Oaks on wrong end of season opener as local derby looms

ENGLAND HOCKEY - MENS DIVISION ONE SOUTH: Bath Buccaneers 1 Sevenoaks 0

Sevenoaks opened up their National Division One South campaign with a last gasp defeat away to Bath Buccaneers. Despite dominating all areas of the game, Oaks could not find the back of the net, thanks to an inspired performance by the opposition goalkeeper, who denied Oaks on numerous occasions.

Sevenoaks made a great start to the game, from push-back they kept possession for over a minute before entering the D on the left-hand side through Sam George, who won a penalty corner, to give Oaks an early sight on goal. Andrew Ross stepped up but saw his drag-flick well saved by the Bath keeper. Bath were unable to get out of their own half, with Oaks winning the ball off them in the press at will.

After five minutes they earned another penalty corner, which was saved off the line by the defender on the post. The game continued in this fashion for the majority of the first half, with Oaks camped in the Bath half, but unable to find a breakthrough despite another couple of penalty corners. Such was the Sevenoaks dominance, Bath had entered the Sevenoaks defensive D just once in the opening half of the game, but nonetheless the sides went into the half time break locked at 0-0.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Oaks controlling the game and much of the play being in the Bath half of the pitch. More penalty corners came and went for Oaks, with more excellent saves by the Bath keeper. The fact the score line remained 0-0 gave Bath some belief and they enjoyed a short purple patch midway through the second half, winning a few penalty corners, which were all well defended by Sevenoaks. As the final quarter crept to a close Oaks were pressing for a winning goal, and with one minute to go an aerial pass by the Bath defender eluded the last Sevenoaks man, and was controlled by the Bath forward, who advanced into the D before calmly rounding Richard Potton in the Oaks goal and rolling the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to Bath. There was no time for Oaks to respond as the final whistle blew before they could mount an attack.

It was a bitterly disappointing result for Sevenoaks who played some of the best hockey they’ve played in years. Sam George was the well-deserved Sevenoaks man of the match, for winning four penalty corners with excellent skills around the Bath D. Sevenoaks will pick themselves up and go again this Sunday at home against Oxted at 2.00pm. All support is welcome.