After two months of pre-season training and matches, Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV kick off their league campaign this Saturday as they travel to Chichester RFC to take on a side who were only just relegated from National 3 last term. A physical and smart outfit, Oaks have an extremely tough start, although as Head Coach Adam Bowman comments, every game this season will require Oaks to be on their ‘mettle’.
‘Last season was a real learning curve for the group. We have to learn that to do well in this league, each player needs consistency in performance. The further you want to go up the table, the more you have to consistently focus and do the basics well. The biggest challenge for us as well was the physicality – that really stepped up a notch last season and it took us a time to adjust. But we are year older and wiser now and from so the aim is to make sure we play to our systems and process. We have managed to add some real quality to the squad and kept 95% of the squad from last year, all with the aim in delivering more depth and consistency in our performance, so I hope that this will show through in the first few matches of the season.’
And what about the start to the league then, as Oaks travel to Chichester, a side they last faced away in October 2008, before returning back to the Paddock to take on old rivals Maidstone? ‘I haven’t given the second game a minute’s thought yet if I am honest, and I am sure the same is of Maidstone. We, like last season, will take every game as it comes and we must put all of our focus on Chichester. They are a very good side and it will be an early test of the squad to see how they have matured. That’s not to say our season rests on Saturday, but it will give us a good indication on where we are against what I expect will be one of the top sides in the league.’
‘We are just itching to get out there and play a competitive match. We are now non-stop to mid-October with fixtures and after that we will have a pretty good idea of how the league is settling. I believe it’s going to be even more competitive than last season – there have been some really strong teams that have come into the league I know a number of last year’s crop will have strengthened.’
‘But, as like last year, on our day, we can cause every side in this league trouble. I hope our supporters will see how hard the boys have worked and we are desperate to put on a good showing for them. It’s a mental game as much as a physical one and it’s important that we go out and enjoy the challenge – when we enjoy ourselves and are focused , we play our best rugby so I hope we bring that feeling on Saturday.’
Whilst the league does not kick off for the 2nd, 3rd XV or 4th XV Oaks will take a strong Senior Squad 2nd XV to Romford and Gidea Park RFC to take on their 1st XV in another pre-season fixture, whilst the 4th XV will play in the PC Keith Palmer Memorial Match at the Met Police Ground in Bromley. Both games kick off at 1500hrs.
Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV take on Chichester RFC 1st XV on 2nd September at the Oaklands Pavilion. The match kicks off at 1500hrs and all support is welcome.