Sevenoaks Rugby Club 1st XV hosted Hertford RFC for the first time ever at Senior level on Saturday in a compelling 10-10 draw. Honours even after 80 minutes of attrition seemed fair; both sides relinquished chances to take the winning points and only resolute defensive patterns on the part of both Oaks and the visitors limited the scoring, to one converted try and a penalty for the navy and golds and two unconverted tries for Hertford.
Sevenoaks drew first blood through the trusty boot of Tom Gray when he slotted a penalty from just outside the opposition 10m line on the fifteen minute mark. The rapid response from Hertford saw the fly half dart through for a score. The 5-3 Hertford lead was short-lived and a strong press from the restart saw Kalkani Pehi hack through then collect the ball before diving over the whitewash and with Gray’s conversion Oaks took a 10-5 lead into the sheds.
An injury to Matt Holmes forced the Oaks scrum half off for two thirds of the match and as a result the re-arranged back line was not quite firing on all cylinders. That said outside half Gray put in a solid shift when he deputised at 9 and after 20 minutes of the second half it seemed that Oaks may hold on for the win, especially with an ever green Stuart Coleman making a welcome return to the pack. However, Hertford had other ideas and having recycled the ball through several phases to push the Oaks defenders left then right, found a two man overlap on the right wing and the unconverted try brought the scores level at 10-10 for the last ten minutes of the game.
In the final throes of the match, Sevenoaks on a number of occasions established strong field position within the Hertford 22 and pushed hard for the win, but to their credit the visitors held their lines and repelled the Oaks press at the same time as creating one or two opportunities of their own to bag the victory.
The final whistle drew a tight game to a close and with both teams broadly content with the two points. Oaks remain in the second tier of a London & South East Premier table dominated by Rochford, Guernsey and Wimbledon.
Sevenoaks next face Sidcup in what promises to be another abrasive encounter. The match takes place at Sidcup and kicks off under the floodlights at 7.30pm this Friday, February 8th with all support very welcome.
The 2nd XV enjoyed a cracking 40-10 away win at Tonbridge Juddians 2nd on Saturday to boost their league campaign, while the Sevenoaks Junior Rugby performance of the weekend was without doubt the Under 13s Girls winning the Kent Cup!