Posts Tagged ‘Ashford Rugby’
Medway 31-17 Ashford

Windy, damp, greasy and miserable would be a good description of the playing conditions at Priestfields on Saturday for the league fixture against Ashford.

Medway needed to win to keep up their push to finish second in the league and secure the play-off opportunity, and they also knew that a bonus point might be crucial in the final reckoning. Well, at the end of the day the hosts achieved both, but only just, as the fourth and bonus point try was not scored until the final five minutes of the game. Ashford were resolute in defence and made life difficult for Medway throughout. Whilst they never really threatened to win the game, they did score three breakaway tries feeding off handling errors from the home team.

Medway, playing with the wind and slope, pressed from the start knowing they needed to build up a healthy first half lead. After only five minutes, Ashford intercepted close to their own line and threatened to go the length of the pitch. Fortunately for Medway the ref pulled them back for a knock on and from the resulting scrum, Billy Humphrey and James Dance combined for the latter to force his way over for the opening try. Ashford were required to defend for long periods and gave away penalties at regular intervals.

Dan Harvey knocked over three quick fire kicks on 13, 20 and 24 minutes to increase Medway’s lead to 14 – 0. On the half hour mark, Medway had another attacking scrum, Humphrey picked up and was stopped short but Max Easton was on hand to gather the ball and drive over for his first try of the season. Harvey added the extras and Medway were looking good at 21 – 0.

Having not learnt from the earlier scare, Medway still tried to force the play in conditions that demanded a tighter game plan, and the Ashford fly half intercepted a loose pass again. This time the ref did not pull him back, and he went the length of the field to score under the posts, to make the score 21 – 7 at half time.

Respectable, but not great, was probably the feeling at half time and one wondered if Ashford were to score early in the second half, if that it would change the pattern of the game. However, Medway did manage to contain any early threat and continued indiscretions at the breakdown lead to a yellow card for an Ashford forward after 10 minutes. Medway used their numerical advantage to good effect and after several forward drives Fred Tila came into a ruck and perfected a beautiful swallow dive over the top of a heap of bodies to score the third try.

Once restored to a full complement Ashford played their best rugby of the game and went through several phases to score a well worked unconverted try, 26 – 12 to Medway.

With time running out, Medway pressed again to score the all-important fourth and bonus point try. As Ashford struggled to hold out, regular penalties were conceded and eventually a second yellow card was dished out. Medway repeatedly kicked for the corner and forward drive after forward drive resulted in Tom Beaumont getting the crucial touch down, 31 -12.

In keeping with the pattern of the game, Ashford scored their third try at the very death when another extravagant pass from Medway went to ground and the visitors rush defence pounced on the loose ball to score another breakaway try.

Max Easton was awarded man of the match by the sponsors. Jimmy Rutherford and Dan Huntley were both excellent throughout and debutant Dan Hamilton looked a real threat on the wing and at full back.

Overall, job done as the locals struggled to adapt to the very difficult playing conditions. Next week Medway travel to Sevenoaks who sit third in the league, just behind Medway, and therefore a game that could decide the play-off spot.

Medway team;

Petch, Sandison, Mataapa, Easton, Rutherford, Huntley, Beaumont, Humphrey, Dance, Harvey, Burns, Liua’ana, Tila, Hamilton, Bennison, Subs; Brice, Meares, Flanagan (all used).


Ashford 3-33 Maidstone

They say that the sign of a good side is when they play badly and win. While it would be harsh to say Maidstone played badly, they certainly didn’t play well and yet came away as 33-3 victors at Ashford.

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