The men of Sevenoaks mightys 3's took to the hallowed ground of the Paddock on Saturday, riding high on a winning streak that saw 6 wins from 6 matches and feeling confident. Traditionally when an opposition turns up with tackle bags to warm up with, it shows a level of determination; Cliffe RFC turned up with tackle pads and a fan base so Sevenoaks knew they were in for a hard match. From the first whistle, Cliffe came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and set the tone for what would be a very physical first half. With a powerful pack, they started to take the yards from Oaks who still hadn't woken up yet. Sevenoaks paid for this with an early try being scored by the visiting side, profiting from loose ball in Sevenoaks' 22 and ending up beneath the sticks as a result. Sevenoaks answered with a flurry of big carries from Oaks legends, Sammy Miles, James Garcia and 'double Kent cup winner' Malcolm (if you haven't heard about his Kent cup wins then he would be delighted to fill you in next time you are at the club, train station, park or any where else he may see you). This increased level of activity shook Cliffe and they realised Sevenoaks were not going to be rolled over so easily. With ground made in Cliffe's half, Sevenoaks were unable to put points on the board, however Cliffe answered again by scoring two more tries from loose play end errors to end the first half 19-0.
With a passionate speech and crafty tinkering by Pip at half time, The Mighty Oaks were determined that this game would not be the end to their perfect start to the season. It was now Sevenoaks' turn to take charge of the game. Nathan Cosh nabbing a superb intercept try in the opening minutes of the second half. This was topped off with a sublime second try from Brighty scored within minutes of the first - running the ball back virtually untouched from the 10 metre line: Sevenoaks were now back in the game at 19-14.
Although Sevenoaks had taken charge of the game, Cliffe were by no means going to take things lying down and through hard work they fought their way to oaks line and exploited a big overlap on the left hand side of the pitch, bringing the score to 24-14. The home team were not worried, they knew how quickly they had scored two tries before and knew that they could do it again. Digging deep to find a second wind that many didn't even know they had (oo-er missus!), the Sevenoaks men kicked off. Thanks to the hard working pack, who had been turning over ball throughout the game, the pairing of Dylan Angus (9) and Dan Scott (10) were finally able to give the three-quarters sufficient space to work with and Sevenoaks were finally able to unleash the full potential of their back line - scoring two well worked tries via rampaging runs from James Garcia. This brought the home team ahead for the first time in the game. With seconds left in the game, Sevenoaks earned a crucial turnover via Johan Roussow and were awarded a penalty which was slotted cleanly over the posts to bring the final score to 29-24 to the home team.
To top off the victory, the Ref who was being assessed through out the game, informed Oaks that they level he saw them play in the second half was far beyond anything he would of expected to have seen in their league and praised them on their determination and fitness. On hearing that he was fitter than the opposition, Rob Thurnell burst out into a fit of laughter
Previous matches between these two great clubs have seen epic battles, bloodied faces, drawn matches and season's bragging rights.
This year , the visitors arrived with depleted numbers,for various reasons, but otherwise keen to start the league season. The Oaks decided not to take the win by forfeit and lent 4 worthy delegates to the Cranbrook cause to begin combat.
It was not long before the powerhouse Garcia began his quadruple try-scoring day, albeit more than ably supported by Chris Bright and double try scorer Luke Johnstone.
Cranbrook to their credit never gave up - scoring four tries themselves, two of them from the borrowed Oaks, stalwart Rob Thurnell and newby Josh Searby, which made the 3rd XV management sweat a little harder and doubt the decision of not taking the forfeited points earlier. However tries from Rob Kemp, Tom Kelly and Skipper James Anderson (clearly showing off for his new girlfriend) finally put the game to rest. Medway this weekend promises to be a far tougher encounter!
Oaks enjoy victory at Jim Monks Memorial
Sevenoaks 3rd XV beat Dover 10-3 at Dover on Saturday 10 October. This was a well dug out win against an organised Dover 3rd team. This typically prosaic appraisal of team manager Pip Woolacott sums it all up:
"Basically we were awful at the breakdown, but forward power won through. Two tries from driving mauls from captain Tom Kelly off the line out, capabily thrown in, by man of match and war horse Rob Thurnell.
"Number 10 Jack Curnow provided the backs with some momentum and power running from Coetzee ensured that the 3s were never really in trouble...yet what should have been free flowing rugby was left to the stick it up the jumper brigade."