Medway Ladies welcomed Lewes on Sunday 11th November, both squads with a full 15 each side.
Medway dominated the first 10 minutes of the game, with an excellent drop kick by Leanne Ogston, allowing Medway to push up to Lewes, the ball being caught by Winger Charlie Ward. Lewes desperately trying to defend their try line, but with a strong attack by Medway, and quick hands from the team, allowing Lauren Harris to charge through and score her first try for Medway!
Lewes came fighting back, with a powerful drop kick into Medway, which resulted in a Lewes Scrum. Medways strong pack managed to turn the ball around, allowing a powerful kick by Ogston back to the Lewes, who had a lucky break through our defence line to score there first try, bringing the score to 5-5
Medway was not disheartened, with excellent communication & running by our forwards Gemma Duncan and Aly Smith, ensured the ball back down to Lewes 22 line, with quick hands from Casey to our long lost pal Lesley Thompson to crash through and score another try for Medway.
Half Time score 10-5 to Medway
Lewes dominated the second half of the game, with brilliant footwork and ball handling skills down to Medway, they managed to get over Medways try line, but unlucky for them they run straight into Tina Martin, who managed to hold their player up and saved Medways score who was still in the lead.
Lewes still came fighting back, still dominating Medways half, with a few mistakes made by Medway, Lewes manages to score bringing the score to 10-10.
Now the game became even, Lewes came back at Medway scoring another try to bring the game to 15-10 to Lewes.
Medway came together, and rapid decisions made by our scrum half Ann on penalties, enabled Medway to push up and pressure Lewes into leaving a nice big gap for Caroline to score a try for Medway! Bringing the score to 15-15
With minutes till the final whistle, Lewes kicked the ball straight into Tina’s hands, and with a smart pop of the ball to our speedy Charlotte to run straight pass Lewes to score the winning try for Medway! No matter how tough things get, Medway will not allow their head to drop and will play to the very end!! Massive well done to every single player who played with pride for Medway!! Well done girls!!!!
Final Score 20-15 TO MEDWAY!!!!
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Medway ladies had their first match of 15s this weekend as they welcomed the Sussex side who actually had a full team, unlike any of their previous opponents this season. The familiar squad joined by returning lock Emily Bambridge and fellow lock Sharn Watson, who had turned 18 since Medway's last game and was now mixing it with the big girls!
The match started well, with Medway kicking to the opponents who had the bright afternoon sun in their eyes. Medway pushed up from the off and the pressure forced Worthing into handling errors. Flanker Jess Thorne stole the ball and once it reached winger Charly Ward the only place it was going was down in the try zone as she carved through half of the opposition to score, first blood to Medway; 5-0.
The next attack was as brief as it was beautiful, a replica of the first, this time down the left wing where some quick hands and good communication between centres Hannah Mackenzie and Caroline “The Donkey” Jordan saw Old Big Ears going over for try number 2 to the home team, ably converted by winger Nicole McKeating.
Medway's monopoly continued as they appeared to have the upper hand with no8 Gemma Duncan going over, converted in style by Jess Thorne and then, Old Big Ears ran through again to score Medway's fourth.
At 20-0 Worthing seemed to wake up and really joined the game. Medway's defensive line stood up admirably, as they were tested time & time again by the visitors, also this period of play saw some outstanding play by both starting 2nd row players, Erin McKeating & Emily Bambridge. Medway impeded themselves when, following a period of possession by Worthing within the Medway 22, Fly-half & Captain Leanne Ogston kicked the ball out of the danger zone and up field - fullback Sandie Thompson raced speedily onto it and caught it off an irregular bounce when Charly Ward decided to turn straight into her! It’s the opposition you’re supposed to tackle Charly! And then scrum half Anne Robertson found time to have a quick lie down on the pitch, perhaps the phantom foot grabber had struck again?!
The game proceeded in a similar vein for the remainder of the half – with Worthing really bringing the fight to Medway, but the home team kept a clean sheet – despite a few fumbled balls and the worst kick in the world (note to Sandie, in order to complete the kick you have to actually connect with the ball!) With the score at 24-0, the half time whistle blew & both teams welcomed the break.
The game resumed as it had ended – with the pitch bathed in glorious sunshine, only this time Medway had the sun in their faces and Worthing clearly had the bit between their teeth. They came out fighting and seemed a different team. Control of the ball was batted back and forth and both teams made errors, Medway however kept the referee's whistle busy when they appeared to suffer a little memory loss regarding some of the finer rules of the game (such as offside & in at the side of a ruck) and the referee helpfully pointed this out by awarding the odd penalty here & there.
The scrums were the fulcrum of possession and neither team gave any ground – Medway's front row; Props Lauren Harris & Natalie Jemmett and Hooker Kaycee Stoner gave Worthings front row no purchase at any time. A prolonged period of play within Medway's 22, with numerous penalties conceded by the home team and the ref threatening a penalty try for the next penalty put Medway in an uneasy predicament and despite some desperate defending, within a minute Worthing broke through to score an unconverted try.
This event woke Medway from their penalty strewn slumber and had an inspiring effect. They struck back straight away, some simple hands passing down the back line saw Old Big Ears get the ball out to Charly Ward who went over to bring the score to 29-5.
The last 10 minutes saw replacement Winger Selina Parkes come within inches of the line and soon after, following some superb rucking, replacement lock Sharn Watson decided that she wanted her first senior try and with ball in hand she deftly sidestepped and ran through Worthings defence to put the ball down, congratulations Sharn & welcome to the Muggys!
In the dying minutes Worthing tried to come back with some good attacking play and they were down at Medway's try line when a large, imposing Worthing forward crossed the line – but whilst she was in motion the ball had been ripped by a crafty Medway “lightweight” back, the final whistle was then blown and Medway were victorious once more!
TEAM: Natalie Jemmett, Kaycee Stoner, Lauren Harris, Erin McKeating, Emily Bambridge, Ronel Steyn, Jessica Thorne(1 conversion), Gemma Duncan (1 try), Anne Robertson, Leanne Ogston (C ), Nicole McKeating (1 conversion), Caroline Jordan (2 tries), Hannah Mackenzie, Charly Ward (2 tries) and Sandie Thompson
Replacements: Sharn Watson 1(try) and Selina Parkes
A blustery wet afternoon awaited Medway Ladies as they prepared for their home match against Dover this weekend. Dover, who had notified just the previous day, that they could only field enough players for a 12’s match, turned up late due to the inclement weather and were unfortunately down to 10 players owing to a mechanical breakdown on the M2. The referee agreed that the game could commence and Medway did not have to match them and would proceed with 12 players. Dover decided to play, rather than concede, after travelling all the way up from the coast. At this point the weather decided to worsen too.
Medway kicked off into the monsoon and Dover opted to run the ball back, showing from the off that they were determined to fight for every inch of turf, but Medways’ advantage in numbers was soon displayed as after a turnover ball was won, winger Charly Ward showed that she was glad to return to the back line after last weeks’ game in the forwards and set off down the right wing at a fine pace, showing a clean pair of heels to the opposition. A beautiful first try was scored; unfortunately due to the tight angle, prop Alison Smith was unable to convert the try.
The play progressed in a similar fashion Medway mainly in possession, but coming up against the might of the Dover defence on a regular basis but Medways superiority shone through as hooker Tina Martin ran onto a kick by fly half & Captain Leanne Ogston, collected the ball and scored the second try. 10-0 to Medway as the inclement weather once again denied Alison Smith the extra 2 points. However, she was the next to grab another try after a well executed backs move found her in the right place at the right time to score the third try, which she once again lost the battle against the wind & driving rain, 15-0 to Medway. Medway now had the bit firmly between their teeth as Tina Martin added another try and Alison converted beautifully this time, 22-0 to the home team.
Dover showed their frustration with some slightly dubious tactics that the referee was unaware of, but Medway did not get drawn into this and kept their head in the game to drive on quickly and nearing the half time whistle recent recruit Charlotte Jones ran over Dovers’ try line once more, the wind swirled around and denied Medway the conversion yet again. Some ball handling errors then led to a scrum right on half time and as the play took place the scrum collapsed with 3 injuries, the referee blew for half time.
Within a few minutes it became apparent that a front row Dover player had been too badly injured to continue, and with no front row replacement the referee abandoned the game. Whether the result is allowed to stand or has to be replayed no one can seem to answer currently, one thing is certain though Medway Ladies have had a very positive start to the season and currently sit at the top of their league after 3 games. Come on Medway – let’s keep this momentum going.
How do you start a match report with a score line like this? How do you begin to remember, let alone list, the 14 try scorers, the 6 conversions? How do you distinguish between the try scored from a crafty interception two-thirds of the pitch away from the try line, or the entertaining “Gazza” style kick over the top of the defenders head, then caught by the same player who went on to score on her birthday (humble apologies for the round ball reference)?
Well, let’s start with the bad. Bad luck that is. Due to the unavailability of players and injuries sustained in last weeks’ game we were forced to play 12’s, and had only 3 experienced forwards, another 2 had popped their rugby cherries the previous week, and then a brave back stepped up to the mark. After 10 minutes pitch side coaching they were good to go. Our scrum bravely did what it could and stood up admirably, but with a brand new hooker, a back in the 2nd row alongside a lock with only 40 minutes experience and the other lock playing at no. 8, 20 minutes into the match it was decided for safety that uncontested scrums was the only option.
Now we’ll move onto the ugly. It’s the kindest way to describe the scene. Picture a line of glory-hunting backs, wearing the scarlet & old gold, hungrily waiting on the defensive line, for the ball to pop out of the back of the uncontested scrum, so that they can charge up on their opponents, with the knowledge that the pressure will force a ball handling error, you could almost smell the confidence they had, which increased as each minute of the game ticked by and their dominance showed as they unashamedly scored try after try. It was as beautiful to all Medway supporters as it was ugly to the opposition. And there is no shame in such a large victory, we should be damn proud of every single point that we ran in and kicked through the sticks.
So what is the good in this report I can hear you wondering? What can better the tale I have told of salivating backs ruthlessly carving their way through an opposition pouncing mercilessly on every error? Is it the amazing support of the forwards whose commitment to summer training displayed their ability to ruck & maul and then slot into the offensive line and provide support running to the try scorers? Is it the dedication of the new players, and all those playing out of position? No, true to form, Medway Ladies showed their skill to perform comical cock-ups on the pitch alongside the ability to whitewash an opposition. The only debate is which one will get a mention at the end of season dinner in the nominations for the Silly Cow award. Will it be the amazing Nicole McKeating ballet style non-catch of the ball where the ball sailed clean through her gracefully outstretched hands as she performed an elegant jump at the moment the ball bounced into touch? Or perhaps the Keystone Cops moment when new player & first time hooker Kaycee Stoner bent to gather the ball from the back of the ruck as fly half & captain Leanne Ogston decided that the ball must be gone and stepped back from the ruck and promptly fell over the hunched over Kaycee and subsequently sat on her head ( at which point the author of this article confesses to doubling over herself with laughter). Or perhaps it was the bumbling veteran Sandie Thompson who showed all the hand to eye coordination of a blind muppet as a loose ball bounced slowly towards her on the ground, she bent to gather it and literally grabbed nothing but air as she watched it bounce between her legs and out into touch – the moral of that story is to keep your legs closed Sandie! And our final contestant is previously mentioned Leanne Ogston again, as she successfully picked up a loose ball that our opponents had fumbled, and circled out of the oppositions reach to deliver another of her up field kicks for winger Sandie Thompson to run onto. Unfortunately she appeared to have the navigational skills of centre Caroline Jordan and promptly slotted the ball superbly in front of her and then realised she was facing 90 degrees left of the posts and the ball flew over touch onto the pitch next to us.
The match facts are listed below but I would like to mention, although our opposition had a player sin binned for the final six minutes of the match, our hosts were extremely gracious in defeat and retained their sense of humour, at one point even asking if it was their turn to score yet! And we were surprised as we walked into the clubhouse to find some of them in the kitchen serving the after match meal and another two behind the bar, that’s true dedication!
Team: Alison Smith (6 conv), Kaycee Stoner, Lauren Harris, Erin McKeating, Charly Ward (2 tries), Gemma Duncan, Tina Martin (2 tries), Leanne Ogston (C ), Nicole McKeating, Caroline Jordan (2 tries), Charlotte Jones (4 tries) and Sandie Thompson (4 tries)
Sunshine and soaring temperatures saw Medway Ladies start off their league season with a fiercely contested home game against Canterbury Ladies at Priestfields on Sunday. With both teams finishing well last season and looking to start the league in winning form, it was to be a tough match from the outset.
From the whistle, Canterbury attacked and quickly worked their way into Medway's 22 where prop Alison Smith and outside-centre Caroline Jordan held off the visitors with try-saving tackles. Powerful forward play saw the ball turned over to allow Medway the opportunity to move up-field where fly-half and captain Leanne Ogston used a great clearance kick to put Medway back into attacking territory.
Continual phase- play from the forwards kept the home side in a positive position and new recruit Kaycee Stoner used great initiative to pick up a quick ball knocked loose from the back of a maul and pass it straight out to the backs where quick hands got the ball out wide landing an unfortunate forward pass to winger Nicole McKeating for a disallowed try. The referee called for quarterly breaks to allow extra water on the extraordinarily warm day. When play resumed, Medway continued to dominate in attack and a No.8 pick up at the back of the scrum by Suzie Williams gave Medway an overlap which was exploited to ship the ball down the line where second row Gemma Duncan crashed through to get Medway officially on the scoreboard. A successful conversion by Smith made the score 7 – 0 going into the second quarter.
First game work-ons were evident as both teams conceded penalties which Canterbury exploited – scoring shortly after Medway to level the score. Canterbury continued on the attack and kept play in Medway's half where the home team stayed strong in defence with dominant tackles by Charley ward and Tina Martin ensured Canterbury had no way through.
Fresh legs at half time from Ronel Steyn and returning player Jess Thorne brought renewed vigour to the home side and Medway continued to show their dominance – especially in the scrums where new player Erin McKeating made an impressive impact playing at second row, and experienced Scrum half Ann Robertson was crucial in delivering quick ball to the backs. A passage of great work by the forwards got Medway into a strong position where the backs executed an impressive passage of play to ship the ball out to newcomer Charlotte Jones who angled a powerful run to slice through Canterbury's defence and take the score to 12-7.
Further errors brought more penalties where Canterbury once again seized the opportunity to edge out in front with the scoring. They came back strong and scored again shortly after, taking the score to 12-19.
With less than 15minutes to go, the home side kept focused and were determined to get back in the game – and on the scoreboard! With Medway's now impenetrable defence they were back on the attack where linking support play was crucial in getting the ball to full back Sandie Thompson who used great footwork to secure Medway's final try – ending the match at 19-19.
Team: Alison Smith, Lauren Harris, Caroline Jordon, Suzie Williams, Ann Robertson, Leanne Ogston (C), Charlie Ward, Sasha Bloomfield, Gemma Duncan, Tina Martin, Nicole McKeating, Ronel Steyn, Charlotte Jones, Jess Thorne, Erin McKeating, Kaycee Stoner, Sandie Thompson and Debbie McCormack.
Medway Ladies next game is away to Beccehamian Ladies on 16th September.
If you are interested in playing Women's rugby the Ladies team train on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 7pm at Medway RFC. Please feel free to come along - all abilities welcome.
For more information please contact Tina Stone on 07972101770.