficult for either side to play expansive rugby.
Medway opened the scoring after 14 minutes going 3-0 ahead when Michael Scaife kicked a penalty after Sheppey were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.
That lead doubled 5 minutes later with another Scaife penalty this time for an offside offence from the home team. Both sides were battling to control the match. Sheppey always looked to keep the ball tight and pick and drive through their forwards and Medway trying to be more expansive despite the conditions.
On 25 minutes Sheppey opened their account after Medway were penalised for handling in the ruck. Brad Box kicked the penalty to make the score 6-3.
As the half progressed both sides made a series of handling errors in the muddy conditions and neither side could gain the control they sought.
Medway pressed Sheppey, some good runs from Ollie Cargill and Rob Ellis almost produced tries but they came up just short. The pressure finally told though when good work from Marin Farbrace and Kevin Kimble committed a lot of home defenders. Their line was stretched leaving space behind. Dafydd Ruffel exploited this with a clever box kick. Simon Green re-gathered the ball and beat the cover defence to score under the posts. Scaife converted and Medway were ahead 13-3.
If Medway thought they would now pull away and dominate the game they were mistaken. Sheppey are more resilient these days and showed their character. With the last play of the half Sheppey pressed the visitors line and following series of rucks and mauls Champ went over under posts and Box converted to make the half time score 13-10.
A few harsh words were said at half time. Medway had not performed to the standards expected of them. Sheppey had dominated territory for long periods and were very much in the game and close to producing an upset.
The second half saw Medway up their game. Billy Humphrey and Anthony Cross dominated the lineout. The scrummage was solid. This allowed Medway to produce a lot more possession. This possession saw a series of strong runs from Colin Chapman, Liam Weobley and Roger Rhynheart putting Sheppey on the back foot. They defended well. Medway crossed the home line twice but Sheppey held them up.
Eventually the dominance of territory told. Good handling and an excellent Simon Green break put Rob Ellis away. He rounded his winger and scored under the posts. Scaife converted and Medway led 20-10.
Medway continued to press the home side. Good runs from Darren Kistner and Ollie Cargill went close but unrewarded. Medway introduced fresh legs in an effort to take the game away from the home side. Steve Young, James Reeves and Glen Wadsworth all had good runs at the opposition but could not break the home defence.
The final whistle went and Medway were winners by 20 points to 10. The home side had showed character and pride and put in a battling performance against the league leaders but Medway managed to up their game in the second half and were just about worthy winners in very difficult conditions.
Kent League Division 1
Medway entertained the Dartfordians RFC at Priestfield on Saturday expecting a tough encounter given the visitors much improved form of late. This match would be a test of the strength of the Medway squad given the unavailability of regular first team players in Kimble, Sage, Cross, Shome and Ben Wadsworth due to work commitments and injury.
The game started with Medway playing with a strong wind at their back and them looking to pin the visitors back however the visiting forwards had clearly come with a plan and were dominating possession. Wherever the visitors were on the field they looked to ball retention rather than field position and looked to deny the home sides talented backs any opportunity to attack. The first encounter between these sides early in the year had seen Medway dominate out wide scoring a number of tries. Dartfordians were clearly looking to prevent this happening again.
The first points of the game did not come until the 16th minute. A long range penalty from Glen Wadsworth put the home side ahead 3-0. With possession being dominated by the visitors Medway looked to attack from deeper and although dangerous both good defence from the visitors and a lack of accuracy at key moments meant that the only other score of the half would be another Glen Wadsworth penalty making the half time score 6-0.
Medway turned round with a slender lead knowing they would have to up their game. Within two minutes of the restart Medway increased their lead. Dartfordians were penalised for handling in the ruck, Glen Wadsworth adding the points to put the home side 9-0 ahead.
The home side lead two score lead was short lived. Almost immediately Medway were penalised themselves by the consistent referee of the day David Forbes-Gower and the visitors cut the deficit to 9-3. With the match being robustly but fairly contested by both sides the referee was tested on many occasions and he would not let infractions degenerate the game. Both sides had a player sent to the sin bin as the referee ensured that the game would not be marred by the pressure of the situation.
As the game progressed the visitors with the wind at their backs camped themselves deep inside the home half. Medway struggled to break out. The visitors pounded the home line from close in. Continually the Dartfordians looked to pick and drive to get the all important try they craved. Medway defended well. Good tackling by Sam Brice, an 18 year old making his first full debut, showed the way. Further good defensive work by the back row of Roger Rhyheart, James Reeves and Colin Chapman continued to frustrate the visitors as they attacked the line.
At 62 minutes Medway broke out. A penalty was awarded for the visitors going off their feet beyond the ball. Wadsworth kicked down field for a lineout. Scott Clark and Billy Humphrey combined to win the ball. Wadsworth drove the ball into the visitors 22 for the first time in the half. Medway attacked the visitors throw in through Martin Farbrace, Roger Rhyheart and Liam Weobley. This forced the ball to go loose. Colin Chapman reacted quickest gathered the ball and drove through two tackles to score. The kick was missed and Medway had a vital lead at 14-3.
The visitors had 18 minutes to retrieve a game which in truth they had dominated with both possession and territory. They again pinned Medway back and once again looked to try and pick and drive their way over the line but Medway held firm. On one occasion after 70 minutes the visitors managed to get over the line but good work from Danny Williams and Dafydd Ruffell held the ball up. Peter Farrow was introduced to add fresh legs to the Medway cause and was immediately into the defensive battle and acquitted himself well.
Getting no joy through the pick and drive the Dartfordians half backs then looked a little wider. However the Medway three quarters backed their forwards up with solid defence. Dayne Glassey, Simon Green, Rob Ellis and Darren Kistner all making telling defensive contributions.
With 2 minutes remaining in the match the visitors finally got a just reward for their efforts. A scrum 5 metres out saw No 8 Tom Hoye crash over for a converted try to bring it back to 14-10.
At the restart Medway forced a turnover and were awarded the put in at the scrum. Rhynheart picked and attacked the home defence and drove into the visitor’s backline. Medway then went through a series of pick and drives to retain possession and run the clock down. The visitors in a desperate attempt to turn the ball over were penalised by an ever consistent referee. Medway spurned the opportunity to go at goal and kicked the ball off the park for a hard fought victory. A vastly improved Dartfordians side will probably view this as a missed opportunity and bemoan a lack of composure on the home line.
Medway however will take heart from the fact that although looking to play an expansive game they can still grind it out up front and defend their line with character. A win is a win. Credit to Dartfordians. On the evidence of this match they are very much on the up and credit must go to their players and coaching staff and the improvement gained as the season has gone on.
Kent League 1, 24 January 2009
Medway travelled away to Vigo on Saturday to play a team that were very unlucky not to win at Priestfields earlier in the season. Vigo narrowly missed the last kick of the game in the previous encounter so Medway were under no illusions on how difficult this match could prove.
The first 15 minutes saw Medway attack Vigo and dominate field position but excellent defence from the home side, particularly the midfield led by Spiers, kept the visitors at bay.
Vigos first foray into the Medway half saw them awarded a penalty but the kick sailed just wide.
After 23 minutes the stalement was broken. Vigo were penalised for killing the ball in the ruck. Glen Wadsworth kicked the goal to put the visitors up 3-0.
Medway, from the kick, again took the game to the home side and field position then pressure on the home side saw Medway awarded a scrum 10 metres out from the home side’s posts. The front 5 provided a solid platform and No 8 James Reeves picked and broke two tackles to score under the posts. Wadsworth added the conversion and Medway led 10-0.
Medway were now on the front foot and growing in confidence. On 32 minutes Medway scored again. A set piece move from the lineout saw Simon Green break the Vigo midfield defence . Green drew the cover defence and sent Roger Rhyneheart over for a well executed try. Wadsworth again converted and Medway led 17-0.
The game was slipping away from the home side. They needed to rally and they did. From the kick off Vigo forced the turnover. They attacked into midfield. A series of phases followed where Vigo showed good ball retention. Medway defended well but at the next stoppage Vigo were awarded the put in at Scrum 5 metres out. The last act of the half saw Vigo deservedly score from the scrum. The conversion was missed and Medway led 17-5.
The first score of the second half was key to who would win this match. The visitors needed to re-impose themselves after Vigo had finished the first half strongly. Medway’s cause was helped when the referee sin binned two Vigo players in quick succession both for killing the ball.
Medway in the first sin bin period added a penalty to their score to put themselves 20-5 up. With Vigo down to 13 men Medway were themselves then penalised and Roger Rhynheart was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball. It was now Medway’s 14 against Vigo’s 13. During this period Medway attacked. Good strong work by Kevin Kimble, Martin Farbrace and Liam Weobley saw Medway suck in the depleted home defence and Dafydd Ruffel put Glen Wadsworth away on the narrow side to score a well taken try. Wadsworth added the conversion and Medway were ahead 27-5.
Vigo tried to come back into the game but their attempts at field position were greatly undermined as Medway dominated the lineout. Both Colin Chapman and particularly Anthony Cross stole Vigo’s ball. Medway put on fresh legs. They introduced their strong bench of Peter Farrow, Sam Brice and Michael Scaife.
When Vigo did have possession and attacked, the Medway defence held firm. Danny Williams, Rob Ellis, Ben Wadsworth and Dayne Glassey all made good tackles.
Medway scored again with 10 minutes remaining. The effort put in on the training ground was rewarded with the second set piece move try of the match. Colin Chapman and Billy Humphrey linked well and created a simple 2 on 1 for Chapman to put Humphrey over and seal the win.
At 32-5 it would appear on the face of it to have been a comprehensive dominant victory but this was not the case. The match was hard fought and the score did not truly reflect the closeness of the encounter and justifiably it was the home side that had the final say.
Vigo deep in their own half, after some great Medway interplay brought to an end by a forward pass, won scrum ball and ran the ball. Great handling and offloading backed up by good support play saw the Vigo team (and almost every team member handled the ball) score the best try of the match on the final whistle. The try was converted to leave the final score at 32-12 to Medway.
Medway will be very pleased with the result against a vibrant Vigo team they greatly respect but Medway know that if they are to realise their ambitions in this league they need to continue their improvement.
Kent League 1, 6 December 2008
This clash saw the top two sides face each for the first time since the Kent Vase final last season. Unlike last season it was the Medway club that came out on top of a game that to be frank neither side played well in.
The game kicked off in sunny dry conditions and saw the visitors dominate the early exchanges as Medway’s set piece misfired. Given the wholesale changes as a result of injury and unavailability that was hardly surprising.
Prop Martin Farbrace played second row and hooker Billy Humphrey was at No 8. Andy Connell came in at hooker for his first start in almost two years. All three played better as the game progressed. The visitors dominance of the ball early saw the Medway back line defence tested on a number of occasions but with Simon Green and Ben Wadsworth rock solid in defence there was no way through for them.
As the half progressed Medway’s scrummage improved and they started to win good line out ball through Anthony Cross and Colin Chapman. Field position was forthcoming and the visitors started to concede penalties in their own half as Monish Shome, Rob Ellis and Danny Williams put them under pressure. Sadly the half saw no score as the resultant kicks either hit the upright or shaved the post on the wrong side.
The second half started and Medway looked to pin their visitors back. Glen Wadsworth kicked well into the corners and after 6 minutes the breakthrough came. A set piece lineout move saw Colin Chapman beat two defenders to crash over in the corner (unconverted) and Medway were ahead 5-0.
As the match progressed Medway kept the visitors pinned back in their half as Kevin Kimble, Arun Sage and Martin Farbrace provided the platform for Dafydd Ruffell to maintain the territorial advantage. Chances came for Medway. Rob Ellis got away three times only great cover defence from the visitors to deny him. Glen Wadsworth broke through but he too was denied just short of the line.
The home supporters were kept on edge when an easy penalty kick was also missed. The vital next score did come though. With 17 minutes remaining Medway broke down the left side, with Simon Green prominent, good quick ball from Dafydd Ruffell to Michael Scaife saw him feed Colin Chapman who broke wide and fed Danny Williams who beat the cover defence to race over into the corner (unconverted) and put Medway 10-0.
Medway closed the game out with good solid defensive work and the fresh legs of Sam Brice and Scott Clarke coming out to maintain the impetus. Sadly for the home side the closing minutes saw Anthony Cross break a bone in his foot to add the home side’s growing injury list.
Despite this Medway got the result they craved and now look forward to a break from the league with their National EDF Junior Vase round 6 trip to Streatham and Croydon next week.
The home coach Taff Gwilliam was delighted with the result. This win was a testament to the growing strength of the club and the effort put in on the training ground.
Medway travelled to Cranbrook on Saturday for a top of the table clash that both teams knew was key to their aspirations this season. With each side missing a number of players through injury the match was a test of the strength of the respective squad’s depth.
Medway kicked off in damp conditions but on a surprisingly good surface (credit to Cranbrook for the effort invested in their playing surface) given the amount of rain in the previous 48 hours.
As expected the opening minutes of the game were keenly contested by both sides. Cranbrook had the better of these exchanges and were deservedly the first to score. On the 20 minute mark Medway were caught offside and Cranbrook converted to take the lead 3-0.
From the re-start Medway hit back immediately and in style. Monish Shome beat the home second row to the high ball, offloaded to Roger Rhynheart who broke two tackles and set up a ruck in front of the home posts , quick ball delivered by the supporting forwards saw Dafydd Ruffel feed the oncoming backs, Ben Wadsworth committed the last defender to put Rob Ellis over in the corner(unconverted ) for a fantastic try.
As the game wore in the visitors started to come into the game more. They always looked dangerous but the home defence was sound. On the half hour mark it was Medway who struck next. Having been awarded a penalty, Medway caught the home defence knapping when a kick was expected and Dayfdd Ruffel dummied his way over for a fine try(unconverted).
The home side may have been disappointed with themselves but they showed character. They marched up the field pressured the home defence who were caught offside at the ruck. The ensuing penalty was converted and the game was back to 10-6. Despite the efforts of both sides there was no further score on the half and 10-6 was the lead Medway took into the half.
The second half started with a blow for Medway. Winger Dayne Glassey was forced from the field with concussion after just 5 minutes. He was replaced by young 18 year old Tom Willoughby. Willoughby soon made his mark.
A well rehearsed set piece move from the training ground saw Ruffel and Rhynheart combine to put Willoughby over in the corner. Glen Wadsworth landed a fine conversion and Medway led 17-6.
Medway soon stretched that lead further when the home side were caught behind the gain line and penalised for holding on in the tackle. Glen Wadsworth landed the penalty to put Medway 20-6 ahead with 20 minutes remaining.
Cranbrook knew the game was slipping away and threw everything at the visitors. Sound defence with Colin Chapman, Ben Wadsworth and Simon Green prominent kept the home side at bay.
Good set piece work from Arun Sage, Kevin Kimble and Billy Humphrey created good ball for the backs. Kistner, with explosive pace, was dangerous but could not break the home defence.
Medway still pressed on the back of good ball from Anthony Cross, Scott Clark and Colin Chapman pressed and were awarded a number of kickable penalties which would have sealed the game but Wadsworth (a key match winner normally with the boot) was wide of the mark.
Medway now looked to close the game out. Martin Farbrace and Sam Brice came on and good physical presence combined with ball skill ensured good ball retention and Medway’s line was not threatened. The visitors were the victors in what was a tense hard fought but sporting contest.
EDF Energy Junior Vase Round 4, 22 November 2008
Both teams took time off from their respective league programmes for this round 4 cup match. Neither side at were at full strength but this did not detract from a fast open game with both sides striving to play attractive rugby.
Medway ran out the winners by 36 points to 20 even though the reported official score showed 36-13. Medway’s victory was owed to the ability to play the ball quicker with Dafydd Ruffel outstanding.
The only sour note of the game saw the visiting coach take one of his players from the field for some foul play missed by the referee. The matter is to be dealt with internally.
That said this was a game which was always in the balance to the last 10 minutes.
Medway played with the slope in the first half and soon went ahead when following a quick tap penalty Dafydd Ruffel and Glen Wadsworth exchanged passes for Ruffel to score and put Medway ahead 5-0 (unconverted).
Bec Old Boys replied with a penalty to make it 5-3 soon after. That initial reply was short lived when from another quick play by Ruffel and good interplay from Simon Green, Billy Humphrey and Rob Ellis combined to put Green over for a well taken try. Glen Wadsworth converted to put the visitors 12-3 up.
Medway began to exert pressure and this told when James Reeves set up good quick ruck ball. The ball went wide for Ben Wadsworth to put Rob Ellis over to score. Glen Wadsworth converted to make the score 19-3.
It looked as if Medway would run away with the game but the home side came back hard. Good turnover ball saw Medway penalised. Ill discipline saw them marched back and a good kick into the corner provided the opportunity for a well taken try with the last play of the half (unconverted). This made the Halftime score 19-8. Medway lost No 8 James Reeves at half time to injury and sadly looks likely to miss the next game. He was replaced by backs replacement Danny Williams who got stuck in from the off.
After 5 minutes of the second half young centre Tom Willoughby scored an excellent try under the posts, again from quick ball by Ruffel following good work from Monish Shome and Kevin Kimble. Wadsworth converted to put the visitors up 26-8.
At 26-8 Medway looked in control but once again the determined home side would not give up and their endeavour was justly rewarded with a converted try to put them in touch at 13-26.
Medway made two other changes with Mark Krasij coming on at hooker for Billy Humphrey and Jamie Settle coming on for Arun Sage. Medway then looked to keep the home side pinned back. Good pressure from Darren Kistner on for the injured Dayne Glassey forced a poor clearance kick. Glen Wadsworth gathered and cut through the broken home defence to score under the posts and convert the try himself. This put Medway ahead 33-13.
Bec Old boys, with 12 minutes to go, put the visitors under pressure on their own line and were eventually rewarded when they drove over. The try was converted and put them back in touch at 20-33 with 10 minutes left.
Medway however were not going to let this slip and good field position was rewarded when strong work by Scott Clark, Anthony Cross and Kevin Kimble forced the home side to concede a penalty in front of the posts. Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty to seal a fine 36-20 win.
The first competitive meeting between these local rivals for a number of years proved to be a thriller. Both teams came into the game on the back of victories the previous week and looking to push on.
In dry but windy conditions Medway were the first to score. With the strong wind at their backs Medway looked to pin the visitors back from the off. With good field position Medway scored when a clean break by Glen Wadsworth put Roger Rhynheart over for the opening try (unconverted) and Medway led 5-0.
After 15 minutes Medway went further ahead. Anchorians were penalised for a high tackle on centre Tom Willoughby and Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty to make the score 8-0.
Anchorians hit back after 20 minutes when a handling error allowed George Webb to speed away and score (unconverted) bringing the score back to 8-5.
The next 20 minutes saw Medway totally dominate the game with some quality rugby. Good lineout work by Billy Humphrey and is jumpers Scott Clarke and Roger Rhynheart provided the platform. First Rob Ellis scored in the corner following good work from Arun Sage, Ben Wadsworth and Simon Green which Glen Wadsworth converted to make it 15-5. Then scrum half Dafydd Ruffel went over from a blindside break for a well taken try this was also converted by Glen Wadsworth to make the score 22-5.
The final score of the half went to Colin Chapman who from a set piece move broke several tackles for a great individual try again converted by Glen Wadsworth to make the half time score 29-5.
At 29 –5 it looked as if Anchorians were dead and buried but their team showed pride and determination and the second half was all theirs. Within minutes of the kick off Adam Davidson went over for a try following a missed tackle this was converted to make the score 29-12.
A few minutes later Webb went over following good driving play from Andy Pritchard and the rest of the Anchs forwards. This was converted and Anchorians now had the belief that they could overhaul the home side with the score at 29-24.
Anchorians pressed hard and Medway conceded a series of penalties resulting in winger Rob Ellis being sin binned for persistent offside. Within minutes Medway were reduced to 13 men when other winger Dayne Glassey was also yellow carded having been adjudged to have deliberately knocked on. From the penalty Anchorians elected to scrummage and were rewarded with a well executed push over try by No 8 Webb. This made the score 29-29 and an easy conversion should have put the visitors ahead but was missed.
Anchorians themselves then had a player sin binned for foul play. From the kick off Medway had a rare foray into the visitors half and good driving play from Kevin Kimble, Scott Clarke and Sam Brice saw Anchorians kill the ball. Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty and Medway were back in front in this nail biter 32-29. Anthony Cross and Danny Williams were introduced to give fresh impetus for the home side. Medway controlled the ball for the final few minutes with driving play from the forwards Colin Chapman, Monish Shome and James Reeves being prominent. This sealed the dramatic victory.
Both teams dominated a half and will take away mixed feelings. Medway will be delighted with the victory but disappointed having let a 29-5 lead slip and the Anchorians will be disappointed having fought back so well for Medway to take the spoils at the end.
Kent League 1, 8 November 2008
Medway travelled away to Ashford on Saturday looking to maintain their winning sequence. The match was played in driving rain which made continuity difficult.
Ashford started much the stronger team and but it took until the 17th minute to go ahead when a handling error on the half way line in the difficult conditions allowed the home side to kick through and eventually get the touchdown(unconverted) to lead 5-0.
Ashford continued to take the game to their visitors and were rewarded when a good break from their centre saw him go over under the posts and with the conversion increase their lead to 12-0.
Medway were on the back foot and needed a foothold in the game. They, through Glen Wadsworth, kicked for field position and started to apply some pressure of their own. A number of good forward drives led by Liam Weobley, Colin Chapman, James Reeves and Roger Rhynhart eventually created the space for winger Rob Ellis to squeeze over in the corner (unconverted).
This was the final action of the first half and Ashford went in with a deserved lead at 12-5. At half time Medway replaced the injured prop Martin Farbrace with young Sam Brice.
The first action of the second half saw fullback Darren Kistner injured and this forced a back line re-shuffle with young Luke Burns coming into the centre and Ben Wadsworth moving to full back.
Medway soon cut the deficit when Ashford were penalised for coming in the side of a ruck. Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty to make the score 12-8.
Medway’s efforts to get a stranglehold on the game were being thwarted by a very determined performance from the home side and when they scored another try following good work from their forwards Medway looked to almost down and out. The conversion was landed and Medway were down 19-8 with just 10 minutes of the match remaining.
This Medway team had shown already this season that they do not give up and have the character to chase the game right to the wire.
Medway battled hard, looked to retain possession and with good driving play from the forwards meant that Ashford were forced to concede penalties in their own half. Medway spurned the shots at goal and went for the corners.
Good throwing from stand in hooker Peter Farrow who found his jumpers Scott Clarke and Anthony Cross, all day in poor conditions, allowed Medway to drive for the line and re-cycle the ball. They pounded Ashford until eventually winger Rob Ellis went over in the corner (unconverted) leaving the score at 19-13.
Medway had a lifeline and from the kick went up the field through the efforts of Kevin Kimble, James Reeves with Dafydd Ruffel driving them on and providing good distribution. Ashford conceded more penalties and Medway again kicked for the corner. Farrow found his jumpers and Medway drove and re-cyled through the forwards also Simon Green and Dayne Glassey but Ashford held out.
Again Medway were awarded a penalty but the referee indicated it was the last play of the game. Medway tapped and went, again Ashford were penalised 3 three times. The referee finally lost patience and sin binned the home captain. Medway pounded the home line and went through a number of phases before eventually Kevin Kimble went over for the dramatic last gasp try.
Glen Wadsworth calmly slotted the conversion for a truly dramatic win for the visitors by 20-19.
Kent League 1, 1 November 2008 (report courtesy of our friends at Vigo)
In a pulsating match played in appalling conditions, Vigo came within a foot of toppling League leaders, Medway, at Priestfields on Saturday. Kent’s own version of Hurricane Katrina came blowing off the river, and made conditions pretty difficult for both sets of threequarters. However, forwards love nothing better than wallowing in the mud, apparently, although all due credit to the ambitious home Club for producing an excellent playing surface. It is obvious that Medway are pouring copious amounts of cash into their home and have produced a well drilled side to do justice to their rebuilding.
However, Vigo, with their magnificent pack dominating their opponents, should really have won this game, that old failing of turning possession and territory into points once more snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Playing with the strong wind and driving rain at their backs, Medway virtually surfed into Vigo territory from the start. A strong run from Simon Green straight through the middle of Vigo’s defence put Vigo on the back foot. Vigo then stood around playing statues as full back Darren Kistner danced through to touch down under the posts. Glen Wadsworth had no problems with the conversion and Vigo were 7-0 down after just five minutes. This was just the start that Vigo did not want, facing a confident Medway side, backed by the elements and a raucous if drenched home support. Vigo’s pack, who have been magnificent all season then destroyed Medway’s pack, missing several regulars it has to be said, at the next scrimmage, and this gave Vigo (and their smaller but equally drenched supporters), a great lift. A series of driving mauls drove Medway back as Vigo poured forward. Pat Norton kicked a good penalty into the wind (have I mentioned the weather yet), after Medway came up offside to narrow the gap and set the scene for a titanic contest. (I’m not sure about the Titanic, but I am convinced I saw the Ark floating past at one stage). Medway fought hard with Daffyd Ruffel constantly sniping round the fringes, his miniature stature evading the clutches of both opponent and wind. Vigo defended doggedly, with Andy Wilford ,Dave Dunn and Aaron Porter flying into the tackle. Hooker, Mark Grassick, another of diminutive stature was also doing his impression of a demented fruit fly as Vigo grew in confidence. Scrum half Stuart Spiers, almost acting as an auxiliary flanker, kept pushing Vigo forward. Medway, however, were showing great character, under the cosh up front, but still trying to move the ball to their dangerous threequarters. Without wishing to belabour the point, the weather conditions, negated both sets of backs, the wind blowing passes off course, the rain and cold making mockery of the gripfast ball. Wadsworth missed a couple of penalties as Vigo got a bit overenthusiastic in trying to claw back the lead but the home side held on to the break, Vigo’s scrum beginning to lose their grip as the half wore on.
Coach Tony Spiers, who had the moustache he had cultivated since he was eight years old to raise money for the club (they sold the clippings to a mattress factory), impressed on his troops at half time to use the wind to gain territory and attack from close in the second half, and to regain the forward ferocity as much as the rain had also grown in intensity. Medway worked overtime to keep Vigo at bay, Wadsworth punching the ball low to gain hard fought territory. It wasn’t until ten minutes into the second half before Vigo unleashed their first attempt at a push over try, but Medway cleverly disrupted to gain reprieve. Medway were by no means giving up without a fight and both teams flew at each other, but the game was played in excellent spirit, never a fist raised in anger. But, Vigo gave away a needless penalty on the attack, and then compounded the felony with some backchat. Wadsworth drove his kick deep into Vigo territory and Medway drove from the line out. Inspired by the sight of the try line just feet away they pounded att Vigo’s line, driving, recycling as they battered away. Vigo grimly conceded inches at a time but eventually a Medway forward found a tiny gap and squeezed over in the corner. Vigo questioned the try desperately but the try stood, and in all fairness, Medway deserved the score. Under severe pressure up front, they had few chances to score but when the opportunity arose they gratefully accepted the chance.
The Villagers knew time was running out and threw everything at Medway who tackled ferociously, captain Liam Weobley leading by example. Vigo tried to go through the forwards, they tried to move the ball wide but came up against both a grimly determined Medway side and the grim weather conditions, shackling their dangerous runners in Caton and Emmitt as much as Medway’s strikers had been shackled. Medways’s Scott Clarke performed heroics at the front of the line out, stealing Vigo ball, as Vigo kicked for position but it was Vigo’s scrum which, deservedly, earned the score and the lifebelt that Vigo needed. Another punishing scrum and Medway went backwards at a rate and the rather stately figure of Dan Norton emerged from the ship’s wake to plunge over. Brother Pat knocked over the conversion and with minutes to go Vigo had, seemingly grasped the driftwood of hope. (OK, enough of the watery analogies). From the kick off, Dan Norton sent a huge kick deep into Medway territory. Although the home side won the line out, they offended and gave away a penalty. Even the garrulous coach, Taff Gwilliam, was speechless as Pat Norton carefully lined up the kick. Straight as an arrow it went for the posts, but drifted wide by inches and Medway had escaped. It had been a pulsating match, played in excellent spirit and under quite shocking conditions (as I may have mentioned), but Medway had demonstrated with their resilience and resolve why they lead the table. Conversely, Vigo had shown that they need fear no-one in this League and will draw great comfort in knowing that they had come within a fraction of a fathom (alright, I couldn’t resist one last go) in taking Medway’s bedraggled scalp.
Team: J.Weller; J.Smith, T.Emmitt, R.Hayes, J.Caton; P.Norton, S.Spiers; L.Walker, M.Grassick, P.Hayward; A.Wilford, C.Judson; A.Porter, D.Couchman (rep: J.Moore; rep: D.Norton); D.Dunn
Replacement (not used) A.Higgins
Referee: Steve Halligan (Kent SRFUR)
Man of the Match: Stuart Spiers playing as a hybrid of scrum half and flanker, was outstanding, whilst his pack were, as a unit, immense. For Medway, Scott Clarke, a late inclusion in the team outshone some stellar names in the team. The Matt Dawson lookalike scrum half, Daffyd Ruffel was a pest whilst Liam Weobley showed that, when he holds his discipline, he is a very good player.
Quotes: Darren Cox (non playing Captain) Despite appalling weather (yes, I’ve done all that, Darren), there was some hard fought quality rugby played by both sides. All credit to Medway for winning, and although I’m extremely disappointed that we didn’t snatch a last minute victory, I am proud of the team
Coach Tony Spiers (less moustache): We dominated up front but needed to score early in the second half with the elements. We didn’t take our chances, and Medway did. Perhaps, we could have kicked more for territory in the second half, but Medway played extremely well to keep us out.
Kent League 1, 25 October 2008
Medway travelled away on Saturday to face Dartfordians in a league fixture for the first time in a number of years. They ran out convincing winners by 39 points to 12.
Both coaches have a policy of re-building their clubs on the back of their respective youth and so the game proved to be a fast and good spectacle for the supporters.
Medway playing against the wind and a slight slope were quickest off the mark. After only 2 minutes a good break by Ben Wadsworth supported by Colin Chapman put Billy Humphrey over for the try. Glen Wadsworth converted to make the score 7-0. Within minutes Medway added a second, good hands and timing from Simon Green to put Darren Kistner over and the lead to 12-0 (unconverted).
5 minutes gone 12-0 down and Dartfordians had been put on the back foot but they showed determination to get back into the game. Medway were rightly punished for some slack play deep in their own half. Dartfordians turned the ball over went through a couple of phases and found the space to get over the line. This was converted and the game went to 12-7.
The next try came from the visitors. Dartfordians were penalised for handling in a ruck. Medway kicked for the corner and from the line out worked a training ground move which saw Colin Chapman score his first try for the club (unconverted) and put Medway 17-7 up. The ever unlucky Chapman was then forced from the field with an ankle injury to be replaced by Andrew Morgan
The next 30 minutes saw Medway play their finest rugby of the season so far.
On the back of a good platform provided by an improving Kevin Kimble, Billy Humphrey, Scott Clarke and James Reeves Medway had the possession they craved to exert pressure on the home side. With excellent distribution from Dafydd Ruffell the Medway team were set.
Martin Farbrace scored after great offloading work by Andrew Morgan and Roger Rynheart. Glen Wadsworth added a penalty on the stroke of half time to make the score 25-7. The second half saw the quality of rugby continue with excellent work from Simon Green and Darren Kistner. They put James Reeves over for a try (converted by Glen Wadsworth).
Within minutes a great solo effort by Glen Wadsworth following a blindside break which he converted himself put Medway out of sight at 39-7. Medway then replaced Roger Rynheart with 18 year old Sam Brice making his first team debut. Another 18 year old Tom Willoughby replaced Dayne Glassey.
Medway continued to apply the pressure with some strong runs from Captain Liam Weobley leading the way. This provided opportunities out wide but some great last ditch tackling prevented winger Rob Ellis from getting on this week’s score sheet.
With 15 minutes remaining the home supporters must have feared what the score line was going to be but their team showed character. Dartfordians to their credit rallied and showed what they were capable of. They battled strong and hard and were rewarded with a well taken try. Medway were penalised for infringing a new ELV and from a quick tap penalty drove over for the try (unconverted) to make the score 12-39.
Dartfordians not content with this as a consolation continued to drive the ball into the Medway half. They were awarded further penalties for handling in a ruck and spurned the opportunity of points. They kicked for the corner and went through a series of attacks. They got over the line but good defence from Tom Willoughby and Billy Humphrey held the ball up and the excellent referee for the day blew the final whistle. A great result for Medway against a young proud Dartfordians side who will prosper again with the character they showed.
EDF Energy Junior Vase round 3, 18 October 2008
Both clubs entered this match with identical players records from their respective county’s league so this was always going to be a tight affair.
Although the score line may suggest that Medway dominated the match that was far from the case. The visitors from Sussex were a sharp lively side that created some good scoring opportunities that were spurned.
With a strong breeze blowing down the pitch this game had the potential to be a tale of two halves and so it proved. Medway played with the wind in the first half and were soon pressing the Uckfield line on the back of some good running from Colin Chapman and Roger Rynheart. The Uckfield team were forced to concede a penalty in front of their posts and Glen Wadsworth stepped up to put the home side 3-0 ahead.
Medway went further ahead 10 minutes later when some sharp hands saw Darren Kistner put winger Rob Ellis over in the corner. Glen Wadsworth landed a fine conversion to make the score 10-0.
Both teams were looking to play good rugby and the next 15 minutes saw both sides probing with good handling movements. The next score came from a fine counter attack. Uckfield were attacking wide when some good defensive work by Simon Green, Tom Willoughby and Ben Wadsworth saw a ball go loose and re-gathered by Medway. Good interplay between forwards and backs saw Rob Ellis go over in the corner for a second time. The try was unconverted and Medway led 15-0.
Uckfield were on the back foot but still looked to play Rugby. They were punished just a few minutes before half time when their backs were caught in possession in the backfield. Good pressure from Darren Kistener, Spencer Lancaster and Colin Chapman saw the ball go loose. Simon Green was quickest to react, he gathered the ball and scored under the posts. Wadsworth converted to make the half time score a flattering 22-0.
The second half saw Medway put under pressure with the visitors having the wind at their backs. Uckfield missed a penalty almost in front of the posts after 5 minutes but were rewarded shortly after when following series of quick rucks found the space to go over for a much deserved try which was converted to make the score 22-7.
With their tails up the visitors pressed the home defence. Some great defensive work however from Lian Weobley, Dayne Glassey and Kevin Kimble playing out of his more accustomed position kept them at bay. With strong work up front from Peter Deacon, Mark Krasij and James Reeves Uckfield looked to play more expansively. They created a couple of overlaps but were unable to make the final telling pass with the line at their mercy.
Medway introduced fresh legs with Dafydd Ruffel coming on and impressing at 9. Scott Clarke added his good hands and height to the lineout disrupting the opposition ball on several occasions. Then Andy Connell was introduced after a year out with injury and made his physical presence felt. Jamie Settle along with Connell ensured stability in the front row through to the end of the match.
Uckfield to their credit dominated the second half but could not find that finishing touch to undo the Medway side.
This was a pleasing win for Medway. With 6 changes from the previous weeks league encounter the Medway club showed how much stronger the depth of the squad has become. Uckfield were a strong competitive side that look to play an expansive game and although losing 22-7 were better than that score would suggest.
Kent League 1, 11 October 2008
Medway took on old rivals Sheppey at Priestfields on Saturday in a Kent league match running out victors by 50 points to 8. The score would suggest an easy victory for the home side but it was far from that. Sheppey were rugged and strong and it was only the home side’s superior pace outside that eventually secured the victory.
The first half was a tight affair and tries for Rob Ellis and Roger Rhynheart both converted by Glen Wadsworth seemed to put Medway in control but Sheppey battled back and a Peter King penalty saw them go into half time 14-3 down.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was all Sheppey. Driven on by Brincat the visiting forwards kept the ball tight pressing the home line. Good defensive work from Medway led by Captain Liam Weobley backed up by Spencer Lancaster and James Reeves kept the visitors at bay.
Medway managed to break out following excellent play by Colin Chapman and Roger Rhynheart. Sheppey were then caught coming in the side of a ruck and Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty to put Medway further ahead 17-3.
Sheppey came back with some good driving play of their own and were rewarded with a try from Morgan which was unconverted leaving the score at 17-8.
Medway, with the forwards securing more ball as the game went on, started to stretch the visitors. The pace of Darrin Kistner and Rob Ellis took them clear of the visitor’s defence and over for excellent tries following good distribution from Simon Green. Glen Wadsworth converted both to put Medway ahead 31-8 and in control.
Further tries followed from Ben Wadsworth, Dayne Glassey and Rob Ellis completing his hatrick. These tries were on the foundation of good driving play and carrying in the forwards with Kevin Kimble, Billy Humphrey, Martin Farbrace and Steve Smith prominent. Scrum half Rob Longstaff was sound and dependable in his distribution but sadly had to leave the field with a knee injury. Monish Shome replaced him and was sound in all he did.
Peter Deacon also got some much needed game time in following a lengthy injury lay off.
This was a pleasing all round performance with Medway continuing to improve. Roger Rhynheart was rightly adjudged man of the match and was presented his prize by the family of Robin Everest in whose memory both teams dedicated the match to.
Kent League 1, 4 October 2008
Medway travelled to South London on Saturday to take on the Askean club on a windy, cold day. The underfoot playing conditions were good and the anticipated rain held off for the duration of the match.
Rob Ellis hugs his touchline
on the way to scoring
Askeans won the toss and elected to play with the wind at their backs so Medway kicked off. Within minutes of the kick Medway got the dream start they sought. Good work from the forwards saw Glen Wadsworth in space and he drifted over under the posts for the opening try which he himself converted to give the visitors the lead 7-0.
Medway continued to look the sharper team early on and after 12 minutes, as a result of sustained pressure, the home side conceded a penalty under their own posts for not releasing in the tackle. Wadsworth again converted the kick and the visitors led 10-0.
If Medway thought they were going to run away with the game they were mistaken. The Askean team from a slow start started to get into the game by retaining the ball and driving up short. With their fly half orchestrating the tactics using his forwards and the impressively strong running inside centre to carry the ball the match became a concerted physical contest in the contact areas.
Askeans looked to try and break down the Medway pack particularly in the scrummage area but the front five of Martin Farbrace, Billy Humphrey, Kevin Kimble, Steve Smith and Captain Liam Weobley battled hard.
After 25 minutes Medway were rightly penalised by the excellent match day referee for offside and Askeans converted to make the score 10-3.
Roger Rhyneart scores on debut
Askeans continued to take the game to the visitors through their forwards and inside centre but good battling physical presence from the Medway back row of Colin Chapman, Roger Rhynheart and Spencer Lancaster aided by Ben Wadsworth and Danny Williams limited the home side’s opportunities to another single penalty goal for handling in a ruck bringing the score back to 10-6 at half time.
The second half began amazingly. Askeans kicked off, Medway immediately counter attacked, good handling from Ben Wadsworth and Simon Green put Rob Ellis away who then rounded his marker in classic style to score in the corner. This was unconverted.
Medway were awarded a penalty for the re-start and with the wind at their backs kicked for the corner. The resultant lineout saw Colin Chapman burst through, some good interplay with Liam Weobley and Spencer Lancaster saw No 8 Roger Rhynheart go over under the post for the second try in as many minutes. Glen Wadsworth converted and Medway suddenly led 22-6.
The bizarrely balletic Billy, barely in balance...
After 12 minutes of the second half Medway again turned the opposition ball over through Colin Chapman and Liam Weobley . The reliable Rob Longstaff moved the ball quickly good hands from Simon Green and Ben Wadsworth put the speedy Darrin Kistner away for a well taken try under the posts. Glen Wadsworth converted and Medway were ahead 29-6.
A lot of teams would have folded with still over 20 minutes of the match remaining but this Askeans team showed fight and determination despite the wind in their faces and being pinned back by Medway. They time and again looked to drive out trying by picking and driving then carry up through their inside centre. They got just reward for their solid physical effort when a Medway infringement at the breakdown saw Askeans go quickly and good work from their fly half saw them over for a deserved try which was converted bringing the score back to 29-13.
...but makes the corner
Medway introduced fresh legs into the forward battle with James Reeves and Peter Deacon coming on and scored soon after. Good ball from the re-juvenated forwards again found its way to Rob Ellis who did well to stretch the opposition defence and quick ball from the resultant tackle area saw Glen Wadsworth go over for his second try which he converted to make the score 36-13. Wadsworth was then replaced by Dafydd Ruffel making a welcome return to the club
The final score of the day went to hooker Billy Humphrey, again good work from the impressive Roger Rhyheart and Colin Chapman saw turnover ball for Rob Longstaff to set the backs off. Good handling put Humphrey away, the home cover defence came across and half tackled him Humphrey who was unbalanced but bizarrely managed to stay on his feet and eventually go over in the corner for the try and finally seal the victory against a dogged and determined Askean team.
The contest was hard but fair and both teams deserved credit for the manner in which the game was played.
Kent League 1, 20 September 2008
Medway travelled to The Grove on Saturday to face Sittingbourne in a match both teams were keen to win given their opening weekend defeats.
The match was played in bright sunshine and with great underfoot conditions the large crowd were looking for a good spectacle. As the old cliché goes this was a match of two halves. The first half saw the visitors dominate. Good ball from the lineout and strong powerful running from Colin Chapman and Liam Weobley into the home midfield defence provided Medway’s wide players with scoring opportunities, which, they clinically took.
Simon Green (2) and Ben Wadsworth scored tries in the first 35 minutes and with Glen Wadsworth adding 2 conversions, Medway were in control. Despite playing with the wind Sittingbourne found themselves behind by 19-3. Sittingbourne’s score came from a Scott Truss penalty for a side entry at a ruck offence.
Shortly before half time Medway lost both Chapman and prop Martin Farbrace to injury. The half finished with the visitors 19-3 ahead and in a dominant position.
The second half was a very different affair. The Sittingbourne pack from the off totally dominated the scrummage and Medway were on the back foot. The home side took every opportunity to drive the visitors back. Truss marshalled his forwards and strong running from No 8 McNamara saw him crash over for a well deserved try. Truss added the conversion to make the score 19-10.
In one of the visitors few visits to the Sittingbourne half the home side were penalised for the killing the ball at a ruck. Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty to push the visitors out to 22-10.
Sittingbourne came straight back and again the scrummage platform created the opportunity for winger Alex Politovich to score in the corner. The try was unconverted and Sittingbourne were only a single score away and dominant up front. Almost from the kick off Sittingbourne’s indiscipline at the ruck cost them another penalty which Wadsworth kicked to make the score 25-15.
Medway were rocked with another injury when influential flanker Dominic Collins had to be stretchered from the field with a back injury.
The last 20 minutes was all one way traffic. Sittingbourne pounded the Medway defence. The visitors had to make a huge effort to keep the home side out time and again. Kevin Ford and Rob Jeffries were particularly strong for the home side. Fortunately for the Medway the home side just could not turn pressure into points and the visitors held out to the end for the win that both sides had craved.
Kent League 1, 13 September 2008
Medway’s opening game of the new season saw them drawn at home against one of last seasons front runners in Kent 1 Old Olavians. The game was played in ideal conditions and watched by a good sized crowd.
Medway began the game the stronger Good possession from lineout and scrum ended with probing runs from Glen Wadsworth, Liam Weobley and James Reeves. The early pressure told and the visitors were penalised for side entry at a ruck, Glen Wadsworth kicked the penalty and Medway led 3-0.
Old Olavians however soon started to get a foothold in the game their lineout functioned well and began to steal a lot of the home side’s ball. The visitors scrum was putting the home side under pressure and Medway were on the back foot. With this platform the Old Olavians backs were both strong and quick and with the possession provided by their forwards put the Medway defence under pressure.
The pressure told, a missed tackle in midfield saw Olavians cross the home line. The try was unconverted and Medway were behind 3-5.
Medway went further behind when, like the visitors earlier, they were penalised for coming in at the side of a ruck. The penalty was kicked and Medway were 3-8 down. The visitors, with the upper hand in the set piece, continued to take the game to the home side and were rewarded with another try following a midfield defensive lapse. This was unconverted and the visitors led 13-3.
The second half saw Medway regroup and and improved ball retention allowed the home side to press the visitors line. A series of rucks on the visitor’s line were well defended and the home side could not force their way over. Medway were awarded a 5 metre scrum in an excellent position. They won the ball and then poor control at the back of the scrum saw the ball go loose the visitors winger picked up and went the length of the field to score a converted try and push their lead out to 20-3. This was a real body blow for the Medway team following a good period of sustained pressure on the visitor’s line. Medway were further disrupted when lost fly half Glen Wadsworth, Hooker Billy Humphrey and second row Spencer Lancaster to injury in quick succession,
Olavians with their tails up looked to run at Medway at every opportunity. They scored again when their excellent right winger broke clear and went over to make the score 25-3.
The match was now gone for Medway and they could have capitulated but this young team showed character and fire and battled back. Farbrace and Clark showed their mettle in the forward exchanges and scrum half Rob Longstaff harried his opposite number into errors.
Medway although on the back foot took every opportunity to take the game to the visitors. Simon Green and Rob Ellis looked dangerous but could not break a solid visitor’s defence. Medway eventually succeeded when Ben Wadsworth saw space behind the visitors defence and kicked through for Darren Kistner to gather and score under the posts for a try converted by Ben Wadsworth. The final whistle went shortly afterwards and the visitors ran out deserved winners by 25-10.
Old Olavians are a strong well organised team in all areas and will be contenders for honours this season. Medway on their return to Kent 1 will be disappointed with their performance. Individual errors and lack of cohesion, particularly defensively, cost them the game. The visitors showed their quality by punishing every individual error with a score.
The home side’s dominance of the final 10 minutes proved to themselves and their supporters that they are capable of competing against the best in the league.