Thanet 22 Sevenoaks 27
Oaks made the long journey to East Kent last Saturday to face a Thanet Wanderers side desperate to register a win to boost their hopes in the battle for survival this season. Oaks were forced into a number of changes due to injury and illness but were still hopeful of picking up the bonus point win they needed to keep their promotion charge on track.
Both teams were greeted by grim weather, a cold blustery wind, intermittent rain and a soggy sloping pitch that made for difficult playing conditions and had the crowd wistfully looking back to the fast tracks so prevalent earlier in the season. The ensuing tussle was, despite both teams best efforts to play an expansive game, something that will not live long in the memory. Oaks could have paid a high price for their imprecision and mental slackness on the day, due to a combination of the festive break and the lack of training caused by the Paddock resembling the paddy fields of the Far East.
However, as with all good pantomimes, it all turned out well in the end with both sides pleased with their points haul on the day. Oaks were delighted to escape with a bonus point win through tries from Thorpe, Swallow, Tree and Dodd. Equally Thanet and their supporters were overjoyed with the last minute score that gave them an unexpected losing bonus point that means that Crowborough, the team immediately above them in the table, are now within reach.
Coach Vaughan commented ‘I am obviously delighted to come to Thanet on a grim day and take home maximum points. However, our execution today and our mental application were not what I would expect. We looked like a team that had left our minds on the bus, whilst all credit to Thanet who were on the pace from the off. We played well for a total of ten minutes, scored four tries to put the game to bed and then popped on the slippers and settled down in front of the fire with a mince pie and a glass of something warming and that just isn’t good enough.’