As opening weekends go, it couldn’t have gone better for Sevenoaks RFC Senior sides. In front of a buzzing Paddock, bathed in sunshine, the 1st XV plundered five tries to beat Thurrock 1st XV by 40 points to 15, whilst down the road at Vigo RFC, the 2nd XV and Gents both managed to overcome their opposition to give Oaks a clean sweep of victories. The manner of victory for the 1st XV was especially pleasing, as they showed maturity in their execution and fitness levels, which no doubt pleased the coaching staff.
‘After a long pre-season and a big build-up, you could just tell the boys were desperate to get going. I know the coaches were!’ said Head Coach Adam Bowman. ‘We had some good home performances at the back of end of last season against London Cornish and Chichester and I thought the performance followed on from that. What pleased me was our accuracy in attack – we put away most of the chances and whilst there is still lots and lots of work to do, we gave ourselves a good base to work from.’
Defensively, Oaks were also sound, something which they have been clearly working on during pre-season. ‘I thought we defended well, particularly in the second half. There are some new processes that Paul (Dawson) has put in place, which will take time for the guys to completely own, but overall we were abrasive and defended well. It was great to be back at the Paddock, in front of a big crowd and with the sun shining. But the challenge now is to back up the performance this weekend on a tough trip away at London Cornish. They are a very good side and always go well at home, so we will be challenging the players to re-focus on Tuesday and Thursday to give us the best chance come Saturday.’
‘I was delighted as well to see the 2s and Gents win as well. The Gents again raised over £200 for the Anthony Nolan Trust which is excellent news and builds on their already impressive fund raising amounts. They had a pretty convincing win, but I know the 2s was much closer and perhaps didn’t hit their straps as much as they would have liked to, starting slowly and making a few errors. But that’s why we had that game – so that we can get the errors out of the system and ensure we are in good shape for the local derby against TJs this weekend. Make no mistake, if we are off our game this weekend at any stage, TJs will punish us.’
He continued ‘It’s kick off with perhaps one of the biggest tests of the year against TJs. I know they have had a restructure there and will be very strong, so the players will have to really be on their game. The league has had a bit of a restructure which is good, meaning there will be perhaps more competitive matches than last season, which is exactly what we want as it allows us to see the players in a testing environment each week.’
Looking ahead to Cornish, due to availability and also injury, Bowman confirms there will be changes. ‘I said to the boys at the end of training last Tuesday, that there were going to be some disappointed players who hadn’t made the 1st XV squad, but that it is a long season, with 26 league games. We used 45 players in the 1st XV last season, so it really is a squad effort and they’ll certainly be players that weren’t involved in the 1st XV last week, playing against Cornish. It’s what we’ve tried to build – competition for places. The players that are given the shirt on Saturday will need to carry on the good work from the previous week. Cornish will be desperate to get a win this weekend at home, having be narrowly been squeezed out at Cobham last week and I think they will be welcoming some players back that missed out last week, so it will be nip and tuck throughout.’
To read last week’s 1st XV match report, click here.
Sevenoaks RFC Senior Squad Fixtures | Saturday 8th September 2018
1415hrs London Cornish RFC 1st XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
1500hrs Sevenoaks RFC 2nd XV v. Tonbridge Juddians RFC 2nd XV
1230hrs Gravesend RFC 2nd XV v. Sevenoaks RFC 3rd XV