The Regional Premier League is RFU Level 5, the preserve of the top 100 Clubs in the country and Sevenoaks Rugby Club’s highest ever standing
Sevenoaks sealed promotion in style in April in their final match with a 26-10 win away to Thurrock RFC in front of a 200-strong travelling fan base.
At the start of the day Oaks were one of four teams in promotion and play-off contention, knowing that a bonus point win would guarantee the top slot in an incredibly tight League. They won in style and with other results seeing Brighton leapfrog Camberley and Medway for a play-off slot versus Colchester, Sevenoaks ended the day as Champions, three points clear of the chasing pack.
Special scenes greeted the final whistle. A suitably decorous ‘pitch invasion’ in the Essex afternoon sunshine brought players, coaches, physios, managers, families, supporters and friends together as One Club to celebrate promotion and an outstanding season of success.
A season to remember, and definitely one for the history books too, as Sevenoaks will now play at the highest height in the club’s long existence. Not since the 1998/99 season have Sevenoaks held themselves so proudly. That year they came runners up in the London 2 South and secured their best win percentage record of 85%, but that was only over 14 games though. This year, 20 years on, they have somewhat demolished that record with a massive 88% win percentage over 26 matches.
It is a great feat, not only for the 1st XV, but for the entire club and the senior squad as a whole. In 2016, the decision was made at the club to move towards a senior squad setup, with all players training together midweek, before going their separate ways at the weekend, all representing and playing for ‘the club’. In just three years, the club have celebrated the 1s, 2s and 3s all winning their respective leagues in 2019, absolutely astonishing when you think about it.
Head Coach, Adam Bowman said: “A hugely special day for the senior squad and club! As I mentioned to the squad after the game – this is not a 1st XV promotion, but a Senior Squad promotion. A massive well done to all players and staff involved, everyone has worked incredibly hard to achieve this. I am already looking forward to the challenges of next season and a new league!”
Trevor Nicholson, Sevenoaks Rugby Club Chairman, said: “What a very special day for our Club. Thank you to everyone for your support for the whole season and especially to Head Coach, Adam Bowman and Director of Rugby, Roger McKerlie who have tirelessly devised, finessed and tweaked a constantly moving Senior Squad structure that proved resilient and skilful enough to beat every team in the league once, most of them twice.”
“A huge thank you again to everyone who does so much and gives up hours of time to ensure Sevenoaks Rugby Club is a fun, friendly and welcoming family place for all to play and watch rugby at the heart of the community.”
Director of Rugby, Roger McKerlie added: “Our passionate belief in being One Club is not lip service or a marketing sound bite, we live and breathe it every day.”
“I am delighted that the 1st team fulfilled their potential by winning the League and I am equally pleased to see our other three senior sides coming first or second in their leagues, the Acorns bringing home the Kent Plate cup and the conveyor belt of success at junior level with the Under 12s, 13s and 14s boys all being county champions, the Under 15s boys being plate champions and the Academy 1st team squad winning the Kent Under 18s 7s.”
“Of course while we are revelling in the season’s achievements, we know that we have lots to do over the next few years and the planning has already started so it will be a busy off season. For now, congratulations and thanks to the players, coaches and medical staff who have managed this amazing 12 months.”
Michael Wooldridge, Sevenoaks Rugby Club President, said: “I would just like to say how proud I am of the club and that with Trevor’s vision for the club, Roger’s direction in all things rugby and Adam and his coaches’ superb implementation, it has been an exceptional and incredibly rewarding season throughout.”