EDF Senior Vase
Medway entertained Senior Vase favourites Teddington at Priestfields on Saturday in perfect playing conditions. Teddington deservedly ran out convincing winners by 57 points to 23 and in doing so recorded their 59th consecutive victory in all competitions.
Teddington kicked off with the breeze at their backs and blew Medway away with 4 tries in the opening 18 minutes. The visitors scored 2 further tries in the last 5 minutes of the half to secure their place in the next round.
Teddington were sharper to the ball and played with greater intensity than their hosts. Medway had only 2 Glenn Wadsworth penalties and a fine individual try from Tony Nolan to show for their first half endeavours. This was a harsh lesson for the young Medway side whom, I am sure, will be a better side for the experience.
The score at half time, 36-11 in Teddington’s favour, was fair reward for a well organised powerful display of hard running and good offloading. The hosts Medway struggled to gain a foothold in the game in front of a large crowd.
Any hopes of Medway getting back into the game early in the second half were destroyed when they gifted their visitors the softest of tries. At 43-11 down and virtually half the match to play you would forgiven in thinking that Medway would, like so many other sides have done against Teddington this season, simply fold. They did not.
The young hosts battled hard and started to make a game of it. There were good battling performances from Sam Brice and Ben Johnson. Roger Rhyneart in only his second game back carried well to provide a platform.
Medway’s cause was helped when an unfortunate case of mistaken identity saw the visitors harshly reduced to 14 men following a non-malicious high
tackle under their own posts with Medway pressing. The referee, who had an otherwise excellent match, sent off the visitors number 20 instead of the culprit 22.
This did not affect the outcome of the game as Teddington were out of sight at 48-11 but Medway responded well. The additional space and a man short saw Medway win much more ball and they showed what they are capable of.
Medway took the game to their visitors and scored some good tries from Luke Burns and Douglas Ebanks. Ben Wadsworth added a conversion to one.
The final word rightly went to Teddington and they completed the victory with their third try of the second half. Teddington are a class team with a great ethos who play an excellent brand of rugby and with the talent and organisation they have will look to go all the way.
Medway have had a good season and this was a timely reminder of what they need to aspire to in order to become a top side at this level.
Medway’s final league game of the season saw their fine end of season form continue with their ninth win in ten games. Medway took on a Park House side that had given Medway a torrid time in the earlier reverse fixture on the opening day of the season but this time ran out convincing winners by 54-20 .
It was not plain sailing as they were behind for the first half hour of this entertaining battle played in the right spirit by two traditional rugby clubs.
The first half was a very tight affair. Park House playing with the breeze at their back opened much the stronger and went into an early 7-0 lead after 3 minutes with a well taken try down the right wing. This was converted from the touchline.
On 20 minutes Park House increased their lead to 10-0 with a penalty when Medway were rightly penalised for handling in a ruck in front of their posts.
Medway put their first score on the board 5 minutes later when Glenn Wadsworth found himself marked by a visiting prop and rounded him to score a well taken try. His brother Ben landed the conversion to bring the score back to 10-7.
On 30 minutes Medway took the lead for the first time. Winger Jason Kay was put away following good work from Simon Green and Luke Burns and he round the visitors full back to score under posts. Ben Wadsworth landed the conversion and Medway led 14-10.
Park House continued to battle, their fly half used the wind to pin Medway back and they got their reward when the home side were penalised for offside and the successful kick brought the score back to 14-13 at half time.
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Medway continue to play with high tempo retaining the ball and stretching their visitors at every
opportunity. An early disallowed try did not dampen Medway’s enthusiasm to play expansively.
The last half hour saw a rampant Medway finally break the resilient Park House defence and run in 6 tries. Rob Ellis, Ben Wadsworth, Sam Garofalo, Luke Burns, Simon Green and Ben Johnson all scored. Ben Wadsworth landed four conversions. Park House, a proud team, sadly missing their influential Captain Tom Bailey never gave up and were rewarded with a converted try making the final score 54-20.
Tony Nolan, Anthony Cross and Kevin Kimble epitomised the growing strength of Medway’s squad coming off the bench to make impacts on the game. Nolan looked sharp at 9 and Kimble did well out of position at Tight Head for Liam Johnson who had got out of his sick bed to alleviate a front row shortage.
Medway were deserving of their victory. The team played with spirit and are clearly enjoying themselves. Liam Weobley was Medway’s man of the match an accolade richly deserved with his form in this match.
Medway finish a solid fourth in the league and have improved their league status for a fifth consecutive season.
With the league season completed Medway turn their attentions to the EDF Senior Vase. Medway have won through to the South East England semi final and take on massive tournament favourites Teddington at Priestfields next Saturday.
Teddington, ‘Rugby Worlds’ current team of the year were victorious at Twickenham last year and are currently on a run of 57 consecutive victories in all competitions.
Medway will be massive underdogs against the number 1 form team at this level in the country and will have nothing to lose.
Medway entertained Newmarket at Priestfields on Saturday looking to make it through to the last 16 of the National Senior Vase competition for the first time ever. The match was played in fine weather with excellent underfoot conditions.
The game kicked off with Medway playing into the breeze. Medway looked to retain possession and not kick it away with the wind in their faces. This tactic was rewarded early, when after 5 minutes, Glenn Wadsworth fed Captain Simon Green who made an excellent break in midfield to score under the posts. Ben Wadsworth converted for Medway to lead 7-0.
Newmarket, with the wind at their backs, looked to kick for field position and then use their big forwards and backs to carry up strongly. This tactic worked and they drew level when from a lineout the visitors secured the ball and punched their way over for the converted try.
The next 15 minutes saw both sides with their contrasting playing styles look to dominate. Medway defended well with Billy Sandison and Sam Brice prominent. They forced turnovers then retained possession to play out against the wind. Malcolm Graves, Billy Humphrey, Ben Johnson, Liam Weobley and Liam Johnson all worked hard to keep Medway on the front foot. They received just reward when powerful runs from Luke Burns and Douglas Ebanks resulted in excellent unconverted tries and a 17-7 lead.
Newmarket did not give up and when Medway failed to retain the ball in contact the visitors counter attacked in style and were justly rewarded with an excellent converted try to narrow the home sides lead to 17-14.
The final play of the first half saw Medway re-establish their 10 point lead when Rob Ellis, who always looked dangerous, rounded off some great interplay between forwards and backs after Ben Johnson and Billy Sandison had combined well in the lineout. Ben Wadsworth converted to make the half time score 24-14.
After such a close first half Medway were keen to get the first score on the board to take control of this cup tie and so it proved. Captain Simon Green again broke through the visitors midfield defence to score and with Ben Wadsworth’s conversion Medway now led 31-14.
Given the closeness of the match before this early second half score no one would have envisaged how this game would turn out. Medway looked to keep the game high tempo to move their physically bigger opponents around. The gaps started to appear and Medway exploited them to the full.
In the next 15 minutes the crowd saw some sparkling end to end stuff. The powerful Liam Weobley drove over for Medway. Newmarket responded with a try of their own but this was followed by a good finish from Jason Kay then a blindside break from Ebanks put Sam Garofalo over and then Captain Simon Green completed a deserved hat trick with another searing break. Medway were now out of sight at 55-19 with Ben Wadsworth adding the extras.
Medway continued to play their high tempo game and the introduction of fresh legs from the bench in Huw Collings Anthony Cross, Steve Young and James Pearce ensured the pressure was maintained on a tiring Newmarket.
The prolific scoring of Douglas Ebanks continued this week when he showed his pace scoring his second out wide. Ben Wadsworth converted this then the final try of the game went to James Pearce when he broke on the ten metre line. Medway were victorious by 69-19.
This was an excellent victory following a dynamic second half performance following a tight first half were Newmarket who looked strong but were unable to convert that strength into points. The match was played in an excellent spirit by both sides and was great entertainment for the large crowd.
Medway took on Dartfordians for the second consecutive week and completed the double over their Kent rivals. The quality of the match was much better than the previous weeks game. The score line would suggest that this was thoroughly one-sided affair but this was not the case. The home side for their part were highly competitive and probably deserved more for their enterprise.
The first 15 minutes saw the Dartfordians dominate possession and press Medway’s line. Only good defence and an attacking handling error kept the score board untroubled. From a lineout on Medway’s own five metre line Medway broke out and through Jason Kay went the length of the field to score against the run of play. Ben Wadsworth converted.
Medway scored quickly again soon afterwards. Hooker Billy Sandison won the ball against the head at a Dartfordians scrum and good handling saw Douglas Ebanks provide the scoring pass for Kay’s second again converted by Wadsworth to put Medway a flattering 14-0 up.
Medway and winger Jason Kay’s third try came from excellent attacking play. Medway went through phases and stretched the home side and created the space for Kay to score an unconverted try in the corner.
The third try deflated the home side who had played some good rugby themselves and had been undone by the clinical finishing of their visitors. Medway sealed their bonus point when the young and powerful Number 8 Douglas Ebanks broke two tackles and burst over the line for the unconverted try and a 24-7 lead.
The final try of the half came from young Sam Brice. An attacking lineout close to the Dartfordians line saw Medway catch and drive and from the drive Brice crashed over in the corner for the unconverted try and a half time lead of 31-7.
The second half was dominated by the visitors Medway. They added four further tries through Billy Humphrey, who finished off after some excellent interplay between backs and forwards. Luke Burns crashed over after a powerful midfield run set up by Simon Green and Ben Wadsworth. Ben Johnson got reward for his good hardworking display when he broke a defensive tackle to score under the posts.
The final try came from winger Rob Ellis who outpaced the cover to defence to score. All these tries were converted by Ben Wadsworth to make the final score 59-7.
This was a display of clinical finishing by Medway against a Dartfordians side who dominated the early exchanges and never gave up. Their young flankers and second row lineout jumper were particularly impressive throughout.
Next week Medway travel by coach to Newmarket in the regional quarter-final stage of the EDF Senior Vase.
Medway entertained Dartfordians on Saturday at Priestfields in the first of two back to back games between the two sides. In ideal playing conditions Medway, who have been starting slowly of late, came out firing and within the first 24 minutes led 27-0.
A Wadsworth penalty was followed by 4 early tries ensuring the bonus point for the home side. The tries came from a Douglas Ebanks double, Tony Nolan and Rob Ellis. Glenn Wadsworth converted two. The pace of young 17 year old Ebanks proved to be a decisive factor in the margin of the home side’s victory. Nolan was sound at scrum half and Ellis always a threat coming off his wing.
At 27-0 the visitors could have capitulated but they showed character and despite Medway’s early domination had their best spell of the match in the ten minutes before half time. A Peryer interception and fine run following it saw him beat the home sides scramble defence for a converted try.
This was followed with a well executed pushover try touch downed by the visitors No 8 on 39 minutes to narrow the gap to 27-12. Dartfordians fully deserved these scores for sticking to their uphill task. The home side were stung and immediately when quick ball from the ruck and good handling saw Luke Burns score for a half time score of 32-12.
The second half began and Dartfordians gained parity in the possession stakes in what was a disjointed second half that saw both sides continually penalised and the game ceasing to flow. It took the pace of young E banks to break the second half stalemate and complete his hat trick. He broke from the base of the scrum broke a tackle then rounded the defence to score a well taken try. Glenn Wadsworth converted to make the score 39-12.
Ebanks scored his fourth and Medway’s seventh try 8 minutes later. Good work from the forwards saw Ebanks given the ball in the opposition 22m who then broke two tackles and crash over. Wadsworth converted to put the score at 46-12.
The final score of the game came from the ever dependable Liam Weobley who had carried the ball up hard all afternoon. He drove over from short range for an unconverted try to make the final score 51-12.
Medway had dominated the lineout through Ben Johnson but the scrums were a much more even affair. Dartfordians had monopolised possession for extended periods of time and Medway had been forced to defend their line resolutely but had come through to win convincingly.
Medway will have have seen enough of Dartfordians to know that next weeks return will be tough. The leagues bottom side never gave up and they played with character and tenacity.
Any point from next weeks game will see Medway confirm 4th place in the league.
Medway took on Kent rivals Bromley for the second time in a month in this league encounter. Medway had taken the honours convincingly in the first match at Bromley and started this game as favourites. Bromley had made a few changes to their side from the first game and clearly were looking to restore pride from the mauling they had received at the hands of Medway only those few weeks previous.
Bromley played with the wind at their backs in the first half and were soon on the offensive. Their half back pairing looked lively and with the forwards providing a good platform they stretched Medway with the pace of young Powell undoing the Medway defence. Early deserved tries from Bromley saw Medway reeling at 14-0.
Medway looked to get back into the game and did so through the impressive Humphrey who crashed over from short range. The conversion failed.
If Medway thought they were back in the game it was short lived. Bromley played some good stuff and dominated proceedings. They kicked two penalties and a drop goal to stretch their lead to 23-5. Medway replied when Glenn Wadsworth put Tony Nolan away, he rounded his marker to score another unconverted try for the home side.
The last word of the first half rightly went to Bromley who playing fine rugby added their third try of the half. This was converted to make the score 30 points to 10 at half time. Bromley thoroughly deserved their lead. They had dominated proceedings playing with passion and accuracy.
Half time was welcome relief. It was an opportunity for the home to refocus and re-organise. Captain Simon Green marshalled his players and Medway went out to get a foothold in the game. From the kick off Medway gained good field position and were awarded a penalty which Glenn Wadsworth
kicked. Within two minutes Medway added another penalty to narrow the gap to 14 points. Medway now realising that they had a chance to get something out of the game continued to press. Glenn Wadsworth’s kicking pinned the visitors back. Medway had an excellent lineout with Ben Johnson prominent and this provided the platform for the home side to launch their attacks.
After a series of phases and the now quicker re-cycling of the ball Luke Burns went over for an unconverted try to narrow the gap to 9 points at 21-30.
Medway now had belief and were dominating all the exchanges. Quick ruck ball off the back of strong runs from Liam Weobley, Alastair Lock and Douglas Ebanks gave the backs the opportunity to go wide. Good handling from Wadsworth, Green and Burns put Rob Ellis over out wide and Medway were back within a single score at 26-30.
Medway continued to press. Although a number of kicking penalties were missed Bromley were pinned back from the re-starts. Medway had strong runs from Tony Nolan, Ben Johnson, Sam Brice and Humphrey thwarted but good recycling once again was the key, Lyam Johnson and Anthony Cross adding their presence to the clearing out.
Glenn Wadsworth off the back of one of these quick rucks found himself up against the visiting prop and rounded him to score. He added the conversion himself and Medway led for the first time in the match at 33-30.
The home side added fresh players to maintain the impetus. Malcolm Graves and Kevin Kimble replaced Brice and Lock. Medway increased their lead with 8 minutes remaining when Green, Jason Kay and the reliable Sam Garofalo combined to put Ellis over for his second try which remained unconverted.
Bromley gave one last effort and carried the ball up strongly through successive pick and drives but they could not breach the Medway defence which had improved considerably from the first half and Medway ran out winners by 38 points to 30 in a pulsating encounter.
This match was certainly a tale of two halves. Bromley excellent in the first were eventually undone by the home side’s second half recovery. The home
side must learn to ensure the basics are performed from the beginning of the match and not to be complacent. Bromley for their part deserved more from the game, they played some excellent rugby and did themselves credit.
Medway take on Dartfordians next week at Priestfields
London SE 3 AND Kent Plate
In form Medway took on promotion contenders Charlton Park at Priestfields on Saturday. Medway went into the game on the back of four successive victories. This game was key to the visitor’s promotion aspirations. A tense and close battle was expected but Park came out firing. Charlton Park, according to their supporters, produced their best rugby of the season to win by a convincing score line of 44 points to 21.
Even the most ardent Park supporter would accept that the score line did not truly reflect the closeness of the game. The difference in the end was Parks clinical finishing. Two tries came from turnover ball on their own line and some magnificent counter attacking.
Medway went in at half time down 20-6. Charlton Park fully deserved the lead on the back of their excellent rugby. Glenn Wadsworth had kicked the two penalties to keep Medway in touch.
The second half saw Medway dominate the early exchanges and tries from Billy Humphrey and a great solo effort from Sam Garofalo converted by Wadsworth saw Medway back to 20-18. Charlton Park did not panic and again scored a converted try.
This match was a real open affair with both sides looking to play attractive expansive rugby. Medway came back with another penalty from Wadsworth to make the score 21-27.
The decisive moment of the game came shortly after. Medway went through a series of phases and took the came to the visitors line only for the ball to fall lose. Park broke and with Medway committed to the attack the visitors went the full length of the field to score under the posts.
Medway then chased the game and threw caution to the wind. For a second time in ten minutes Park seized on a turnover in their own 22m and secured their victory with another breakout try. The visitors were clinical in their finishing and deserved their victory but this win was about small margins and Medway will rue the lost opportunities on the visitor’s line that saw 14 points conceded from so far up the field.
Charlton Park added a penalty to seal a vital victory and maintain their promotion challenge. For Medway it was about what could have been. This was not a disaster but a cruel lesson in finishing for the young home side but they will be the better for the experience.
Charlton Park were classy on the day and nothing must be taken away from what their supporters felt was their finest victory of the season.
Next week Medway face Bromley at Priestfields.
Medway travelled away for the third consecutive week to take on Folkestone on a wet cold Saturday afternoon. Medway were looking for their fourth successive win but knew this would be difficult. Both sides had good bonus point away wins last week and with only a couple of points separating the clubs in the league this promised to be a close encounter.
The opening 10 minutes saw both sides trying to come to terms with the difficult playing conditions. Each team looked to play field position but it was the visitors that scored first. Good work from Billy Humphrey, Alastair Lock and Ben Johnson saw quick ball won. Sam Garafalo fed Glenn Wadsworth who cross-kicked and Rob Ellis won the race to score an unconverted try.
Folkestone came back strongly and Medway were forced to defend a number of phases on their line. Eventually Folkestone won a penalty and subsequently kicked the goal to make the score 5-3.
Both teams were striving for superiority but it was the Medway forwards who seemed to have the edge. The front row of Sam Brice, Billy Sandison and Liam Johnson were getting the upper hand in both the tight and loose. This provided the platform for more possession and Wadsworth and Ellis combined again for another excellent cross kick try and a 10-3 lead.
Folkestone again came back but were unable to convert their possession into points. They attacked the Medway line but spurned some fine opportunities to close the gap.
On 32 minutes Medway broke out and went further ahead. Good interplay between forwards and backs, with Liam Webb and Simon Green prominent, saw man of the match Billy Humphrey’s angled run break the defensive line and score under the posts. Glenn Wadsworth converted and Medway led the match 17-5.
The score, to be fair to Folkestone, did not truly reflect the closeness of the game but Medway were more clinical. The final try of the first half went to Medway and with it the bonus point. Glenn Wadsworth finished off some good phase play from lineout ball won by Anthony Cross and scampered over for an unconverted try and 20-5 half time lead.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first. Both sides looked to take the game to their opposition. Medway with their forward dominance in the set piece had the better quality ball. For Folkestone their No 8 was outstanding in retaining possession under pressure and providing a platform from which to play from. In their 10 and full back Adam Tolman they always possessed a threat to the visitors.
On 45 minutes Medway effectively sealed the game. Billy Humphrey broke tackles and crossed the home line under the posts on the back of some quick rucks. Glenn Wadsworth converted to make the score 27-3. Billy Sandison was forced to leave the field to be replaced by Steve Young.
Folkestone had chances but handling errors and lack of support at the breakdown saw them turn possession over at key moments. On the back of one such turnover Sam Garofalo found space and evaded the defenders to score a fine individual unconverted try. At 32-3 both sides introduced fresh legs. Kevin Kimble replaced Sam Brice and Rich Coney replaced the solid Jason Kay.
The last twenty minutes was a very even affair. Folkestone again wasted their hard earned possession. On two occasions their players ignored overlaps which would have seen them score the try which they truly deserved. When they put the ball behind Medway Luke Burns and Ben Wadsworth cleaned up well. Medway had chances of their own but Folkestone’s defence held firm.
Medway secured their fourth consecutive win and next week face high flying Charlton Park at Priestfield.
Medway travelled to Cranbrook on Saturday to take on their Kent rivals in the second meeting between the two sides this season, the first saw Medway win at home. Both sides had impressive 50 point victories away from home last week so this contest was eagerly awaited.
With poor weather conditions forcing a change of venue to a local school both clubs were pleased just to get the game on. Cranbrook were quickest out of the block when good work from the impressive home winger, Buckle, eventually resulted in an unconverted try and a 5-0 lead.
Medway had a further setback when they lost hooker Billy Sandison to a shoulder injury. He was replaced by club stalwart Paul Morant.
Medway came back and started to exert dominance in both the lineout and scrum set pieces. Ben Johnson and Anthony Cross secured good lineout ball and put the home side’s own lineout under extreme pressure. The scrummage was dominated by the visitor’s front row of Sam Brice, Paul Morant and Liam Johnson.
The young Cranbrook side was put under pressure and in the greasy conditions their line came under sustained pressure from their visitors Medway. By the end of the first half Medway had turned the deficit round and led 24-5. Tries from Billy Humphreys, Alastair Lock, Ben Johnson and Anthony Cross secured the bonus point and Glenn Wadsworth added two conversions.
The home side came out in the second half and worked hard to get back into the game. They took the game to visitors but Medway held Cranbrook at bay for that first 15 minute period. Medway also replaced the injured centre Luke Burns with Jason Kay. Tony Nolan moved to outside centre with Kay going to Nolan’s wing.
With Medway’s forwards on top Alastair Lock, Simon Green and Liam Weobley carried the ball deep into the heart of Cranbrook’s defence, good ball presentation and some quick rucks saw space created out wide. The fresh legs of Kevin Kimble also provided further momentum.
Glenn Wadsworth, Sam Garofalo and Rob Ellis took full advantage of this space with well taken tries, the last as a result of some slick passing from Ben Wadsworth. The bonus point victory was assured.
The final word however went to the young home side who never gave up. A missed tackle in midfield saw a series of offloads between the Cranbrook forwards and backs and they scored an excellent converted try under the posts to make the final score 39-12 to Medway.
Next week Medway travel to Folkestone for their third consecutive away game.
Medway travelled to Bromley on Saturday looking to put together back to back victories for only the second time this season. Medway were pleased to welcome back Roger Rhynehart and Ben Johnson from injury.
Bromley played with the slope in the first half and took the game to their visitors through their big heavy forwards. Marriott was prominent for Bromley as a carrier in the early exchanges. Bromley deservedly took the lead with a penalty though a handling offence in the ruck.
The home side increased their lead when following Liam Weobley’s sin binning Bromley crashed over from short range for a converted try and a 10- 0 lead. It was all Bromley at this stage with young Powell also impressive at outside centre.
Medway’s cause was further disrupted when the influential Ryan Dixon had to leave the field and was hospitalised with a serious injury which threatens his playing career. The injury was diagnosed at hospital as dislocated hip and possible pelvic fractures.
All of Medway RFC are hoping he can make a full recovery. Medway would like to acknowledge the assistance of Bromley RFC following this unfortunate and accidental injury.
The game continued not knowing the full extent of Dixons injury and Medway started to stretch their opponents. Glenn Wadsworth moved the home pack around and they struggled to hold their livelier visitors.
Shortly before half time, Medway finally got on the score board. Rob Ellis finished off some fine forward interplay to score. The try was converted and Medway went into half time just 10-7 down.
The second half saw the visitors play and a pace and intensity that the home
side were unable to cope with. The home side’s forwards tired and Medway were quicker around the park. Medway scored 7 unanswered tries 5 of them within the first 15 minutes of the second half. Debutant Jason Kay started the spree. Ben Wadsworth, Rob Ellis with two to complete his hat trick, Ben Johnson, Simon Green and Douglas Ebanks added the others. Glenn Wadsworth kicked four conversions to make the final score 50-15 in favour of Medway.
This was an emphatic victory and at half time there was no inkling of what was to come. Medway played exceptionally well and will be keen to maintain this form at the improving Cranbrook next week.
Medway entertained Sussex rivals Horsham RFC at the Priestfields ground on Saturday. Last season Horsham came to Priestfields on two separate occasions and took the spoils both times so the home side were not taking the game lightly. With Club Sponsors and Vice Presidents looking on following a hearty lunch the day was set.
Horsham won the toss and chose to play with the strong wind at their backs in the first half. Although Medway dominated possession and field position with solid defence, good set piece and excellent ball carrying, poor kicking, when running at the visitors line, let them down time and again. Horsham extracted full advantage and with a better kicking game they got themselves out of trouble.
Although not threatening the home line for any sustained periods they nonetheless won four penalties through the half and kicked three of them to lead 9-0 at half time. Medway will be disappointed as excellent approach work was undone by kicking the ball away instead of retention in hand.
The second half saw Horsham attack strongly from the kick off and Medway were forced to defend their line time and again from a burst of short drives from the visitors. Good defence however held them at bay.
Medway broke out and some fine running from Rob Ellis saw him score under the posts. Glenn Wadsworth converted and the home side were back in the game at 12-7. Medway continued to run hard at the opposition and Liam Johnson appeared to score but the referee was unsighted. Medway then had their momentum interrupted when the influential Malcolm Graves was sin binned.
Despite down to 14 men Medway scored again. Good work from the forwards saw quick possession won. Good handling saw Captain and ‘man of
the match’ Simon Green go over in the corner and Glenn Wadsworth landed a superb conversion to put Medway went ahead 14-12.
Horsham did not lie down, they had played well and showed character taking the game to the home side. Horsham again pressed the home line and at one point looked to have scored but the referee, as with Medway’s earlier effort was unsighted and disallowed the touch-down.
That was the visitor’s final chance to steal a valuable away victory which, in truth, they had worked very hard for.
Medway appeared to have scored again through the ever dangerous Tony Nolan when the young, strong running, Douglas Ebanks put him away however the referee ruled the pass forward and Nolan was denied.
Medway did score again. Rob Ellis broke following good handling and crashed over again in the corner and again Glenn Wadsworth landed a great conversion to put Medway further ahead 21-12.
Medway pressed for the crucial bonus point try but a lack of composure saw late chances spurned and the final score remained 21-12.
Both sides can take positives away from the game. Medway will learn some harsh lessons about ball retention but there were some significant improvements in areas they have worked on in training.
Next week Medway travel to an improving Bromley side.
Medway travelled to high flying Heathfield on Saturday full of confidence following their bonus point victory over Eastbourne the previous week. They were underdogs but were keen to continue their recent improvement.
The game started and Medway immediately attacked. Good continuity through phases involving virtually every player saw the visitors cross early through Huw Collings for an unconverted try.
Medway continued to attack and totally dominated the first half. The scrummage was solid through Brice, Sandison and Johnson. With Anthony Cross dominating the lineout Medway were on the front foot and pinned the home side back. Alastair Lock and Douglas Ebanks were a constant threat.
With Medway dominating field position scoring chances came but solid defence from the home side ensured that Medway were unable to add to their early score. After 30 minutes Glenn Wadsworth finally increased the lead with a well struck penalty following offside at a ruck.
The visitors were on top, Green, Weobley and Ellis threatened the home line but Heathfield held out everything thrown at them until half time.
The second half started and the home side came out firing. Medway having been totally dominant lost focus and key players fell off some straight forward tackles. Heathfield were clinical taking full advantage and scored 24 points in a 15 minute period to undo all the hard work down by Medway in the first half.
Fresh legs were introduced in an effort to get back into the game. Billy Humphrey, Steve Young and Danny Williams all came on. Medway showed character and themselves carried the game to the home side in the last 15 minutes but the damage had been done and Heathfield deservedly closed the game out for the victory.
Medway, although improving as a team, must learn to play for the full 80 minutes. Even the home coach conceded that Medway looked much the better side for large parts of the game but that is not enough to win these tough games. Medway must complete the basics for the whole game if they are to continue their improvement.
Medway entertained Sussex side Eastbourne RFC on Saturday at the Priestfields ground. Eastbourne RFC had already defeated the local side earlier in the season by a single score and were looking to complete their first double of the season.
Medway played with the wind in the first half and despite this advantage went behind very early on. The ball went loose at a scrum after only 5 minutes near Medway’s line and Eastbourne reacted first to secure the opening score with an unconverted try.
The visitors continued to dominate the opening exchanges and Medway were forced to defend resolutely. Medway remained on the back foot for the next 20 minutes but eventually broke out. Good work from Alastair Lock and Luke Burns saw veteran flanker Malcolm Graves put away on the opposition 22m. To everyone’s delight Graves amazingly managed to go the distance and score a fine try converted by Glenn Wadsworth.
On 32 minutes with Medway dominating they increased they their lead and following two earlier missed penalty chances finally got their just reward when Glenn Wadsworth converted to put the half time lead at 10-5.
The second half was all Medway. Their high tempo and structure finally got on top of the robust visitors. Eastbourne RFC had two players sin binned in differing parts of the half and paid the price. Tries from the impressive Rob Ellis, young Douglas Ebanks and Glenn Wadsworth put Medway firmly in control and secured the valuable bonus point. Glenn Wadsworth converted two of the tries and the result was secured.
Medway RFC continued to press their Sussex visitors with Luke Burns, Tony Nolan and Anthony Cross looking very impressive. The home side’s second half dominance was finally secured from a catch and drive close to the
visitor’s line when the forwards provided the platform for Huw Collings to score an unconverted try.
Medway were value for their hard fought victory. Eastbourne were a strong and resilient team and the score line is probably a slightly harsh reflection of the game. The home side however proved to be the better side. Alastair lock was close to ‘man of the match’ but this accolade went to the sharpness of Rob Ellis.
Malcolm Graves and Ryan Dixon were impressive in the tight exchanges and youngster Douglas Ebanks continued to impress in his first outings as a Medway player.
Medway will be pleased with this bonus point victory which pushes them closer to guaranteeing their participation at this level next season.
Medway travelled to Crawley, Sussex on Saturday with a much depleted squad and almost came back with the spoils. With a number of regulars missing, Medway gave debuts to four players, Scott Clark, Paul Skelton, Rich Coney and young 17 year old Douglas E Banks.
The match was a see saw event of open rugby in poor underfoot conditions with the home side eventually running out the winners with the last play of the match but it could have gone either way.
Medway playing with the strong wind opened the scoring in first 3 minutes with an unconverted try through Captain Simon Green. Crawley hit back with a penalty then a converted try to lead 10-5.
Medway then regained the lead when young scrum half Sam Garofalo scampered over. Glenn Wadsworth added the conversion and Medway were back in front 12-10. The lead did not last long though, slack defence and strong running from the home side saw them score a try and go back in front 15-12.
Medway responded through the young Douglas E Banks. He capped a fine debut performance with a sharply taken try when he broke the home line defence. Wadsworth again added the conversion and Medway led 19-15.
With half time approaching Medway conceded again. Crawley broke down the right and although the winger appeared cover the tackle was broken and they scored an unconverted try to lead at half time 20-19.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first. Crawley were first on the score board. The home scrum half created the try with some sharp play and with the successful conversion were 27-19 ahead.
With the strong wind at their backs and a two score lead head Crawley
looked to seal the victory. They camped down in Medway’s 22m but Medway started to show some character. Some strong work from Liam Weobley, backed up by E Banks and the impressive Rob Ellis saw Medway break out. Eventually Medway were awarded a scrum on the home line. A solid scrum saw Medway drive for the line and Alastair Lock completed the touchdown for an unconverted try.
The home side down to 14 men, following a yellow card awarded for deliberate killing of the ball, conceded again when Rich Coney got outside the home defence and scored a well taken unconverted try. Medway now led 29- 27.
With only 5 minutes left Medway conceded hard earned possession twice allowing the home side one last play to steal the game. They took full advantage and scored an unconverted try under the posts to steal the game 34-29.
A pulsating game strewn with errors saw Medway leave with two bonus points but no victory.
Next week Medway face, another improving Sussex team, Eastbourne at Priestfields.
Medway entertained high flying Crowborough at Priestfields on Saturday in this London division return fixture. Medway were heavily defeated in the first encounter this season and were determined to improve on that performance.2Medway’s preparation for the game was dealt a blow on the morning of the match when hooker Billy Sandison was forced to withdraw. The game kicked off with Medway playing into a strong breeze.
Crowborough, a good rugby team playing with an excellent ethos, started well dominating field position and pressing the home line with the wind at their backs. Medway were then further hampered when influential second row Ben Johnson was forced to leave the field within 5 minutes of the start. He was replaced by Liam Weobley, playing his first game for two months.
Medway weathered Crowborough’s early pressure and from their own 22m line carried the ball out through a series of excellent phases and broke into the visitors 22 were they won a penalty. Glenn Wadsworth kicked the goal and Medway led 3-0.
Crowborough were straight back on the offensive from the kick off. They carried the ball up well through their particularly strong back row and centres. After 10 minutes Medway’s organised defence made an error in midfield and Crowborough were clinical they broke the line and scored an unconverted try to lead 5-3.
Medway, despite this set back, continued to play well against the powerful running of the visitors and with half time looming looked to be in a strong position for the second half. Anthony Cross, Medway’s solitary line out jumper following the loss of Johnson, was having a fine game.
The back row of impressive new signing Ryan Dixon together with Malcolm
Graves and Alastair Lock performed well and battled hard against the powerful opposition back row.
Medway’s good first half performance was then suddenly undone in the last five minutes of the half. A lack of concentration saw two missed tackles and two quick clinical unconverted tries scored by Crowborough and they went into half time in a dominant position leading 15-3. In truth it could have been worse but the visitors kicker was having an off day.
The second half started and Medway were keen to take the game to the visitors. Medway’s scrum with the front row of Sam Brice, Billy Humphrey and Lyam Johnson were performing well, that combined with Cross in the lineout saw Medway gaining enough set piece ball to take the game to the visitors.
Medway worked hard to try and get into the game. They took the game to the visitors and won a couple of penalties with Crowborough’s back penalised but these both narrowly missed. Crowborough came back out and pressed into the Medway half but their kicker was having a terrible day and they also missed good opportunities to increase their advantage.
The next score was a brilliant piece of individualism. Crowborough were camped in Medway’s 22 when Sam Garofalo broke blind and ran from his own 22m beating all the covering defenders to score a great solo try in the corner. Glenn Wadsworth landed the difficult conversion and Medway were back in it at 15-10.
Medway were keen to continue taking the game to the visitors and when trying to run a Crowborough kick ahead out from their own 22 were caught in possession from an excellent visitors kick chase. The turnover ball went wide and Crowborough scored an unconverted try and Medway again faced an uphill task being down 20-10.
Medway’s cause was then dealt a blow. Hooker Billy Humphrey was yellow carded, a little harshly, for offside and full back Ben Wadsworth was forced to leave the field with an injury. Stewart Stockford (who showed some good touches) replaced the unfortunate Wadsworth at full back.
Crowborough landed their only kick of the day with a further penalty to lead 23-10
Crowborough were confident and ran the ball powerfully at every opportunity. Medway down a man conceded a further unconverted try. The visitors were dominant at this stage and deserved the further unconverted score to lead 28-10.
With time running out Crowborough themselves were reduced to 14 players as their open side flanker, who had played on the edge all day, finally tested the patience of the referee too much and he saw yellow for repeated infringements at the ruck.
Medway showed character and another good series of phases saw Medway break out of their own half Ryan Dixon chipped through for Tony Nolan to score in the corner but the Crowborough defender took Nolan out a little too early and the referee awarded the penalty try. Glenn Wadsworth converted to put the final score of the game at 28-17.
Crowborough were in the truth the stronger of the two teams and fully deserved their victory. For Medway there was the consolation of an improved performance but also the knowledge that they have to concentrate defensively for the full 80 minutes. A couple of lapses were punished by a clinical Crowborough side.
EDF Energy Senior Vase, 27 November 2010
The start of this match was in jeopardy right up until 30 minutes before kick-off. Fortunately the temperature climbed sufficiently for the surface to become playable and the game went ahead. The visitors had problems getting a full team to the venue and started the match with two players short and despite a late arrival never at any time managed to get all 15 on the pitch.
Medway, for their part, gave opportunities to a number of squad players who have been pushing for selection. Kimble, Burns, May, French, all started with Coney coming off the bench with Cargill.
Despite their major handicap of numbers Mersea Island dug in, played robustly and took the game to the home side at every opportunity. The visiting team were a credit to their club on what was a difficult day for them.
Medway opened the scoring on 8 minutes when Rob Ellis was put away on the left in space by Simon Green and he ran round under the posts to score. Glen Wadsworth converted and the expectant home supporters thought that the depleted visitors would struggle. They did not. They dominated position kept it tight punched up short through their strong runners and not only equalised but went ahead with a try and two penalties.
Medway were not using the numerical advantage, were slack with their tackling and conceded too many penalties. It was not until the final play of the half that Medway regained the lead. Good quick ball from a series of rucks, with Sam Brice, Liam Johnson and Liam Weobley prominent, in the visitors 22 saw the scramble defence overrun the ball and Glenn Wadsworth broke inside to score under the posts for a try converted by him and a one point half time lead.
The half time team talk reminded the players on how to play against a
depleted side. Medway responded and scored five unanswered tries. Sam Garofalo, Tony Nolan (two) and another from Glenn Wadsworth were the scorers. Glenn Wadsworth had one conversion and Ben Wadsworth the other. Tony Nolan was unfortunate not to complete a hat-trick when he was unluckily adjudged to have knocked on when in fact he had kicked ahead.
Mersea Island to their credit never game up and showed great pride and fortitude. Outstanding for the visitors were their captain and loose head, openside flanker, fly half and centre. Great defence and some big hits kept the score down.
Medway were victors by 38 points to 13 and into the next round but know that they will have to improve for next weeks trip to Bromley in the league.
Medway travelled to South London on Saturday to take on unbeaten league leaders Charlton Park. The match was played on a pitch with a good playing surface and in fine weather conditions. Both sides were keen to continue their recent fine form.
The game kicked off and both sides went at each other looking to dominate their opposition but the well organised defences of each ensured that neither side were able to sustain any pressure.
Both teams had early penalty opportunities but each one sailed past the wrong side of the upright. The forwards of both sides battled hard, Liam Weobley in his first game back for a month was particularly prominent.
The Medway front row of Sam Brice, Billy Sandison and Lyam Johnson battled it out with the powerful home trio and more than held their own. The lineout was also an even battle with both sides turning the others throw over, Anthony Cross and Ben Johnson revelling in the competition.
The main threat in the home backs came from fleet footed centre Jake Smith but he was well marshalled by Medway’s captain Simon Green. The stalemate continued right up until the final play of the first half.
Charlton Park attacked down the Medway right and got within 5 metres of the try line. Medway counter-rucked and turned the ball over but were penalised harshly for coming in the side. The referee indicated there was no time for the lineout so the home side kicked for goal successfully through Sam Naden and went in at half time 3-0 ahead.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first. Both teams appeared evenly matched. Charlton Park appeared to kick a little more looking to put the ball behind Medway’s back three but Ben Wadsworth, Luke Burns and Ollie Cargill were solid.
Medway equalised when following some good interplay involving Stewart Stockford, Alastair Lock and Huw Collings the home side were penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Glen Wadsworth, who had a solid game, slotted the penalty to level the game.
Medway had a further great opportunity when Sam Garofalo made a fine break from a lineout, interplay between the forwards saw Ben Johnson attack the line. A fine defensive tackle prevented the score. Sadly for Medway Johnson was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury.
The game continued as a stalemate until the last 15 minutes. Charlton Park made the vital breakthrough. Medway lost a lineout on their throw and Charlton Park moved the ball wide, a series of quick balls from rucks saw the home side crash over in the corner for an unconverted try and lead 8-3.
Steve Young came on and was introduced replacing the tiring Lyam Johnson who had given his all in the tough up front battle.
Within a few minutes Medway were reduced to 14 men when flanker Huw Collings was unluckily sin binned by the referee for a high tackle. Having been stepped by the home centre an instinctive arm caught the player a little high but with no malice.
Charlton Park capitalised quickly and increased their lead to 10 points when some good driving play into the depleted visitors created the space for a further unconverted try out wide and a 13-3 lead.
Despite being down to 14 men Medway showed great character. They had played well enough and deserved to get something from the game.
With just 2 minutes remaining, deep in their own half they won a penalty. They kicked for touch and won the lineout on their own 10m line from there Medway again attacked the home midfield. The home side conceded a further penalty and Garofalo went quickly, good interplay from Glen Wadsworth and Simon Green saw the Medway win yet another penalty just outside the home 22m.
The referee indicated it was the last play of the game. Glen Wadsworth slotted the penalty and the final whistle went. A losing bonus point was
secured against the league leaders in a pulsating battle between two evenly matched sides. On balance the home side had a bit more of the game in the second half and just about deserved the victory but Medway can take heart from this. Although they lost, the level of performance is improving all the time and when Rhyneheart, Ellis, Nolan and Humphrey return to strengthen the squad Medway will become a threat to any team in the league.
Next week Medway have a break from league action when they take on Essex side Mersea Island RFC at Priestfields in the 3rd round of the EDF Senior Vase.
Medway entertained old Kent rivals Cranbrook in this London Division 3 encounter at Priestfields on Saturday. The match was played in damp soft underfoot conditions with Medway playing into the breeze in the first half.
The game kicked off and Medway immediately carried the game to the visitors. Medway’s front row of Sam Brice, Billy Sandison and Lyam Johnson dominated the early scrums putting the visitors under pressure. Anthony Cross and Ben Johnson secured good lineout ball and Alastair Lock backed up by Billy Humphrey carried well.
Good field position was maintained from the set piece which meant that Medway attacked the home line repeatedly. Despite spurning a couple of early two v ones Medway opened the scoring a good off load from Lyam Johnson saw Stewart Stockford put Captain Simon Green away for an unconverted try and a 5-0 lead.
Medway continued to dominate but the young Cranbrook team defended resolutely. On the 20 minute mark Medway increased their lead. Billy Sandison drove over in the corner following strong work from Brice, Lock and the Johnson brothers. The try was unconverted and the lead 10-0.
With these early scores and set piece dominance Medway should have gone on to put the game away in the first half however some basic errors at the breakdown saw Medway concede unnecessary penalties this with two glaring overlaps ignored meant that Cranbrook still had a foothold in the game.
Cranbrook began to maintain good field position and Medway were forced to defend. Stewart Stockford and Simon Green were solid in midfield against the dangerous and exciting Cranbrook back line. The back three of Tony Nolan, Rob Ellis and Ben Wadsworth worked hard to ensure the visitors did not get outside the home defence.
Cranbrook were rightly awarded three penalties for silly and unnecessary infringements in good kicking areas. Only one of these was taken and the half ended with Medway back on the front foot and 10-3 ahead.
The second half followed the pattern of the first. Medway dominated the set piece. Cranbrook struggled to get quality lineout ball with Cross and Johnson a thorn in their side. Medway continually attacked the visitor’s line. On the 50 minute mark they increased their lead.
A series of phases with good interplay orchestrated by Sam Garofalo between backs and forwards saw Alastair Lock eventually crash over for another unconverted try and a 15-3 lead.
Medway were playing well but Cranbrook continued to battle hard and in the set piece took a few balls against the head. Medway’s Billy Sandison was forced from the field through injury to be replaced by Kevin Kimble. His impact was immediate.
Kimble carried the ball up strongly getting over the gain line. Good support from Huw Collings, Billy Humphrey and Alastair Lock. Garofalo put the exciting Tony Nolan away he beat two defenders only for a magnificent last ditch tackle to prevent the try.
A few minutes later Nolan was once again denied a try by a great cover tackle following a fine run when he was put away by Glen Wadsworth. With all the pressure a try was coming. Medway were forced to re-shuffle the pack when Billy Humphrey left the field with an injury. The dependable Steve Young came on and was solid and reliable as ever.
The pressure from the home side was maintained and when Cranbrook infringed in front of their posts Simon Green took the penalty quickly and crashed over under the posts. The try secured the bonus point and was converted by Glen Wadsworth for a 22-3 lead.
The final try of the game was clinical, on the 70 minute mark Medway attacked through their forwards and sucked in the Cranbrook defence the ball went wide and Ben Wadsworth put Rob Ellis in for the unconverted try and seal the win at 27-3.
Ollie Cargill replaced Ellis immediately and was called into action straight away. Cranbrook played with pride and passion and attacked Medway, some good pick and drives and a kick behind saw Cargill turn forced to retrieve on his own line, good leg drive and assistance from Ben Wadsworth saw the threat averted.
The final passage of play saw the visitors continually attack the Medway line. Even with the game lost Cranbrook still looked to play good rugby. Only some big tackles from Stewart Stockford, Simon Green, Huw Collings and Sam Brice ensured that the Medway line was kept intact from the repeated short range Cranbrook attacks.
The final whistle went and Medway were the deserved victors. Next week Medway travel to table topping Charlton Park.
Following consecutive narrow defeats to Eastbourne and Heathfield & Waldron Medway travelled to Horsham on Saturday knowing their aspirations for this season were on the line. Horsham defeated Medway in all three encounters between the two sides last season and the visitors were under no illusions on the difficulties of the task.
Medway were strengthened by new signings Bill Sandison and Ben Johnson added to this the return of Bill Humphrey and the promotion of Luke Burns who had been performing well in the extras gave the side a much needed injection of grit and desire.
Playing into the breeze in the first half Medway were up against it and the home side dominated. Medway were forced to defend their own line vigorously against a number of pick and drives. Medway were frankly hanging on but slowly but surely the forwards found their feet.
The Medway front row of Lyam Johnson, Bill Sandison and Sam Brice clearly dominated their counterparts and this provided the platform for a breakout against the run of play. In the breakout Horsham were caught offside.
Medway kicked into the corner. The resultant lineout saw Sandison hit Ben Johnson, a catch and drive sucked in the opposition backs and crisp hands in midfield from Dafydd Ruffel and Glen Wadsworth saw Rob Ellis go over in the corner for the opening unconverted try.
Horsham came back and put their visitors on the back foot. Stout defending was again called for and Humphrey, Huw Collings and Alastair Lock were prominent in the forwards and Simon Green and Luke Burns looked solid in midfield.
On 22 minutes Medway went further ahead. A rare foray into the home sides half saw a penalty awarded. A quick tap from Captain Simon Green saw Billy Humphrey feed Ben Johnson who powered over for a well taken try converted by Glen Wadsworth and Medway were ahead 12-0.
Horsham did not fold. They responded immediately. Medway were penalised for handling in a ruck having failed to clear their lines from the kick off. Horsham kicked to the corner and after a number of drives went over for a deserved unconverted try.
The next ten minutes saw both sides try to assert their authority. Medway dominated the scrum and also started to take control in the lineout. Both Ben Johnson and Anthony Cross forced turnovers on the home side’s lineout throw. Medway although playing against the wind but with dominance in the set piece started to regularly threaten the home line.
A sustained period of pressure eventually told when Huw Collings drove over from a ruck just short of Horsham’s line. The conversion failed but Medway went into half time ahead 17-5. A great half considering the pressure they absorbed and the strong wind they played into.
The second half started and with the wind at their backs Medway dominated set piece and field position. Medway had a number of clear cut scoring opportunities but poor decision making inside meant that the scoreboard was untroubled. Medway will have to learn from this if they are to continue their improvement.
Despite Medway’s dominance it was not until the 59th minute that the visitors added to their tally. Horsham were attacking when the ball went loose the impressive Tony Nolan gathered and beating defenders ran deep into the opposition half before putting the ever improving Sam Garofalo away and over for the try converted by Glen Wadsworth.
Medway now led 24-5 but again Horsham showed their character. Despite playing into the wind they ran everything and got the reward they deserved on 63 minutes. Good driving play and sharp reactions saw them go over from short distance. The try was unconverted.
With 10 minutes remaining Medway extended their lead. The ever dangerous Glen Wadsworth broke the home line after good work from Green and Burns then fed Tony Nolan who outpaced the home cover defence to score the unconverted try in the corner and Medway led 29-10.
With 9 minutes remaining Glen Wadsworth was replaced by his brother Ben and Steve Young replaced Lyam Johnson. The game in the final throes saw both sides playing with freedom.
The final word went to the home side as showing good character their replacement winger kicked behind the Medway defence. Lazy cover defence with the game won allowed the home side to score with the last play of the game. The try was well converted to make the final score 29-17 to the visitors Medway.
This was an excellent victory for Medway on the road but they will need to be much sharper and clinical if they are to climb the league.
Next week London South Africa visit Priestfield in the EDF Senior Vase.
London SE 3, 23 October 2010
Medway entertained Sussex side Heathfield and Waldron at Priestfield on Saturday. These two sides were evenly matched in this league last season and it was no different this year. Both sides had players missing but still served up a game in doubt right up to the final whistle.
Medway started much the better and totally dominated the opening exchanges. The forwards looked strong with Sam Brice, Lyam Johnson, Malcolm Graves and Alastair Lock prominent in the contact areas.
Two early Dafydd Ruffell penalties either side of an excellent drop goal by Glen Wadsworth in this first 15 minutes saw Medway ahead deservedly 9-0 however they would rue missing two clear cut try scoring opportunities.
As the game progressed the visitors started to get into the game. Medway’s normally reliable lineout was not functioning and some soft penalties given away saw Heathfield and Waldron on the front foot. A missed tackle in midfield saw the visitors score in the corner and with a great touchline conversion they went in to half time only 9-7 down.
The second half opened up in disastrous fashion for the home side, a midfield error saw H & W score after just 2 minutes to go 12-9 up with an unconverted try.
Medway came back 8 minutes later when Rob Ellis went over wide out for an unconverted try following good work from Malcolm Graves, Sam Garofalo and Glen Wadsworth . Having got the lead again Medway looked to push on but key decisions saw overlaps frustratingly ignored.
The visitors were strong and together with some silly penalties conceded by Medway this allowed Heathfield to dominate field position and hammer away at the home defence.
On the hour mark after a period of sustained pressure they attacked down the left and went over for a well taken converted try and a 19-14 lead. The match then went end to end as both teams looked to attack at every opportunity.
The last 5 minutes saw Medway dominate as they desperately looked for a way back. Despite this domination Heathfield’s defence held firm and the game was lost.
Medway travel to Horsham next week and will be seeking an improved performance.
London SE 3, 9 October 2010
Medway travelled to Eastbourne on Saturday on the back of a solid win the week before. Although still missing the Wadsworth brothers, Rhyneart , Graves and Stockford the team had prepared well and were looking to get a positive result.
The game kicked off and Eastbourne immediately put their visitors under pressure. A flashpoint occurred and some indiscipline from hooker Billy Humphrey in front of the referee saw him rightly sin binned for 10 minutes.
Medway defending and down to fourteen men conceded three points from the Humphrey incident and this was followed by a try from the home’s powerful No 8. A quickly tapped penalty followed by a missed tackle saw the 8 crash over. This put the home side up 8-0. Eastbourne were dominant and deserved their lead.
As the half wore on Medway came more and more into the game. Good runs from Alastair Lock and Liam Weobley backed up by Sam Brice and Dominic Collins put the visitors on the front foot.
Medway were pressuring the home line consistently. Weobley drove over but was held up. From the scrum Lock was stopped short. Despite all the pressure from the visiting forwards the home side defended well and cleared their lines.
Medway continued to press and came back through an attack down the right. A good clear out from the forwards saw Sam Garofalo put winger Tony Nolan away. He finished sharply and went round behind the posts. Dafydd Ruffell converted to make the score 8-7.
Medway were carrying and off loading well and as they pressed again Eastbourne conceded a penalty following good work from Lyam Johnson and Huw Collings. Ruffell converted to give Medway the half time lead at 10-8.
The second half saw Eastbourne up their game. Medway’s cause was not helped when Lyam Johnson was forced to leave the field with a back injury and shortly after the powerful Liam Weobley was also forced off with a heavy knock. Paul Morant and Owen Jones joined the fray and acquitted themselves well.
Medway then made a handling error in midfield Eastbourne re-gathered and attacked the Medway line. Medway conceded a lineout and Eastbourne won the ball and drove over for an unconverted try.
Eastbourne continued to press and in front of their posts Medway conceded a penalty which their No 8 took quickly and crashed over for a converted try and a 20-10 lead.
Medway did not give up they continued to attack the home side. Ellis was put away three times only to be forced out by good cover defence from Eastbourne. Nolan should have had chances but the players inside did not release the ball.
The last 10 minutes saw Medway dominate, Eastbourne conceded penalties but all Medway could get was a single converted penalty from Ruffell to make the final score 20-13 to the home side. Medway will be disappointed and will have to work on their basics to improve. Credit the home side who on balance deserved to win.
Next week sees a break from the league programme and the lay-off will allow Medway to work on their basics and get some players back to bolster the competition for places.
Medway entertained Crawley at Priestfield on Saturday in damp and greasy conditions. Crawley newly promoted into the league this season having last season been Sussex Division 1 Champions have had a difficult start and like Medway have struggled with injuries.
Medway started the better of the two sides but poor handling let them down time and again meaning they were unable to capitalise on their set piece dominance. Humphrey and Collings were combining well in the lineout and Johnson and Brice were dominating their opponents in the scrum.
The first score of the day came from a penalty when Crawley were caught offside at a ruck. Dafydd Ruffel, who kicked well all through the game, converted the penalty to put the home side 3-0 ahead.
Medway continued to press but the combination of good Crawley defence and poor handling meant the scoreboard was untroubled.
Crawley were not without their own opportunities. Crawley’s back row led by their no 8 and their strong running centres often got them into good positions but Medway defended well with Malcolm Graves and Huw Collings and Liam Weobley particularly prominent.
On the 32 minute mark Medway struck again. Rob Ellis on his comeback broke down the left wing, good support saw the forwards provided quick ball some good carries by Weobley, Lyam Johnson and Kevin Kimble saw Medway drive close to the line when Sam Brice picked the ball and crashed over. Dafydd Ruffel added the conversion from wide out and Medway led 10-0.
From the kick off Medway again attacked their visitors. Alastair Lock was particularly prominent (as he was all game) with his ball carrying and from one such carry Sam Garofalo fed the powerful Weobley who broke tackles and crashed over for Medway’s second try. Ruffel again converted to make the half time score 17-0.
The second half saw Medway add an early penalty through Ruffel for offside to lead 20-0. With the game safe Medway were looking to add two more tries for the bonus point. Again poor handling and decision making meant that numerous opportunities were spurned.
Crawley for their part showed character and resolve. Changes to their front row saw their set piece improve and with their No 8 carrying well and for periods of time were camped in Medway’s 22. Sound defence once again from Ollie Cargill, Simon Green, Ben Barter and Malcolm Graves kept the visitors from scoring.
Medway added young Glen Stapleton to the fray after 60 minutes. Medway broke out from the Crawley pressure and when the Alastair Lock’s powerful run came to an end the ball eventually found its way to the ever dangerous Tony Nolan who rounded the defence to score a well taken try.
Medway were ahead 25-0, had three tries in the bag but with time running out the bonus eluded them. Crawley battled to the end and denied Medway their first bonus point of the season.
Despite their third win in four games Medway will have number of points to work on prior to their next outing away to Eastbourne next week if they are to be successful.
Medway travelled to in-form Crowborough on Saturday with both sides having won their opening games.
Medway’s good start however had been undermined, injuries to severalfirst choice players including Sam Brice, Rob Ellis, Luke Burns and Roger Rhyneart allowed the club to give debuts to Craig Drummond, Lyam Johnson, and James May. Kevin Kimble moved from Tight Head to Loose Head, Huw Collings moved to No 8, Ollie Cargill moved from centre to wing and Tony Nolan from wing to full back.
With not ideal preparation Medway were soon found out by a vibrant home side who played with gusto and determination. From the first lineout of the match a simple ball off the top to a runner saw him slice through the visitors lack lustre defence. Two more tries followed quickly with Medway on the back foot.
As the half wore on Medway started to secure ball from the set piece through Cross in the lineout and a solid scrummage with new boy Lyam Johnson prominent at Tight Head.
Medway were now taking the game to the home side and with the pressure the visitors eventually got on the score sheet with a well taken try by young Sam Garofalo following good interplay from forwards and backs. This was unconverted.
As the pressure mounted the home side were penalised time and again for killing the ball. The referee on the 8th consecutive offence sin binned one of the home players. A second followed four minutes later for again killing the ball at the ruck.
Medway did not capitalise. Three penalties at goal were missed and a catch and drive on the visitors line with a two man advantage was knocked on. To compound this Medway inexplicably kicked the ball away twice during the two man advantage period when running at the opposition line. Credit mustgo to Crowborough who defended stoutly with passion and determination.
With Medway failing to score during this period either side of half time the game was lost. Medway’s misery on the day was compounded when fly half Glen Wadsworth was late tackled into touch. He tried to play on but a hospital visit later confirmed that he will be out for sometime visiting the fracture clinic. Wadsworth subsequently left the field being replaced by Dafydd Ruffell, playing his first game of the season. Medway failed to score from the resultant penalty.
Crowborough soon had a man advantage themselves when Huw Collings was sin binned for offside at the ruck. As the yellow card was being shown to the Medway player and Captain, Crowborough took a quick tap penalty. Medway stood still expecting the referee to signal a re-start, the referee inexplicably allowed the score under the posts and Crowborough had the bonus point win. The referee was gracious post match and apologised for his error. In truth it did not affect the match outcome.
Medway’s problems did not finish there. Steve Young on as a replacement was adjusted to have rucked on the head of a home player, again killing the ball, on his own line. The referee had no choice but show the red card and Medway were reduced to fourteen men. There can be no complaints if the head was subjected to the boot of Young as he has a duty of care to his fellow player. Medway await the referee’s report.
Crowborough deservedly ran out convincing winners by 39-5. They are by far the best side Medway have faced so far this season and no doubt will be aspiring for top honours. Medway have to re-group and sharpen their act up.
London SE 3, 11 September 2010
Medway travelled away to Kent rivals Park House on Saturday for this seasons opening fixture. The visitors were under no illusions on how difficult the trip was going to be, having lost narrowly in last season’s corresponding game.
The match kicked off and Medway quickly fell behind 3-0 after just 5 minutes when they were penalised for offside in front of the posts. The home kicker made no mistake.
Medway responded after 12 minutes when good ball won from a set piece saw Sam Garofalo provide a quality service, the backs opened up the home defence and the impressive Tony Nolan put Luke Burns over in the corner for an unconverted try.
The half continued with Medway stretching the home side with every possession. Good offloading by Simon Green, Ben Wadsworth and Ollie Cargill supported by Alastair Lock and Sam Brice maintained the high tempo.
Medway got their reward after 20 minutes. Following a series of attacks in midfield with Sam Brice, Kevin Kimble, Huw Collings and Dominic Collins prominent, the ball was spun right for Billy Humphrey to put Roger Rhyneart over in the other corner for another unconverted try and Medway led 10-3.
Medway continued to pile on the pressure and 6 minutes later Tony Nolan scored. Good quality ball from the forwards and Garofalo saw Glen Wadsworth put Nolan through and he stepped the full back to score an excellent try. Glen Wadsworth converted and Medway led 17-3.
With just 26 minutes gone and Medway three tries up the home changed tactics. Having tried to play a 15 man game and conceding the tries the home coaches called for a much tighter style of game from their team.
Park House looked to retain the ball at all times, continually picking and driving and crashing up using their strong running inside centre. This behind a solid scrummaging performance saw the game become one of attrition.
Park House had the bulk of the possession but Medway held firm. Their lineout functioned well with Anthony Cross featuring on both his and the opposition ball.
The second half saw Park House using their big forwards continually as they took the ball up and put Medway on the back foot. The only score of the second half saw Glen Wadsworth kick a penalty when the home side held onto the ball in the tackle area after 50 minutes.
The last 20 minutes of the game was all Park House. They retained the ball well keeping it very tight and camped in Medway’s 22 for the final quarter of the game. Medway introduced fresh legs in Steve Young and Peter Corker and the defence held firm.
Despite being on the visitors' line time and time again the Medway defence held. Great defensive work from Brice, Collins, Collings, Lock, Humphrey, Young and Corker frustrated the home side and they will be disappointed not to have breached the visitors' defence.
Despite not getting the bonus point Medway will be very happy with the away win and the solidity of their defence which was severely tested by a strong Park House team.
Pre-season Friendly v Dover
Medway's 1st XV played their first pre-season friendly against a very strong Dover side bristling with county representative players and although soundly beaten by 10 tries to 2 there were a lot of positives to come from the game. Dover showed their class and the style and type of rugby that this developing Medway team must aspire to.
With notable performances from 18 year olds Sam Garofalo, Josh King, and Miles making their debuts combined with the debuts of the more experienced Tony Nolan and Alastair Lock it showed that Medway will be a much stronger squad this season. With the return of Rhyneheart, Collins, Stockford, Karol, Ruffel and Burns to the squad over the next few weeks competition for places and the strength of the team will grow.
Coach Taff Gwilliam said" this is the toughest of friendlies we could possibly start with. Dover are the top non- national league team in the South East of England and they paid us the compliment of putting out their strongest side (Collins apart). They are a quality outfit well coached and organised and with a lot of talented players. I am not disappointed with the performance. We had a reality check of where we need to be in the near future. We will be better for the experience ".