In front of a vocal crowd on Saturday afternoon, Adam Bowman’s 1st XV made it two bonus point wins on the bounce to take them up to sixth place in London South 1. After a torrid beginning and mid-October, Bowman’s team seems to have some confidence back and whilst for the majority of the match against Gravesend they didn’t hit their straps, they are starting to look like they have got their season firmly underway.
‘Without being too disrespectful to the sides we played last year, we were able to get some confidence within the squad with big victories against Gosport, Dover and Chiswick, so whilst we didn’t win all of our matches, we were scoring some big points in some of the games and also picking up losing bonus points if we lost. This season is a step up with all team’s really capable of beating each other. It’s taken time, but we seem to be getting into a rhythm now this season and we are desperate for that to continue this weekend against Thurrock.’
‘They are new to this side of the league so we won’t know much about them apart from little bits we have picked up from speaking to other coaches and players on the circuit. I am sure they will have done the same, but we will just concentrate on ourselves and improving the levels of performance and accuracy from last week. Whilst of course we were delighted with a bonus point win last week, we were a bit flat in places so that is something we have to address.’
Bowman was keen to praise his squad of players too, with training numbers remaining near the fifty mark each session, saying ‘These are amateur players who are giving up their time each Tuesday and Thursday because they want to improve and they buy in to the Squad mentality. It does get more difficult as the nights close in and the weather gets worse – the thought of going out for an hour and a half in the dark and rain is sometimes not the most appealing, but the players have been rising to that challenge and it is down to the coaching group to make the training as varied, challenging and fun as possible for each player.’
‘Despite injuries, our focus on the one squad ethos has enabled us to have four strong teams out each weekend and that is reflected in the results that those below the 1st XV have had. The 2nd XV and 3rd XV are unbeaten and the 4th XV have only had one defeat - that’s quite an achievement and one we are proud of.’
That unbeaten record for the 2nd XV was tested away at Tonbridge Juddians last week, with Oaks just about squeezing across the line with a 42-38 win in a game that saw the scoreline change hands on a number of occasions. That same team will be tested again this week again when they face unbeaten Sidcup RFC 2nd XV, a team that also won the league last season. It doesn’t get any easier for the 3rd XV or 4th XV either, with each facing tough away trips to Canterbury and Sheppey respectively.
Those fixtures then signal the end of a block of matches for all teams, with the weekend of the 18th November providing a ‘rest week’ for all teams, something which Bowman is keen to use to re-charge his squads batteries. ‘I’ve said many times, it’s a long season, so that week provides us an opportunity to rest some bodies and it might also mean that we can get a few more players back in the squad after injury. Our physio department have been excellent, but the relentless nature of the season mean’s that no sooner do we get a lump of players back fit, than another group come in with fresh injuries. It’s something as a coaching group that we are adapting to and I think that it will become more par for the course in future seasons for all Clubs across the country.’
He continued ‘But before we think of putting our feet up for a week, we have to put everything to this weekend. We know that if we give anything less than 100%, we will come away second best. The challenge is for every player in an Oaks jersey to go out there and put everything into a performance.’
Sevenoaks RFC Senior Fixtures | Saturday 11th November 2017
1500hrs Thurrock RFC 1st XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
1430hrs Sidcup RFC XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 2nd XV
1430hrs Canterbury RFC 3rd XV Development v. Sevenoaks RFC 3rd XV
1200hrs Sheppey RFC 2nd XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 4th XV (Gents)