Sandwiched between a few moments of early Tring territory and their consolation try in the 80th minute, the Paddock supporters witnessed total domination by Oaks in this London & SE Premier fixture. In scoring 9 tries they secured a 5-point win and, as result of scores elsewhere, extended their lead at the top of the league to 5 points. Even their normally phlegmatic Director of Rugby and Head Coach; he of ‘one game at a time, just concentrate on the next job’; must admit their 14th consecutive victory leaves them on the brink of promotion. A bonus try victory away to Maidenhead next weekend will see them promoted and crowned champions.
On Saturday they faced a spirited Tring side, who brought a physical game. Most importantly all Oaks’ supporters will be sending their best wishes to the Tring number 8, who left the field after a long period of treatment for a suspected neck injury.
Tring kicked an early penalty to lead 3 -0 and Oaks then proceeded to dominate territory and possession, creating a number of try-scoring opportunities. Frustration was evident, particularly amongst the home sides’ backs, as decision making was little awry and final passes failed to go to hand with the try line beckoning. That early lack of precision was soon repaired on 14 minutes as Matt Holmes dotted down for the first try, following a bursting run by Fred Richardson; 5-3, conversion missed. On 24 minutes Tring cleared with the boot, allowing Patrick Pellegrini to counter at pace, pass to Ben Adams, who fed Drew Narbey-Nimeti who passed to Drew Forrester to score their second try, conversion missed 10-5.
The Oaks’ lineout was in near-perfect order this week, delivering the platform for a number of scores throughout the afternoon. The first of those and the Oaks’ third arrived after 33 minutes from a lineout catch and drive and Fred Richardson scoring; converted 17-3. The 4th try and bonus point came with the final play of the half, again from quick lineout delivery, rapid transfer of the ball across the backs and Josh Livett scoring. Half time and Oaks led 24 -6, with Tring recognising they would have more defending to do in the second half. The big home crowd were expecting more exciting flowing rugby for the next 40 minutes.
They weren’t to be disappointed as Oaks scored 5 more tries in the second half. The game became a little unstructured, and maybe the men from the Paddock, understandably, were guilty of overplaying at times, but backing their physical dominance and ball skills, the points kept coming. On 50 minutes, from another lineout and break by Fred Richardson who nearly scored, Pellegrini threw a huge outside pass to Ben Adams who scored in the corner. Conversion missed, 26-6. Then on 62 minutes Ben Adams countered from another Tring kick, putting in Scott Sedgewick; converted 36 -6.
With Oaks now throwing the ball around from deep, they broke up field allowing Ben Adams to score the 7th try; 41-6. 5 minutes later another catch and drive from the umpteenth penalty kick to touch, the forwards rumbled over to make it 41-6. The final home team try of the day went to Drew Forrester who finished of another free-flowing move starting in their own half, with interchanges between backs and forward releasing the winger to score. The try was converted to take the Oaks to 53 points.
The final scoring word of the day went to Tring who had a period of pressure, a succession of penalties and scored in the corner, converted to take them to 13 points.
This weekend, Sevenoaks will make the trip to Maidenhead for what they hope will be a season defining result.