Medway 45-12 Chobham
Medway 45-12 Chobham

Medway hosted Surrey side Chobham at a wet and windy Priestfields on Saturday.

Having won narrowly away at Chobham in the reverse fixture earlier in the year Medway were keen to maintain their challenge for top honours in the league.

Medway kicked off playing into the stiff breeze and rain and despite these conditions dominated the opening exchanges.

Good ball retention and playing some excellent phases saw Medway eventually win a scrum close to the visitors line. Medways forwards dominated the set piece and after a couple of penalties and further scrummage options Medway eventually narrowed the visitors defence for Conor Chalmers score in the corner. Dan Harvey, considering the conditions, landed a superb touchline conversion. 7-0.

On 17 minutes Medway found themselves on their own 5m defending a scrum after a misfire at the line out. Superb scrummaging saw Medway win the ball against the head and breakout from defence. Excellent play provided the space for Conor Chalmers to race in 65 metres out for his second try. Harvey converted and the home side led 14-0.

With the front five of Petch, Sandison, OLeary, Stubbington and Panikoula dominating their counterparts the platform was set for Medway to play an excellent high tempo game which found the visitors hanging on desperately.

On 26 minutes Medway attacked from the scrum. Stimpson, Beaumont and Huntley all combined well to provide space for Clement to completely wrong foot the visitors defence with a dummy and score under the posts. Harvey was again on target and Medway led 21-0.

Medway then lost Lewis Stimpson to a head injury and he was replaced by the hard working Joe Fernyhough.

Medway were playing some excellent entertaining rugby. Alfie Orris, Sam Sharp and Zach Garratt were proving a real threat to the opposite numbers with strong runs. On 31 minutes on the back of 15 phases of great continuity, maintained by Garofalo and Harveys distribution, and despite stout Chobham defence Amon Panikoula eventually broke the visitors line. He punched through several tackles to set up Tom Beaumont for the home sides try bonus point. The conversion hit the post for 26-0 Medway lead.

As the half closed Chobham had an opportunity to score but Antony Clement won the race for the touch down and the dominant Medway scrum ensured they kept their line intact till half time.

The home side had completed a fine 40 minutes of quality controlled rugby in which every player worked hard to execute. Given the conditions they were playing in it was a quality 40 minutes.

The second half kicked off with Medway having the elements at their back and a healthy 26-0 lead.

The opening exchanges were fairly even and with Medway playing a little bit laterally so it was not until the 50th minute that the next score was forthcoming. Medway managed to steal a Chobham lineout and following more excellent phases put Tom Beaumont over for his second try. The dependable Harvey added the extras and Medway led 33-0.

If everyone thought that Medway would run away with the game then Chobham were not there to lie down. With 53 minutes on the clock Chobham scored. It was a try of quality crafted out of good skill and ball retention. They went through several phases until the space was created and finished well. The conversion was good to make the score 33-7.

Chobham were showing character and upped their game. Medway errors through some slack play and Chobham pressure meant that neither side were able to control this middle period. Medway made changes with Tom Whitnell replacing Richard Petch and Charlie Wardzynski replacing Sam Sharp. Both made telling contributions.

On 72 minutes Harvey with the elements at his back executed a high up and under. The Chobham defenders failed to deal with it and Connor Chalmers re-gathered the ball to scamper over for his hatrick try. Dan Harvey added the extras and Medway increased their lead to 40-7.

Upon the restart Medway secured the ball but some loose handling saw Chobham re-gather possession and two very clinical phases later scored their second try. This was unconverted. 40-12.

Chobham were showing their character and would not give in to their credit. With 78 minutes on the clock and in trying to take the game to Medway they were penalised at the breakdown. Medway kicked for the corner. The last

action of the match was the Medway forwards completing the scoring with a well organised and executed catch and drive. Bill Sandison with the final touch down. The conversion was missed to make the final score 45-12.

Coach Taff Gwilliam said As a coaching team we were delighted with the first 40 minutes. It was quality controlled rugby and the players deserve credit for that……the second half with the elements at our back we played a bit loose and it is something we will have to look at. He added credit to Chobham, missing a number of players, they never gave up.