Sevenoaks Rugby 1st XV enjoyed a winning start to 2019 with an impressive 40-0 victory away at Chobham RFC in London 1 South on Saturday.
Oaks started the match at a frenetic pace. Within minutes left wing Johnny Short was at full steam dotting the ball down for a try set up by a deft floated pass by Olly Shirtcliff to Scott Sedgwick in the outside channel, who after a burst of pace of his own found his wing man. Edd Ansell, solid from the kicking tee all day, slotted the extras and Oaks’ 2019 account was up and running.
Sevenoaks maintained the high tempo, and secured three further first-half tries on a platform of teamwork and continuity. Oaks crashed over from short range following a well-constructed lineout drive and with the extras the scoreboard clicked on to 14-0, before the first of a brace of tries for Matt McCrae, who put in an energetic and dynamic performance. Josh Pettet then broke through for a converted try to take Sevenoaks into the break with a healthy 26-0 advantage.
Three full weeks have passed since Oaks’ previous encounter, versus London Cornish in very different conditions at Knole Paddock, but in truth it was as if the lads from the Paddock had never been away. When they clicked, they really clicked and the zip and snap to Oaks’ expansive running rugby set the navy and golds apart.
Chobham for their part stuck to the task and never stopped playing. After McCrae cantered through the middle early in the second half for his second try and Leighton Ralph ghosted past opponents to put Matt Holmes in under the uprights, the floodgates looked set to open. However the hosts stood strong, taking the game to Oaks for much of the final quarter of the match. Only solid Oaks defence and a never surrender attitude kept the visitors’ whitewash in tact, Oaks having become a little disjointed, the battle rhythm of earlier phase play eluding them.
The bonus point victory means Oaks cement an elevated league standing, just six points adrift League leaders Brighton. The strong showing owes much to investment in youth, a deep bench and the desire to work for each other on match day and in training.
Home wins for Sevenoaks Rugby 2nd XV against Tunbridge Wells and the 3s versus Vigo, and an Away victory at Folkestone for the 4s give the Club a strong start to the New Year with plenty of momentum to build upon and take into the coming weeks.