Last Saturday afternoon, at about 2.45pm, as both Sevenoaks 1st XV and Cobham 1st XV were huddled in the changing rooms at half time, the heavens well and truly opened. In a tight contest, in which the away side had been the better side in the first half, those Oaks supporters who may not have seen the home side perform this season, could have been forgiven for thinking that this cold and wet weather front would signal the end of any hope of Oaks coming away with a win.
For in years gone by, Oaks have been famed for being at their best when the sun was shining and the ground was firm. The sight of rain and mud was not something that a man dressed in navy blue and hunting yellow was particularly fond of. But such has been the change in mentality of this young Oaks senior squad under Head Coach Adam Bowman, that on Saturday they seemed to relish the conditions, harrying and bustling their opponents into errors, forcing field position from which they scored three tries and a penalty and sealing a win that in years gone by many would have not predicted.
'The execution of our game plan in the second half was very good' said Adam Bowman. 'At half time we talked about the areas of the park that we wanted to play and also how we would work our way back into the game. What's been really pleasing from a coaching group perspective is the way the players have listened and put into action our plans.'
Bowman continues 'You can have all the game plans you want, but unless the players execute it, it remains on the whiteboard in the changing room. It helps immensely that a number of the squad on Saturday have come through the Academy ranks and so understand the structure of what we are trying to implement. We had 12 out there who have been through the Academy, which we are immensely proud of. Of those, 8 of the boys who won the National Plate were playing so its great to see that the work of the Club, in particular Jon Muchmore, is paying dividends.'
'These guys will be the cornerstone of the squad and Club for the next few years and they are a great advert for our mini and junior sections.'
Looking ahead to this weekend, Oaks 1st XV will be hoping to add to their solitary one win on the road so far this season. 'As we know, there is no easy game in this league and its an extra challenge having to travel - more often not they are longer journeys so we need to get our preparation right and ensure that we start well. I'm also really keen for the 2s to have a good game this week. Unfortunately they didn't have a fixture in the end. They had a really good training session instead, but on a Saturday afternoon each player wants to be out on the field in a battle with the opposition so I look forward to seeing how they go. And the 3s continue to impress with their winning streak. As the 1st XV found out, Tunbridge Wells is a difficult place to go so to head to St. Marks and win, whilst preserving their unbeaten record was superb.'
Oaks 1st XV travel to Chobham this weekend in the London 1 South league fixture. Kick off is at 2.30pm.