Charlton Park RFC 2nd XV 5 - 88 Sevenoaks RFC 2nd XV
Sevenoaks RFC 2nd XV travelled to Charlton Park RFC for their first league game of the Invicta Kent League season. Oaks had played in a warm-up the previous week against Romford and Gidea Park RFC 1st XV and had showed signs of promise despite losing the match.
Oaks blended youth with experience for this fixture, fielding three seventeen year olds, in Matas Jurevicius, Harry Pound and Alfie Savage alongside seasoned 1st XV centurions such as Matt Dodd and Simon Tree. The challenge from the coaching team in the lead up to the fixture was to play to structure and pattern and to try and provide enough space for Oaks pacy outside backs to attack in.
Indeed the match was to be a coaches dream for Oaks, as from the off, a well worked move saw the ball recycled to Dodd who sprinted through under the posts. The try was converted by the excellent Harry Pound and Oaks were out of the blocks fast. After receiving the kick off, Oaks worked their way down the field and good hands from Rugg, Tree and Chatfield put winger Searby in for another score, which was once again converted by Pound.
Oaks forwards, including the experienced Aspinall,, Boatwright-Smith, Baldock and elusive Nicholls, managed to knock holes into the home defence and created more space out wide for the backs, with this time full back Ed Chatfield being the beneficiary as he went over for Oaks third, converted by Pound. Oaks were to score a further five tries in the half, with Chatfield completing his hat-trick alongside further tries for Dodd, McCorry and fly-half Rugg, Pound converting two.
Oaks attacking rugby was superb, but equally as impressive was their defensive display. Each time the home side had the ball, led by Leadbetter, young Savage and Rolfe, Oaks harried and pressed hard, not give Park space and producing turnovers which Oaks broken field runners, in particular Jurevicius, revelled in.
Despite the score line, Park were determined not to lie down, and so just after half time bulldozed their way down to Oaks twenty-two. After a snipe by the Park 9, they caught Oaks blindside napping and went over in the corner for an unconverted score.
Oaks responded with six more tries from Henley who picked off a loose ball at the lineout, captain Baldock, debutant and Man of the Match Harry Pound, Josh Searby, Matt Dodd and Ellis Jones. With two more conversions from Pound to take the score to 88-5.
After the match, senior coach Matt Bates commented ‘that was probably one of the most complete performances by an Oaks second team side that I have seen. It’s always a challenge in a game where the lead is fairly substantial early on, as structure can sometimes go out of the window, but the half backs directly the game superbly and we played to pattern throughout the match. It shows the quality of squad that we have this year to post a score and performance like that.’
The 2nd XV take on Tunbridge Wells RFC 2nd XV at the Paddock this Saturday 16th September 2017. Kick off is at 1500hrs.