Horsham 19 Sevenoaks 25
Saturday saw Oaks face their sternest test of the season to date as they made the trip down the M23 to visit third placed side Horsham. The Sussex side had won four of their first five matches and were confident of causing an upset against the unbeaten boys from Knole Paddock.
Oaks, having lost the coin toss, had to play the first half into driving rain that had washed away the pitch markings and a howling gale that blew diagonally across the pitch. The early stages saw both sides try and play some rugby but somewhat surprisingly the home side didn’t put boot to ball and try and pin Oaks back into their twenty two. Oaks, having registered eighty five points in their last outing, were comfortable with ball in hand but also judiciously used the boot to nudge the ball behind the Horsham back three. After pressurising the home line Oaks took the lead with a penalty from outside half Winter and it looked as though they would hold that narrow lead at the turn. However, two excellent tries, one from each team arrived in quick succession. Horsham opened the try scoring with a fluid move and then Oaks winger Saunders, continuing his recent good form, touched down after a solo effort from inside his own half, leaving Oaks with a 10-7 lead at the half.
The second half was played in much calmer conditions and allowed both sides to express themselves more. Oaks kicked an early penalty to take their lead to six points and spurned a couple of chances to take control of the game. However, the home side had different ideas and in the space of five minutes midway through the second half, registered two quick fire long range scores to make the score 19-13 to Horsham. With just over ten minutes to preserve their unbeaten record Oaks had to dig deep into their reserves of self belief to take anything from the game. Skipper Robinson's men showed how far they have come over the past couple of years by notching two tries through the ever reliable fullback Streather who scored out wide and fly half Winter who dotted down besides the posts. Winter added the extras to his own try to make the full time score 19-25 to the visitors.
Coach Vaughan commented ‘For me, bearing in mind the conditions I thought both teams played well and showed a great deal of ambition on a day when it would have been easier to put it up the jumper. Whilst it was a shame not to pick up a bonus point we are pleased with the win which I am sure, by the end of the season, will prove to be a really valuable one. We now move on to two further tough games this month starting with Deal at home on Saturday’.