Rugby returns to Sevenoaks after 18 months

Credit: David Purday

Rugby clubs across the district were back on the pitch in September after more than 18 months without a comptetitive game, and no one is enjoying it more than Sevenoaks Rugby Club who celebrated three back-to-back wins after losing away at Hertford on the opening day of the season in the London & South East Premier division.

Sevenoaks, now playing their third season in the fifth tier of the RFU pyramid started on the road at Hertford and after a lot of hard work on the Paddock, in the gym and during warm-up fixtures, it looked to present the perfect build-up for their opening fixture. However, on the day, their accuracy was lacking, although Oaks returned home with little to show it was good to see them back.

Oaks then entertained local rivals Westcombe Park at Knole Paddock in front of a bumper crowd for their first home game of the season.

Director of Rugby & Head Coach Adam Bowman made five changes from the opening day defeat at Hertford and prepared the team to take on an opposition with many talented players and not inconsiderable bulk.

The final score of 17-8 suggests a close encounter – and indeed both sides contested every contact and breakdown fiercely – but in truth Oaks controlled the majority of the game demonstrating defensive discipline, attacking speed and power as well as strong set piece execution. The Oaks line was threatened only occasionally whilst perhaps also feeling they could have made more of some excellent attacking positions unsuccessfully converted.

Sevenoaks and their supporters then navigated considerable travel difficulties to visit CS Stags at Chiswick, looking for consecutive victories and their first on the road.

Running out comfortable winners in a game they never looked like losing, we only really saw the intensity Oaks showed the previous week against Westcombe Park during the second half, eventually running out 37 to 17 winners with two late consolation scores by CS disguising the Kent team’s dominance.

Then, for the second week running, Oaks were able to dominate their opposition, with visitors Havant comfortably beaten as a result of an impressive all-round display by the home team. Oaks came close to keeping Havant scoreless for the full 80 minutes with only a last minute converted try saving the Hampshire team’s blushes.

Sevenoaks made two changes in personnel and two positional alterations from the previous week’s victory but the depth of talent available to Head Coach Bowman was notable. Continued set piece effectiveness and a growing fluidity of attacking play have been the platforms for three victories on the run.

The only slight disappointment for Oaks maybe was missing out on a bonus point but to be fair the precision was not quite there to exploit their second half opportunities.

After the game Bowman said: “A very pleasing performance and result against an in-form Havant side. I thought we were excellent in how we controlled field position, kept the scoreboard ticking over, applied huge pressure defensively and at the set piece, and scored some great tries.”