Medway 12-28 Brighton Blues
Medway 12-28 Brighton Blues

Medway took on League leaders Brighton at Priestfields on Saturday in very wet and windy conditions making quality handling difficult.

Medway played with the wind in the first half and with barely 3 minutes on the clock lost stand-in scrum half Antony Clement with a leg injury.

When the game re-started all the early running was made by Brighton Blues. Two early missed tackles out wide gave Brighton chances but good cover work by Redman and Garratt prevented a score.

On 11 minutes, almost Medways’s first foray into the visitors half, saw them win a penalty at the breakdown. Harvey was on target to open the scoring at 3-0. As the half progressed Medway pressed and Brighton conceded further penalties on 14 and 20 minutes to extend the lead to 9-0. Medway had a couple of good opportunities to score tries on the visitors 5 metre line but the home line out was not functioning to its normal standard and the chances went begging.

Harvey did add another penalty as the pressure was kept on to make it 12-0 but the failure to score tries was undermining Medway’s effort to secure a winning lead. That effort was further undermined when hooker Tom Whitnell was also forced from the field of play by injury. Despite all the pressure with the elements at their back Medway could not break down a resolute and well organised Brighton defence.

The second half started with Medway gaining possession and looking to go through the phases but the ball went loose at one such phase and a Brighton lock picked up the loose ball and offloaded to see the visitors score after just 41 minutes.

Just 3 minutes later Brighton were in front. Medway again were in possession when the ball was turned over in error and after a couple of phases and a kick chase the Brighton player was first to the touchdown. A good conversion from the visiting fly half saw them lead 14-10. It was now a real uphill battle for the home side having conceded two early tries and the lead playing into the conditions.

As the second half progressed Brighton had two penalties chances to extend the lead but both narrowly missed. Medway still had hope and were battling hard but as with the first two tries it was a Medway error that gifted the visitors the chance stretch their lead.

With 57 minutes on the clock Medway were attacking in the visitors 22 through a line out from which they turned the ball over. Brighton kicked down field turning the Medway defence, a poor exit saw Brighton flooding onto the ball and scoring out wide. An excellent conversion put them 21-10 ahead.

On 69 minutes Medway had yet another line out in Brighton’s half and turned possession over. Brighton cleared with a high up and under which was not dealt with and a couple of passes later they scored their fourth bonus point try. This was converted and league leaders Brighton were worthy winners on the day by 28-12.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said ‘We can have no complaints, we turned over possession for every one of Brighton’s tries and they punished us. On the day they were the better side and deserved to win’. He added ‘We will continue to work on our skills to reduce the error count and remain competitive. There is still all to play for!’