Whilst last weekend saw mixed results for the 1st XV and 2nd XV, with the former losing away to a strong Tottonians side but the latter winning a tough encounter against Dartfordians 2nd XV in the Invicta Cup, Head Coach Adam Bowman remains, as expected, level headed as Oaks approach the final game in a six week block of matches, saying ‘Just as we didn’t get carried away with the result against Dover the week before, so we shouldn’t get too down having our heaviest defeat so far this season against Tottonians. They are a very good side who have had experience at this level. Equally, the 2s found the going as tough as they have had it at Dartfordians, although it was great for them to come out on top.’
‘As a squad we will be disappointed with the performance levels last weekend in both games – we have set ourselves very high standards in training, and when we don’t hit them, even if we win, there is that nagging disappointment, which I see as a huge positive as it shows the whole group want to get better and won’t accept a below-par performance. It is also important to remember that we are very early on in our journey as a squad and we will have days when things don’t go to plan – it’s how we figure that out and amend which is the next stage of our development.’
Oaks will finish off the first block of league fixtures this Saturday, with both 1s and 2s at home against Havant and Tunbridge Wells 2s respectively, whilst the 3s are away against Sittingbourne. Bowman sees it as the squads strongest challenge yet saying ‘Havant have had a strong start to the season, with their only loss to lead leaders Tunbridge Wells at St Marks in Round 4and whilst the 2s put fifty points on Tunbridge Wells in a pre-season friendly at the start of September, they will undoubtedly be stronger and out for revenge. The boys now are starting to see the physical impact each weekend is having as generally the opposition are bigger and fitter, so its down to us as coaching staff to ensure that training finds that balance between preparing the boys physically but also being aware of the battle from the weekend.’
And Bowman and his players are also calling on the support of the Club to get behind the team as they face two of their toughest challenges in the season so far. ‘There are two really good fixtures to watch this weekend and we’d be delighted to see as many Oaks supporters down at the Paddock this Saturday. It makes a huge difference to the squad, seeing the balcony and touchlines full with vocal support cheering the boys on. The level of rugby has also taken a step up and I think those who haven’t seen it yet will be pleasantly surprised with the level of rugby on offer.’
Oaks face Havant 1s and Tunbridge Wells 2s this weekend at the Paddock, both scheduled for the 3pm KO. The 3s will look to continue their great start to the season as they travel to Sittingbourne, again a 3pm KO.