Four wins across all senior teams in action last week continued the good start to the season by Sevenoaks RFC. Whilst Oaks 1st XV edged a tight match at Old Colfieans, the 2nd XV backed up their impressive win against Charlton Park with another fine display, beating local rivals Tunbridge Wells 2nd XV 46-0. In their first showing of the season, the 3rd XV beat East Peckham, whilst the 4XV Gents kicked off their league campaign in style with a 47-10 win at home to Gillingham Anchorians 2nd XV.
On his 1st XV sides win away at Colfes, Bowman was in reflective mood saying ‘Immediately after the game, we felt frustrated that perhaps we didn’t perform to the levels and standards we set ourselves. But that was down to Colfes and the way they played. I think they’ll be plenty of teams who have difficult games down at Colfes, so to get the win, in difficult circumstances, is a result we will take. The wins by the other senior teams make the weekend so much more enjoyable too. We are one squad, and so every result matters and counts. Feedback from the other coaches is that there were some outstanding performances so there will be changes this week again – if a player is playing and training well, they will get their chance.
Three of four Oaks senior sides are in action this week, with the 2nd XV not having a league game. ‘It is frustrating that, after two league games, the 2nd XV now have a week’s break’ said Bowman. ‘ Paul Vizard has worked really hard to get a 2nd XV fixture but we haven’t been lucky enough to pick one up. I do feel for the players, as we have a squad that is hungry to play matches and continue their good start to the season. But we are where we are, and those players now have to ensure they train well so they are then raring to go next week.’
Oaks 1st XV travel to Medway RFC this week, taking on a side who have not lost yet this season. ‘Medway are a quality outfit and will be up in the top places of the league come the end of the season’ said Bowman. ‘They are very physical, well organised and have some real talent within their squad so it will be the toughest of tests. We’ve trained well so far this week and will hope to put in a good account of ourselves. The 3rd XV, under the stewardship of Brighty, will need to be on their mettle too, as Deal and Betteshanger are always a tough nut to crack, but we have a good mix of youth and experience in that side this week. The 4th XV have always had close matches against Old Gravesendians 2nd XV, with a score or so in the final result, so it looks like a good game in store there.’
A lot has been made in the past week in the national media, particularly at the professional end of the game, about the rise in physicality and player welfare within the game of rugby union, and Bowman is keen to point out that the physical demands are also being felt down at London 1, with a number of players suffering injuries already. ‘It’s why we have been focused on building a squad where we have a number of players vying for a position. London 1 is a physical league – players and teams are getting fitter, stronger and faster. The pitch towards the end of the game on Saturday looked like something out of a war film, with players from both sides strewn across the pitch. We are lucky that we have an excellent medical department that the coaching team work very closely with and the players are looked after very well by them. I think there might be a number of results this year that people won’t expect simply because sides will lose players through injury and perhaps they won’t have the strength in depth to then fill those spots. We feel we are in a good position at the moment though and that’s why the results and performances of all of our teams is important.’
To read the match report from last weekend's 1st XV match, click here
Sevenoaks RFC Senior Fixtures | Saturday 23rd September 2017
1500hrs Medway RFC 1st XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
1500hrs Sevenoaks RFC 3rd XV v. Deal and Betteshanger 2nd XV
1500hrs Old Gravesendians RFC 2nd XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 4th XV (Gents)