After what he described as Sevenoaks RFC ‘best away win since I’ve been involved’, Head Coach Adam Bowman has had time to reflect on his sides 13-7 win away at first placed Brighton Blues on Saturday 26th January. With a break last weekend, Bowman and his squad have taken the opportunity to rest bodies, with a desire to head into training this week fresh.
Delving deeper into the match, whilst delighted with the result, Bowman was clear that it was more of a game for the purists saying ‘Both sides weren’t as accurate as perhaps they wanted to be. It was a bruising match with both sides smashing lumps out of each other. Brighton were definitely on top in the first half, but apart from the try we conceded, our defence was solid. We went into the second half against the wind and what really pleased me was the way the boys trusted the process and got the detail in our game right – we were then able to get a bit of ascendancy and work our way up the pitch. Our accuracy and detail to finish off the chance we had was really good and shows that the work we have put in on the training ground is bearing fruit.’
The result saw Oaks move three points within the Blues, but if anything, the top four are now tighter, with only eight points separating first and fourth. ‘Medway and Camberley probably benefitted more than the ourselves and Brighton’ joked Bowman. ‘Talking to the Brighton guys after the game, we agreed that the top four is wide open. Anyone can beat anyone and there will be twists and turns before the end of the season. We just need to do what we have been doing all season, which is concentrate on the next match and give the upmost respect to the opposition.’
This week sees Oaks lock horns again with local rivals Westcombe Park and Bowman is expecting the level to rise again. ‘We had a very good win away from home earlier in the season, so no doubt they will want to overturn that result. We played out of our skins that day and we will have to do the same again. It’s a sell-out lunch, as expected for a local derby, so it should be a good atmosphere at the Paddock. After a week off, we have to make sure we get back into our rhythm and get the detail right against a very good side. We are really looking forward to getting back out there, at home, in front of a vocal crowd.’
And it’s not just the 1st XV that are involved in the big games this weekend. The Gents, who sit fourth in their league having beaten Edenbridge RFC 50-14 last weekend, take on the same opposition again this week. If they can get another win, the Gents will be closing in on the top table, with only seven points separating Oaks from leaders Ashford RFC. The 2nd XV travel to Canterbury RFC, off the back of a good win against Beckenham RFC, knowing that they need to be at full tilt to compete against a top four side and to maintain their top of the table status.
The same can be said for the 3rd XV, who have had a very good start to the year, albeit it was a frustrating day on Saturday, with their match cancelled due to the weather conditions. This week, they take on East Peckham at the Paddock and will be hoping to start where they left off, after going to Canterbury two weeks ago and coming away with a last minute win to keep their hopes alive of chasing down the top of the table.
All to play for then for those in the blue and gold this weekend. ‘It’s great, that at this point in the season, all the four teams are competing at the top end of their respective leagues’ said Bowman. ‘We feel like we are building some really good strength in depth and it is a headache each week when it comes to selection – in a good way! As a coaching group, we enjoy debating long and hard about each position and it’s made easier by the attitude and commitment of the playing group. Long may it continue.’
SINCE THE TIME OF WRITING, THE GENTS FIXTURES HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED