As starts go for a year, it’s been a good one so far for Sevenoaks RFC Senior Squad and the Gents. It was wins across the board for Oaks in the first week back, as all four teams secured victories, whilst last weekend saw two of Oaks team in action win, with the 2nd XV pipped to the post by a strong Old Elthamians team. A good start then, but Head Coach Adam Bowman knows there is plenty of work to do and tough tests to come over the coming week, including this weekend when his 1st XV side travel to Cobham, who only narrowly lost away to league leaders Brighton Blues this week.
‘It’s been a good start’ said the Head Coach ‘but, as ever, we aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves. Based on league positions, we were probably expected by most to win the opening two matches, but being completely honest, we were very wary of Chobham and Hove – I’ve said all along that anyone can beat anyone in this league and to be fair to our boys, they have turned up and not rested on their laurels and the results show that. There have been some really pleasing elements – our defence has been good and to concede seven points in two matches shows that the work we are putting in on the training field is bearing fruit. Our attacking shape and structure went well, particularly against Hove, so again that gives us confidence. I thought as well that some of the players that came in at the weekend, in particularly Nat McKerlie, who had a good game at 9 after strong showing in the 2nd XV.’
Bowman continued ‘I was really disappointed for the 2nd XV to lose against Old E’s. The boys were pretty gutted at the end and rightly so – they gave everything and a number of them said it was the toughest game at that level that they had experienced. I think we were helped out by results elsewhere and are still sitting second, a point behind TJ’s, so it’s all to play for. We thought about getting a fixture for this weekend (for the 2nd XV0, but thought that it might be best to rest bodies ahead of an important block of fixtures for the Squad. IIt was great to see the Gents get a good win as well, against the top of the league. Their league is really tight so that was an important win to ensure they are in the mix come the end of the season.’
Looking ahead to this weekend, the Oaks Head Coach knows that Saturday starts an important block of fixtures for the 1st XV, not that Bowman is looking beyond Saturday. ‘I’ve certainly bored people to death with the mantra, most notably when speaking on here, but it really is one game at a time and that is how the squad have approached it. So far, that approach has worked well. We’ve also worked hard to develop our structures and patterns and feel if we get that going on a match day, then we will be a hard team to play against. Also its given our supporters some joy when watching us, which is the most important thing.’
He continued ‘Cobham will be really tough – it is always a ding dong battle with them. They have a really good pack and are a side that has lots of talent and skill in the backline. For anyone who is going to watch the match, it should be a good spectacle as I have no doubt both sides will try and play on their excellent surface. We are desperate as a group to keep our form going and will be pulling out all the stops this week and on Saturday to give ourselves the best chance to come out on top.’