Robin Everest Memorial Trophy
With both Medway’s and Sheppeys’ First XV’s having a very busy season, the honour of taking part in this annual fixture and competing for the Robin Everest Memorial Trophy fell to the clubs respective U16’s sides. The teams had met at various Kent tournaments during the course of the season with honours pretty much even and so this final match, played on Medway’s First XV pitch, under floodlights and with a good crowd, was much anticipated.
The game started at a very high tempo and it soon became clear that the Sheppey pack were a strong and well drilled unit. Indeed the first ten minutes saw them camped in the Medway twenty-two and looking threatening until they lost possession through some good counter rucking from the Medway forwards. A long clearance kick from Ben Clayphan and an excellent chase and tackle from winger Matt Brightman saw the Sheppey full back miscue his kick to Medway’s full back Rhys Burns who ran the ball straight back for the first try of the game. Ben Clayphan converted and Medway were leading 7 – 0. Their lead was extended to 12 – 0 when Mitchell Dent crossed the line following some good forwards pressure and quick, sure passing from the backs. Sheppey came straight back as their forwards again built up pressure with a number of determined pick and drives and they were soon on the score sheet to make it 12 – 5. Medway gained possession from the restart and were rewarded with yet another Mitchell Dent try as the forwards again set a solid foundation for the backs to work from. With the score now at 17 – 5 Sheppey again rallied and enjoyed their most prolonged period of pressure of the match with their forwards again controlling possession and looking more and more threatening. Despite some good Medway defence, the pressure told as they drove over for their second try to make the half time score 17 – 10 with the prospect of an exciting second half.
Medway were on the attack right from the start of the second half and the pace and handling skills of the backs really began to tell. Matt Brightman was the first to score touching down in the corner following yet another move that involved the entire back line and this was quickly followed by a try for Ben Clayphan as he broke away from the base of a ruck to dive over. Having converted his own try the score now stood at 29 – 10. This cushion increased Medway’s confidence and they began to play some of their most impressive rugby of the season using good ball retention by the forwards and then exploiting the width of the pitch to set their very quick back line free. The forwards were now beginning to apply some pressure of their own and Adam Barnett, being the only person to see the ball roll out of a ruck, couldn’t believe his luck as he picked it up and ran the twenty yards to the line unopposed. The score was now 34 – 10 but Medway weren’t finished yet. Matt Cross was next to score with a brilliant solo effort, chipping the ball over the oncoming defensive line and collecting the kick to touch down under the posts.
Ben Clayphan converted to make it 41 – 10. Sheppey regrouped and to their credit they kept going, determined to give it their all to the final whistle. They spent the last ten minutes of the match where they had spent the first ten – applying pressure and trying everything to score but Medway’s scrambling defence held and the last play of the game saw Freddie Taylor clear their lines with an excellent kick back into the Sheppey twenty two. Matt Brightman again showed his pace as he charged off after the kick, tackling the Sheppey full back as he took the ball causing him to fumble it. Rhys Burns and Mitchell Dent had all followed up in support but it was Matt Cross who secured it and touched down under the posts. With the final kick of the game, Ben Clayphan converted and although Medway had won 48 – 10, Sheppey had fought hard all the way displaying discipline and good skills.
This was a great evening, not just because of the good quality of rugby on display but because of the spirit that it was played in. Both sides gave it their all and can be rightly proud of their contribution but it was as much the friendly and respectful atmosphere after the game that spoke volumes about the two clubs and their U16’s. Mark Marriot (Medway’s Director of Rugby) announced the two men of the match – Mitchell Dent (Medway) and Matthew Golding (Sheppey) - and Steve Everest (Robin’s son) presented the trophy to Medway’s captain Ben Clayphan making it in total five wins to Sheppey and now four to Medway.
P.S – Thank You’s
This was Ben’s last match for Medway as he is moving to Norfolk. He will be sorely missed but we will stay in touch and he will always be very welcome at Medway RFC. Good luck Ben and thank you for your immense contribution to the development of the team this season.
As this is the last match report of the season, we must also say a huge thank you to coaches Tony Ellis and Gary Crittenden and manager Caroline Murray for all their hard work throughout this difficult season. Hopefully it will all pay dividends next season
Thanks also to the Mums, Dads, brothers, sisters and other supporters who have all been very patient this season and have always stood and cheered and encouraged the team no matter what the weather or the result.
And, finally to the entire U16’s squad. You should all be proud of the way that you have responded this season. You have stuck together through thick and thin and win, lose or draw you’ve done it as a TEAM. Well done and thank you for your commitment.
Stay fit lads !! We’ll let you know about summer training in due course.
Don’t forget who we are – You, Your Team Mate, Your Shirt.
On a rock hard pitch, with the temperature rising and with a number of notable absences, Medway U16’s took on Dartfordians in a development team match that can only be described as a classic ‘game of two halves’.
The first half was all Medway whose forwards took control, securing good ball at every opportunity and allowing the pace of the backs to be utilised almost at will. Rhys Burns opened the scoring with an excellent try following sustained pressure and, as Ben Clayphan converted, they established an early 7 – 0 lead. Medway secured possession from the re- start and, following another quick and well executed back line move, winger Matt Brightman touched down under the posts to make it 12 – 0. The extra points were again added by Ben Clayphan and Medway were looking good at 14 – 0 with fifteen minutes gone. Dartfordians came back and mounted their only sustained period of pressure in the half which saw them rewarded with a converted try to make the score 14 – 7. Medway came straight back and an excellent run from Ashleigh Thorpe quickly moved Medway deep into the Dartfordian half. The forwards, working well as a unit again, secured possession and released the backs with Matt Brightman touching down for his second try. Ben Clayphan was again on target and Medway’s 14 point lead was restored. Dartfordians continued to fight but with five minutes of the half left they turned over possession to Mitchell Dent who surged through their defensive line before running over half the length of the pitch to score unopposed under the posts. With yet another successful conversion from Ben Clayphan, half time saw Medway leading 7 - 28.
The second half saw a much rejuvenated Dartfordians take the field as a number of their ‘A’ team players were introduced and this injection of experience and fresh legs quickly began to show. Medway were forced onto the defensive and their tackle count rose as Dartfordians mounted a series of well co-ordinated attacks. The pressure told as they scored two quick tries and with one being converted the score closed to 19 – 28. Dartfordians continued to press but some dogged defending kept them out and with a few well executed kick and chases, Medway managed to secure a foothold in the Dartfordians twenty- two. Having been awarded a scrum, Toby Gerdes-Hansen picked up from its base and drove over the line. The try was initially awarded but the decision was then reversed and in the ensuing confusion Dartfordians were able to clear their lines. The last minute of the game saw Dartfordians score a converted try as the heat and the hard pitch began to take its toll on Medway’s smaller squad but it was not enough and, at the final whistle, Medway had secured another hard fought victory.
This was another good all-round performance which followed on from last week’s excellent display. Everyone again played their part and dug deep to hold on through the heat and,
without the luxury of a large number of reserves, every member of the team is to be congratulated for their effort and doggedness.
A very big thank you to Dartfordians for hosting us on what was their Presentation Day. We were made to feel very welcome and there was a good atmosphere at the club and a mutual respect between the two teams that will encourage the fixture to continue.
Despite having a couple of influential players missing through injury, Medway U16’s took a strong squad to the coast for their match against Deal & Betteshanger and were looking forward to a proper game following the disappointment of the Kent preliminaries the week before.
The teams looked evenly matched during the first 10-15 minutes with both sides being awarded penalties that saw the early score tied at 3-3. Medway’s backs were showing their pace with some excellent chases and attacks mounted from intelligent kicking into space from Freddie Taylor and Matt Cross. Wingers, Matt Brightman and Theo Onumha and full back Rhys Burns were a constant threat as was Mitchell Dent at centre. The forwards were securing good ball at the breakdown with Alex Pitcher, Tom Coleman, Joe Martin, Dan Moffat, Rikki Taylor, Tom Dennis and Nick Rihaal all putting in a huge effort. Ben Clayphan capitalized on this hard work and excellent link up work between forwards and backs provided the first try of the match as Theo Onhuma scored his first try for the club. Ben Clayphan converted to give Medway a 10-3 lead. Deal came straight back and, following concerted pressure, were awarded a penalty which was successfully slotted. Half time saw the score stand at 10-6 to Medway with all to play for.
Medway started the second half well with Sean Crittenden making some positive runs. This pressure was rewarded with an excellent try in the corner for Mitch Dent following a well worked back line move. Back came Deal who spent 10 minutes camped in the Medway twenty-two before finally being awarded a penalty try which was converted. The game ebbed and flowed with some exciting and committed play from both teams but Medway scored next when Harry Palmer brilliantly charged down an attempted clearance from a ruck and Toby Gerdes- Hansen ran through and touched down for their third try. Deal refused to give up and with ten minutes left were awarded another penalty which they chose to kick to make the score 20-16 in Medway’s favour. The decisive moment came when yet more excellent work from the forwards saw Adam Barnett drive over from short range and with Ben Clayphan converting the game ended with Medway running out winners 16-27.
This was another excellent performance where the heart and team spirit that has been evident this year combined with much improved skill levels to produce some excellent rugby. The forwards turned in their best performance as a pack with their support work in the loose proving to be decisive. Thanks must go to Deal & Betteshanger for an exciting and hard fought game and for being excellent hosts.
After a few weeks without a game, Medway U16’s were pleased to be back in action and welcomed Old Ethamians ‘B’ to Priestfield hoping for a win to underline the progress that this developing squad has made.
Medway were on the attack from the start with the first try being scored after just five minutes and with their confidence boosted they continued to press. Old Ethamians worked hard to weather the storm and defended soundly but only occasionally managed to break into the Medway half. Medways forwards worked well together and dominated the early scrums and rucks, finally giving a very fast and strong back line some quick ball to work with. Everything came together well for Medway with the forwards being quicker to the breakdown and the backs regularly gaining territory. This dominance told and Medway scored two more tries making the score 15 – 0 at half time.
The second half started as the first had finished with Medway on the attack but Old Ethamians were better organised and mounted some threatening attacks of their own and on two occasions came close to scoring. Medway defended well, however, and slowly but surely they increased the pressure with some determined running and intelligent kicking. As the game progressed, this pressure told and Medway were able to run in four more tries shared between the forwards and the backs. With three tries being converted, at the final whistle Medway had recorded a well deserved 41 – 0 victory.
This was an excellent performance from Medways U16’s with huge contributions from Adam Barnett (2 tries), Dan Moffat, Joe Martin, Max Kadir, Ricki Taylor, Tom Coleman, Alex Pitcher (1 try), Toby Gerdes-Hansen, Ben Clayphan, Freddie Taylor (1 try, 3 conv), Tom Dennis (1 try), Mitchell Dent, Matt Brightman (1 try), Theo Onumha, Rhys Burns, Sean Crittenden, Ashley Thorpe (1 try) and Tyler Brown – in other words a real team effort with everyone playing their part and contributing well.
We would also like to say a big thank you to Old Ethamians who never gave up and fought hard right up to the final whistle. Thanks also to the ref, Richard Ebanks, who had an excellent game and did everything he could to keep the game flowing and exciting.
Well done lads - you thoroughly deserved this win. Keep training and showing the commitment to the team and each other that you showed on Sunday and more will follow.
After a couple of week’s hard training and with a developing squad Medway were keen to take on
Tunbridge Wells. Medway kicked off and were immediately on the attack as Matt Brightman flew in
and tackled the Wells receiver leading to the first scrum of the game. Medway pressed forward but
solid defence from the Wells forwards kept them out. After good Medway pressure, which included
good runs from Tom Dennis, Alex Pitcher and Ashley Thorpe, Wells managed to clear their lines
and the next twenty minutes saw Wells gain ground as they threatened the Medway line. Excellent
defence and some great tackles particularly from Mitch Dent, Tom Coleman and Toby Gerdes-
Hansen ensured that the score remained at 0 - 0. Medway fought back and came close to scoring as
Adam Barnett picked up from a scrum and charged toward the line but the ball was lost forward and
Wells were again able to clear their lines. Back came Wells and their pressure was rewarded with a
penalty just outside the Medway 22 but the shot at the posts was missed. From the restart, Medway
surged forward and were awarded a penalty within kicking range. Ben Clayphan didn’t disappoint
and he slotted with ease giving Medway a deserved 3 – 0 lead. Wells came straight back and after
a period of scrappy play they managed to breach the Medway defence to score the first try of the
match. The conversion was missed and at half time the score stood at 3 – 5.
The second half began with Medway making quite a few changes with some of the new and less
experienced players being given the opportunity to get stuck in. This meant that there were a few
position changes as well and this affected the teams organisation as players readjusted. This didn’t
last long but Wells took advantage and in a ten minute spell spent in the Medway half they scored
their second try. The conversion attempt was missed and the score remained 3 – 10. Medway
refused to give up and with some excellent runs from Rhys Burns and some encouraging forwards
play, they mounted some repeated attacks. Wells defended solidly and with the help of some silly
penalties conceded by Medway, they managed to break out of their 22, on one occasion threatening
the Medway line only to be stopped by some excellent and committed defence. The last 10 minutes
was all Medway as they went in search of the score to level the match but a couple of knock-on’s
and some good Wells defence denied them. At the final whistle of what was a hard fought and very
even match, Wells ran out the winners 3 – 10.
This was an improved Medway performance that shows that the squad has the potential to develop
into a very good side and it was pleasing to see the team spirit and cohesiveness throughout the
game. It was also great to see Harry Palmer back following his serious knee injury – he will be a real
asset again this season.
It was good to see all 22 players today. It would be even better to see everyone at training on
Thursday’s. We’re on the right track. Hard work spent training and developing technical skills now
will show on the pitch – and that will bring wins !!
Only a fortnight passed since Medway’s U16’s travelled once again into Essex to
Brentwood, hoping to do better the last time they crossed the Boarder. This it was to
taken on the best 20 teams in Essex, at the Brentwood Golden Boot Tournament.
This season after losing certain experience players to other clubs, Medway’s U16’s,
are having to rebuild the team with a number of new members, some more experience
then others. Despite this, and with recent results not good in Medway’s favour,
eighteen strong class of 94/95 from Medway turned up early to what would be a
bright and sunny day.
After a long and productive training session the tournament start at noon, Medway
was in group 1, containing Barking, Brentwood, Chingford & Upminster.
Match 1: Medway 0 V Upminster 7
Medway started out a bit slow but soon found the feet, the game in the first half
flowed both Medway’s and then Upminster’s way. But from some pressure from
Upminster and a error from Medway let Upminster score a converted try putting
Upminster up by 7. As with these short games the whistle for half time came quickly.
The second half saw Medway start to get on top of Upminster, but seven minutes soon
passed and Medway could not get the try that the boys deserved after some good team
Match 2: Medway 0 V Brentwood 3
After the game against Brentwood two weeks ago Medway had something to prove,
and Medway is no push over. A game in which Medway held their own and bettered
Brentwood in the forwards and backs at times. A close game this one, however, due to
lack of discipline after a penalty was awarded, Brentwood were given 10 metres; this
put them in range for a kick which that took to put three points on the board. Despite
the efforts of Medway, they couldn’t get the points on the board. Medway was left
frustrated, but in good spirits after putting in a great performance.
Match 3: Medway 3 V Braking 7
In this Match Medway came up against Barking, another team going through the same
changes Medway are going through, however; Barking lacked the team discipline,
which became apparent by a couple of Medway’s while in the racks and malls a
Barking player would try and pull their heads off by grabbing theirs ears; the Referee
seem to be blind to this and it went un-punished. Medway controlled the scrum and
was award a penalty due to Barking’s lack of discipline. Medway elected to Kick and
put the three points on the board. Medway where in control and were looking to get
their first victory of the tournament; but due to some poor tackling and keeping hold
of the ball, Barking run through on the wing to score a converted try with the last play
of the game; despite the fact the play had stepped on the line. It was a bitter blow to
Match 4: Medway 0 V Chingford 7
In the last match of the group Medway came up against a team Medway had played
on tour last season. Would the out come be the same; unfortunately for Medway
Chingford managed to play to their strengths and with once again some poor tackling
from Medway allowed Chingford to put the only score of the match to take victory.
Medway U16’s have come a long way since to beginning of the season. Yes we still
make errors that can cost us the game, BUT, the teams is starting to play together
better and starting to believe in themselves more and this will take them to Victory
in future games. As Mentioned by one Referee; ‘Medway play as a team and was a
pleasure to referee, the lads play well’
As Medway waited for the official results expecting to get a early knock off; news
came back that because of other good defensive record and being on of the best
runners up, Medway were through to the semi-finals for the Bowl, could this be their
first silver ware.
Bowl Semi: Medway 7 V Dagenham 21
After short wait Medway’s semi start and from the off it looked as it was going to be a
good game; and it was; Medway’s forward managing to drive off Dagenham’s attack,
but with some tackles going astray; Dagenham score a converted try 7 nil. Medway
then start to play some good rugby getting the ball wide and after a number of runs
down the wing pressure was applied and Medway levelled the score 7 all. Quickly as
it started the second half was under way, Medway start as they left off in the first half
push to score. Despite some good play by Medway, Dagenham cam back at Medway
and score two converted tries to put the score 21 – 7. Despite pressure Medway could
not get the scores they needed; with one last effort Medway broke forward the balls
was across the line, unfortunately soon was a couple of the Dagenham plays hold the
ball up. This was to be the last play of the game and Medway despite the score play
well and can hold their heads up. Well Done Lads!
Sorry that individuals where not named, but this was a team performance so all
deserve the same praise (also I did make notes as I was trying to take some photos).
Adam’s (Bigfoot’s) Dad