It is fair to say that the last two weeks have been a steep learning curve for Adam Bowman’s squad. Whilst the 2nd XV and 3rd XV have stamped their authority on each match they have competed in, both hitting the half century mark last weekend, the 1st XV have got themselves into winning positions but ended up on the wrong side of the score line against Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone respectively.
‘It is fair to say we were frustrated, particularly after the Maidstone game. We got ourselves ahead with three minutes to go and then switched off at the restart. Where perhaps last year we would have got away with that, in this league we cannot afford to switch off – good sides like Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone will punish you’.
‘What the last two weeks have shown is that we can compete at this level, which is the pleasing aspect. Its little things here and there that we need to get right, but we’ve got two losing bonus points against two of the stronger teams in the league. We just need to keep improving and taking each game as it comes.’
On the success of the 2nd XV, Bowman says ‘We’ve said since the start of the season that this is a squad effort and I’ve been delighted with the way the players have applied themselves when representing the 2nd XV. It’s been great to see that the squad has also filtered down to the 3rd XV as well, who had a great 50-point win against Cranbrook 2nds on Saturday. The more strength in depth we can build will hold us in really good stead for the rest of the season, which will be the longest that the Senior teams have been involved in.’
Looking ahead to this weekend, Saturday sees the return of former Head Coach Danny Vaughan to the Paddock and Bowman is full of praise for the man who oversaw Oaks rise to London 1 South saying ‘I learnt so much from Danny and I’m really looking forward to seeing him and catching up. He took the 1s from a side that was close to getting relegated to last season’s promotion campaign and I know all the boys think very highly of him and are all thankful for the advice and coaching he gave them. He has certainly made my job a lot easier due to the platforms he put in place. I’m sure coming back to Oaks he will want to put one over on us, so we need to be on our mettle this week in training and then on Saturday. It doesn’t get any easier for the 2nd XV or the 3rd XV either, as they both face Medway (2s away and 3s at home), so the squad will really be put to the test across the board this coming weekend.’
Finally, Bowman and his squad are clearly thankful for the support they have received so far for their home matches with the Head Coach commenting ‘It has been great to see so many familiar faces at the Paddock these past couple of home matches. We had a good travelling support to Tunbridge Wells as well and it really does make a difference to the boys across all teams. We hope we can get lots of support down this weekend and get behind the 1s and 3s and this time get that ‘W’ for them.’
Oaks 1st XV entertain Dover at the Paddock this Saturday (24th September) with Kick Off at 3pm. The 3rd XV are also at home against Medway (KO 3pm), whilst the 2nd XV take on Medway at Priestfields at 2pm.