Mighty Oaks keep up with league-leaders

London 1 South: Sevenoaks RFC 30 Cobham RFC 24

Sevenoaks Rugby hit back with two late tries to beat Cobham 30-24 in a compelling performance at Knole Paddock on Saturday. The bonus point win propels Oaks into third place in London 1 South, ahead of what promises to be a stern test this Saturday as they host league-leaders Brighton RFC.

Certainly the execution can improve for that game but there’s no doubting the verve in this particular Oaks vintage. With their backs to the wall at 24-20 down and with minutes left on the clock, Oaks pulled victory from the bag thanks to two consecutive game-defining carries. First up Alex Suttie, a wall in defence and imposing in attack, ran the ball back thirty yards to set up a try for Jonny Short to edge Oaks 25-24 ahead. Next up Matthew McCrae collected from the restart and set up field position for the Oaks before finishing the move he started by crashing over the line.

Despite the missed conversion Sevenoaks held on for the win as Ollie Shirtcliff concluded proceedings by hoofing the ball off the pitch down Plymouth Drive as the clock ran down.

Up until those final passages of play Oaks had lacked fluidity and the necessary composure to put away a solid Cobham outfit whose back line were a handful all day. The visitors moved the ball wide rapidly from depth to stretch the scrambling Oaks defenders. But scramble Oaks did and the navy and golds from the Paddock went in to the half time break 15-7 to the good. This was after Oaks scored early doors following a break through the middle, then a push over converted try and just the one penalty on an unusually difficult day from the kicking tee for the usually trusty boot of Oaks’ kicker Ben Adams took the home side’s tally to 15, leaving the door that bit ajar for Cobham who left more than a little on the table by securing just one converted try in their opening 40 minutes.

The visitors duly prized the door open in an energetic passage of play from the get go in the second half and moved into the lead thanks to an interception try from their own try line before that favoured triumvirate of teamwork, passion and resolve saw Oaks home.

Fair play to Cobham who battled hard and in the style you would expect from an outfit with the same aspirations as Sevenoaks; to play expansive rugby and generate the best possible platform for bright junior talent to come through the ranks.

“Our pack delivered a powerful display with great offloading skills, and overall the team showed huge levels of desire and hunger to get the result,” reflected Head Coach Adam Bowman post match.

“What is pleasing to see is the player leadership group growing and responding well to the challenge that the coaching team is setting down. The vociferous Paddock touchline is so important to the lads and we need a huge turnout to cheer on the Oaks against Brighton this Saturday.”