After gaining promotion to London 1 South, Head Coach Adam Bowman has been at pains to remind all around him that each match would be a learning curve for his squad. Pleasingly for Bowman, it seems that his side are learning those lessons quickly and more importantly, adapting to them, as two excellent wins for the first team in recent weeks have proved.
Before the league took a break, Oaks managed to overcome a powerful and skilful outfit in Havant. In that game, it seemed that Oaks had learnt how to shut out a game, albeit by the skin of Sean Derrick’s fingernails at one point. They then followed that result up with an excellent away win at Gravesend, with the men from the Paddock not only securing the win but also the try bonus point.
Before Bowman casts his eyes over the previous matches and the games ahead, he is keen to stress how thankful the squad are of the support they have received so far this season saying ‘The past two matches for the 1st team have been really special. Having spoken with a number of supporters, they are commenting that even though the results have gone our way, the most exciting aspect is the quality of rugby they are witnessing. The main difference is the quality of the opposition week in, week out. It means that we have to be on the boil each time and in turn that means the quality goes up. But the support that has followed the team has been fantastic and it really makes a difference. At the Havant game, you could feel the support of the crowd egging for the boys to get over the line! As they came off, the applause and cheering will live long in the memory for a lot of those players. The support on social media has been fantastic – even though people aren’t going to make the game, the messages of support and good luck has been brilliant, so it is great if is keeps coming!’
Whilst the 1s have had a successful two weeks, the 2nd XV have suffered with two close losses against Tunbridge Wells and Medway, whilst the 3rd XV have continued to remain unbeaten thus far, coming back from 19-0 down against Cliffe to win 29-24. ‘We had some late adjustments to all squads on Thursday and Friday, which probably disrupted the 2s the most – that’s the nature of amateur rugby’ said Bowman. ‘That said, we still had an extremely strong squad and I know the coaches and players were really disappointed with the performance on Saturday.’
Looking ahead to this weekend, the 1st XV are back to home comforts as they take on Chiswick at the Paddock, a game sponsored by O'Keefe Construction Ltd, whilst the 2s face top of the table Sidcup 2s away and the 3s travel to Vigo. Chiswick travel to the Paddock sitting 10th in the table with 10 points and 2 wins and will no doubt be keen to put in a good showing in the second foray to Kent.
‘I am really keen that we don’t drop in terms of level of performance and commitment this weekend across all teams. That has been the challenge to the squad throughout this season – to ensure that good results or performances aren’t just a flash in the pan. We have to be consistent and that comes from working hard in training and focussing come match day. If we do that then I hope we can give our supporters something to cheer again this Saturday’.
This Saturday see’s Oaks 1s entertain Chiswick at the Paddock, with Kick Off at 3pm. The 2s and 3s are away from home, with the 2s travelling to Sidcup whilst the 3s go to Vigo – Kick off at 3pm.
The 1st XV Match this weekend against Chiswick is sponsored by O'Keefe Construction Ltd, who are market leaders in the Construction, Soil Stabilisation and Remediation sectors. For more information, visit www.okeefe.co.uk