Those who were at the Paddock last Sunday morning would have noticed that the man with ‘Senior Head Coach’ on the back of his jacket had an extra spring in his step. The day before had seen all three of Oaks senior teams glean victory in their respective fixtures, with the 1st XV managing a bonus point win away at Brighton, the 2nd XV winning a tough away match at Gravesend and the 3rd XV coming from behind to beat the Met Police in a pulsating game that ended up 34-28 to the Oaks. The results, coupled with a bumper turn out on Sunday morning, including a hard fought Under 9s tournament between Oaks and Tunbridge Wells, meant that Head Coach Adam Bowman had a very enjoyable weekend.
‘The three wins across the board were a real boost for the squad’ said Bowman. ‘We’d had a couple of tough weeks, so it was nice to get some wins under our belts. To then come down to the Club on Sunday and see the next generation in action was really motivating – it reminds us that what we are doing at senior level - to put a good structure in place for all of our minis and juniors to come through and play a good standard of senior rugby in an Oaks shirt. The application and physicality in the Under 9s was outstanding – I might be tapping Greg Gorrill and Robert Pearl up to see if they can release some of their players to play on a Saturday!!’
‘But on a serious note, I want to congratulate all the mini and junior coaches on the magnificent job they have done so far this season. The light often gets shone on the seniors, but the work that all the parents and coaches put in on a Sunday is magnificent. It’s often my favourite time of the week coming down on a Sunday morning and seeing the Club buzzing with activity – and not just because of Diane’s bacon butties! Danny Jones has it extremely well organised and I’m often taken aback by how much interest and passion there is from parents and the players when asking how the senior sides got on, which we are extremely grateful for and long may it continue. I know after Christmas, the crunch time comes for a lot of the minis and juniors, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they get in the various tournaments and festivals.’
With the end of the year in full view, Bowman will summon his troops one more time for battle this weekend, as the 2nd XV take on Old Alleynians at home and the 3s travel to Cranbrook. Oh and there is also the small matter of the A21 derby at 2pm. ‘Whilst we have taken each game as it comes, it’s fair to say that, when the fixtures came out at the start of the season, the 1st XV at home to Tunbridge Wells was the one that got everyone’s attention. They were a bit more streetwise than us in September at their place, and have been going very well in recent weeks, so we will have to be at 100% if we are to get anything. They are a team that have a threat all over the park, and although they have had a few injuries to key players, we know that they have strength in depth so will replace those injuries with equal quality. We feel we have matured as a side since we last played them and hope to give a good account of ourselves. I’d like to think that we have played some attacking, quality rugby at home that is good to watch, so those that come down on Saturday should be well entertained.’
With plenty planned for the day, including an outside bar, Bowman hopes that a big Sevenoaks contingent will be there in full voice to support his men. ‘Last year when we hosted Tunbridge Wells, we had the biggest crowd in recent times at the Paddock – it would be great to get something close to that again. It makes it special for the players. The support we’ve had this season, both home and away, has been brilliant, so if those supporters can give us one last cheer before Xmas, I know we would all be extremely grateful. We also have the carols after, so, whatever the result, we are looking forward to sharing some Christmas cheer with our members as well as Tunbridge Wells RFC players, management and supporters – they will be most welcome.’
Sevenoaks 1st XV take on Tunbridge Wells 1st XV this weekend at the Paddock, with Kick Off at 2pm. The 2nd XV are also at the Paddock against Old Alleynians with KO also at 2pm, whilst the 3s travel to Cranbrook.