Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV made one of the longest journeys of the season to Tottonians RFC in Southampton in good spirits following their good showing against Dover RFC at the Paddock in the previous round of matches.
In bright conditions on a good playing service, it was the away team that started the brighter, this despite the early sin binning of flanker Sean Derrick who spent ten minutes on the side line due to a trip in the Tottonians half. Although Oaks had the bulk of possession, a combination of resolute home defence and lack of precision in the final third meant that the possession enjoyed by the men from the Paddock was not turned into points.
The lack of a killer edge was to be punished midway through the first half. As Oaks coughed up possession again, the quick thinking Tottonians back line took the opportunity ship the ball down the line to their outside centre, who exploited Oaks front five defenders in the wide channels and raced in from 60 metres with an extremely impressive finish. The conversion saw Oaks 7-0 down, having played the majority of rugby.
The score seemed to galvanise the home side and the next passages of play saw them build possession and also pressure Oaks into further mistakes within their own half. A set scrum saw Tottonians work space for their inside centre who cruised through the first line of defence before stepping the last defender to go in for another converted score.
The frustration of the inaccuracy from the previous half an hour, coupled with being two scores down, seemed to stun Oaks into action. After working their way up the pitch and finally putting phases together, Sean Derrick cut a telling line through the home defence and fed Sebastian Goodhuw who strolled in under the bar. Phoenix converted and Oaks were back in the game.
In fact the men from the Paddock were to level the scores late on the first half and after a turnover in midfield, the ball was swung wide quickly to winger Jonny Short who showed his finishing prowess, scorching in from 40 metres. Again Phoenix converted and at half time the scores were level
The second half saw the home side dominate. Despite resolute Oaks defence in the first ten minutes, after a successful penalty by the home side number 10 for an infringement that saw prop Simmons receive a yellow card, Tottonians were to increase their lead through their left winger who brushed aside Oaks tackling with a score in the far corner. Indeed the home side were to gain the try bonus point later on in the second half with the final score of the game as after more resolute Oaks defence, the Tottonians inside-centre broke through tired Oaks tackling to double his try tally and assure the home side of victory.
A frustrated Head Coach Adam Bowman commented after the game ‘We have talked about building phases and being accurate and unfortunately we didn’t do that today. Credit to Tottonians, they were ruthless in the first half when they got a sniff of an opening and once again we have been shown that teams at this level will not let you off the hook if you switch off for one minute. We will work hard again this week and try and rectify our lack of accuracy ahead of a tough fixture against Havant at the Paddock.’
Squad: Power, Sedgewick, T. Simmons, Coleman ©, Aspinall , McCorry, Derrick, Humble, Goodhuw, Shirtcliff, Phoenix, Osgood, Short, Briggs, Owen, Rolfe, Dodd, Winter