Medway Dragons travelled to Oaken Lane for the Lioncrest London RL Junior League Play Off Semi Final against closest rival over the past couple of years Elmbridge Eagles and were ready for a tough game. Having come through the play-off game against London Skolars relatively unscathed, this was now do or die football and the pressure was on.
The Dragons started brightly and dominated field position and territory playing up the hill. The front row did their job well, Ted Grant and Mitchell Stone
running hard with the ball and setting up a platform for Rob Butler and Roshaine Johnson
to run at the edges of the defence and make big metres. Following strong build up work around the ruck, Steve Davolls nipped over from short range to open the scoring, George Moore
The Dragons continued to push hard up the hill and were enjoying periods of dominance with the ball and field position. Ollie Woodward, lively in attack and working hard in defence, was rewarded for his efforts when he crashed over next to the posts for a well taken try. Moore goaled again to push the Dragons further ahead.
Elmbridge pulled a try back and let The Dragons know that this was a real contest. Responding to this, the men in red & gold, hit back again and came very close to scoring a try on half time, with Steve Davolls having the agony of dropping the ball from a tough pass over the line.
The Dragons went into the half time break well placed to kick on.
They did. A period of prolonged pressure on the Elmbridge line, where The Dragons got away with taking the wrong option time after time, was finally acted upon when Rob Butler hit up and span out of a tackle to crash over next to the posts. Moore goaled to push the score out to 18-10 in favour of The Dragons.
From the kick off, The Dragons surrendered possession and Elmbridge scored from the resulting scrum. This was the first error of the game for the away team and led to a remarkable sequence of possession and tries for Elmbridge who scored three converted tries before The Dragons touched the ball again, scoring in each set.
Now ahead and with their tails up, the Elmbridge team ran with huge energy and caused chaos in the Dragons defence. Try as they might, brave as they could be, the Dragons had no answer and could not hold the wave after wave of runners.
The final whistle brought relief to the Dragons who had been beaten in a play-off semi final by a remarkable burst powerful running play which blew the opposition off the park
Dragons Head Coach Martin Coyd
said ‘Congratulations to Elmbridge, they did remarkably well to come from behind and take the victory. As well as some outstanding running, their defence was outstanding and they snuffed out our strike runners. I have no complaints’
‘We will reflect on the performance at the final training session of the season on Thursday, understand what we need to do, and not do, to close out a game and draw a line under a very good 2012 season. We have come a long way, learned much and have become better Rugby League players, better people’
‘Some of the lads will go on to Origin and have a crack at a higher level of football in September and close out the 2012 season’
‘I am very proud to be part of a great team of players, fellow coaches and supportive families who have been on an exciting journey with us this year’