Leader of the pack.  Coleman recently ran out for his 100th 1st XV cap in an Oaks shirt. Photo Credit: David Purday

Leader of the pack.  Coleman recently ran out for his 100th 1st XV cap in an Oaks shirt. Photo Credit: David Purday

It’s nearly here.  That day in the year where you can’t sleep the night before due to the anticipation of what is to come.  You wake to sheer excitement of the day ahead, knowing that it will bring with it copious amounts of eating and drinking.  Finally, you wait for the unwrapping of the big present that has been at the back of your mind since the first sight of Christmas decorations in John Lewis back in October…

We are, of course talking about Saturday 17th December, with the main present at 2pm as Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV take on Tunbridge Wells RFC 1st XV at the Paddock.  The man charged with leading the Oaks into battle against their old foes is Stuart Coleman.  Having won his 100th 1stXV cap a few weeks ago, Coleman and his men will be looking to feed off the support from the Paddock faithful for one last time this year as they look to overhaul their rivals.

‘It’s the perfect match to finish the year off’ says Coleman.  ‘Christmas matches are always special at the Paddock and to have Tunbridge Wells visit for this fixture is the icing on the cake.  The Club have worked hard to put lots on – there’s an outside bar, a sold-out pre-match lunch and of course the Carols after at 5.30pm so there so we hope that as many of the Club come out and enjoy the day.’

Oaks were pipped at the post in the reverse fixture between the two sides in September and Coleman knows that another physical battle awaits on Saturday. ‘They were just a bit more streetwise than us in September.  We are still a team in the early stages of its journey, but games like Havant and Gravesend have helped us grow in confidence and showed us that when we apply our game plan, we can mix it with the best sides in the league.’

 Pipped at the post.  Oaks went down to Wells in the reverse fixture at St Marks.  Photo Credit: Graham Henley.

Pipped at the post.  Oaks went down to Wells in the reverse fixture at St Marks.  Photo Credit: Graham Henley.

‘I know a lot has been said regarding the support this week, but I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the Seniors this year.  It’s not just on a Saturday, but emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages – we’ve had some moments this year, particularly at the Play-Off back in April, where the support has taken the players a little by surprise.  It makes training on a Tuesday and Thursday night in the rain and mud worth it and we just hope that on Saturday we can give something for the Oaks faithful to cheer.’

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.

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