A resolved Sevenoaks Rugby 1st XV outgunned Westcombe Park to secure a 19-7 victory at Goddington Lane on Saturday.
Oaks’ right wing Ben Adams starred in an inspired performance, securing all 19 of Oaks’ points which included a sublime 60 metre try-scoring dash for the line.
Sevenoaks started the game well and controlled the opening phases as they imposed themselves on a huge ‘Combe pack. If anything with 20 minutes gone the Oaks should have been more than 3-0 ahead through a single penalty; Park had a player sin binned for a reckless tackle with Oaks set to cross the try line. The retaliation by Oaks however resulted in a yellow card for Scott Sedgwick and the penalty being reversed, enabling the home side to once again clear their line. This was desperate defending from Park so it was against the run of play that the home secured the first try of the match; quick turnover ball gave the right wing the chance to make a telling break that was finished in style as the Park lock tumbled over in the corner and an impressive kick for the extras secured the home side a 7-3 advantage and presented Park with a degree of impetus. The home side began to make inroads against a resilient Oaks defence, with Dan Power in particular putting in some crunching hits to keep the home side at bay.
Oaks’ solitary try of the match had a touch of luck about it. From a strong position in the top third of the pitch Westcombe Park put in a cross field kick that juggled out of the hands of the Park attack into the welcoming mittens of Ben Adams, who didn’t need a second invitation to step inside his man and outrun the covering defenders all the way from his own ten yard line to under the posts for a try that he duly converted to send Oaks into the half time break 10-7 ahead.
Throughout the first half Park showed signs of cutting loose with their speedy backline and you sensed that at least one further score was in them. But Sevenoaks had other ideas and drew themselves together for the second half, perhaps sensing the opportunity to make a statement as a team; after all it was some twenty years since the two sides had met at League level and before Park’s climb through the divisions of English Club Rugby. There was certainly a healthy and hopeful traveling contingent on hand to see proceedings unfold.
They were duly rewarded as Sevenoaks began to take the upper hand, helped by foraging and incisive running lines at the Park back line by Thorneycroft and Short.
The Oaks pack continued to outwit their counterparts at the breakdown, resulting in a succession of penalties for Sevenoaks and thanks to the accuracy of Adams from the kicking tee the scoreboard ticked to 13-7, to 16-7 and finally to 19-7, as Park’s opportunities to wrestle themselves out of Oaks’ grasp gradually ebbed away before the final whistle.
Both sides played their part in a tight encounter, which showed that rugby doesn’t have to be a try fest to be entertaining and puts a derby fixture that’s rich in Kent Rugby heritage back on the local rugby map; the two well-matched sides can look forward to renewing acquaintances down the other end of Poll Hill at Knole Paddock on 9 February next year.
This Saturday Sevenoaks Rugby hosts Tottonians at Knole Paddock, 3:00pm kick off and all support very welcome.