Sevenoaks Rugby put in an outstanding team performance to defeat Tottonians RFC by 62 points to 6 at Knole Paddock on Saturday. The Oaks display was arguably their best of the ‘Bowman era’; just how far they have come will become more apparent next Saturday when Oaks head to table-topping Medway, but a glance at the contrast between Saturday’s landslide result versus last season when Oaks lost away to Tottonians and drew with them at home marks the quality of Oaks’ progress.
The match started in the usual competitive style for two familiar foes. After 10 minutes the teams were level on six points each having exchanged a brace of penalties, with Ben Adams for Oaks again showing imperious form from the kicking tee and registering 100 per cent accuracy in slotting every penalty and conversion.
The try fest bubbled slowly to the surface. Tottonians to their credit never stopped playing. In truth it was only dogged determination by the navy and golds that kept their try line pristine for the full 80 minutes.
But when they did hit their stride the Oaks were unplayable and on a cold October afternoon the style as much as the regularity of the home side’s try-scoring did much to warm the hearts of the Paddock faithful on the touchline. They were treated to a scintillating opener, a solo effort as full back Leighton Ralph burst through the Totts line midway up the park before outpacing the covering defenders to dot the ball down under the posts. The next score was a more prosaic drive from a lineout as Oaks controlled the ball from the back of the maul to rumble it over the line, the try scored by Alex Suttie.
The tries that ensued were equally devastating and all but impossible to defend against. They tended to follow a similar pattern of penetrating line-break, sublime offloads, astute and rapid support; the try before the half-time break a case in point as back row Will De Smith popped up on the shoulder of Leighton Ralph to storm over the line, Adams slotting the conversion like a metronome to end the half with Oaks 27-6 up.
It wasn’t long into the second half when the shackles were let loose again, firstly with a well worked rumble up the park for Sam Nicholls to power over the line thanks to Dan Power’s imposing run and then centres Gumbleton and Thorneycroft combined for the latter to score and with the conversion Oaks were 41-6 to the good.
Further tries followed for Holmes and Mike Scott before a Ben Adams interception try wrapped up proceedings to cap a cracking day for the Oaks, the 2nd XV winning against Westcombe Park 2nd XV and the Gents putting away Cranbrook RFC.
The 1st XV will be taking a lot of confidence into Saturday’s big match away to Medway, 2:30pm kick off with all support very welcome. Medway are also the opponents for the 2nd XV (at home) and 3rd XV (away) in something of a welcome throw back to days gone by when a slew of players at all levels played multiple fixtures against the same oppo; what a promising sight for the future of Kent Rugby.