Medway 45-34 Sevenoaks
Medway 45-34 Sevenoaks

Medway and Sevenoaks went toe to toe at Priestfields on Saturday and produced a highly entertaining game for the large crowd.

The weather was bright, the pitch firm but there was a stiff breeze blowing down the pitch towards the river. This game promised to be tough as Sevenoaks had only been beaten once in their eight league games so far this season, whilst Medway were unbeaten and sit proudly at the head of the league.

Coach Gwilliam was not present and then Medway lost influential skipper Michael Gardner to injury shortly before kick-off. Despite these problems, Medway playing into the wind, produced their best “half” of rugby of this season and dominated the first forty minutes depriving their opponents of the ball. Medway’s play was accurate, error free and pretty clinical when the scoring opportunity arose. Medway led 21 – 7 at the interval and with the elements in their favour during the second half, were favourites to close out the game comfortably. Sevenoaks however, had not read the script and delivered a strong fight back in the fourth quarter, which certainly had the “skids” under the Medway faithful, nervously counting down the minutes to the end of the game.

Somewhat against the run of play, Sevenoaks opened the scoring after 13 minutes when, following a good driving maul, their backs sliced through to score under the posts. Undeterred, Medway hit straight back when Zach Garratt produced a dazzling run to score and the simple conversion levelled the scores. Long periods of Medway dominance went unrewarded as Sevenoaks resolute defence remained firm. The deadlock was broken on 27 minutes when Medway’s scrum power won a penalty try and minutes later, Garratt kicked ahead and won the foot race to score wide out on the right. A good conversion from Harvey gave Medway the 21 – 7 half time lead that they deserved.

The second half was far more even with both sides enjoying periods of dominance. Initially Sevenoaks came back into the game kicking a penalty and scoring a converted try, 21 – 17. Medway then enjoyed a purple patch scoring three converted tries in only eight minutes and seemingly again, putting the game well beyond their opponents. The tries came from from Jordan Stubbington, Ryan Redman and lastly Billy Sandison. Excellent conversions from Harvey opened the lead up to 42 -17 with 20 minutes of the game remaining.

The last quarter of the game was uncomfortable for the hosts as Sevenoaks came storming back  scoring three excellent tries to narrow the lead to only 11 points. Their play was impressive and although Medway did manage to just steady the ship in the closing minutes, Sevenoaks had shown they have the all round game to trouble any team in the league.

Medway’s man of the match went to Number 8 Jordan Stubbington. Zach Garratt’s two tries were critical to the outcome of the game but overall, it was a fine team performance, particularly in the first half when the hard work needed to be done.

There is a break in the league programme next week for everyone to enjoy England v New Zealand and then the programme resumes on the 17th November when Medway travel to face Westcombe Park RFC.