Sevenoaks Rugby hosted Tottonians on Super Savills Saturday in a much anticipated fixture. The little between these two outfits was confirmed by the 20-20 score line, which rather than perfect vision had a glass half empty feel to it for both teams – especially after a thrilling last 10 minutes when the lead exchanged hands on at least three occasions.
View Dave Purday's outstanding photos of this highly memorable encounter in the Photo Gallery
The match up until that high octane closing lap had a rather mundane feel to it, with a notable exception. There were 'oohs' and 'aahs' for the kicking display of the Totts outside half. Totts opened their account thanks to his sublime three pointer, a drop kick from 50 metres out, that had the Paddock faithful murmuring. Not since the halcyon days of Billy 'Drop Goal' Park has Knole Paddock witnessed a drop goal attempt from the halfway line, let alone one that actually reached.
The Totts lead was doubled with a more prosaic static kick before Oaks responded with a penalty of their own – 3-6 to the visitors.
The match then established its battle rhythm. The imposing navy and gold hammered into an outstanding Totts defense. Patience is a virtue when faced with a gate that doesn't immediately open, however Oaks seemed rather intent on route one and going hard at the line from close quarters when an expansive approach may have been more rewarding. So it was that from around 80 per cent of possession Oaks approached half time with nothing more than the aforementioned three point penalty to show. And then it clicked. Retain the ball. Move the ball one way. Retain the ball. Move the ball the other way. Score. Conversion. 10-6 to Oaks going into the break.
The second half struck up a similar beat. Good pressure saw Oaks make regular inroads into Totts territory only for the combination of the defensive qualities of the visitors and self-imposed infringements to slow them down. It was from one such inroad that the game sparked to life. Totts got hold of a turnover ball and moved it rapidly down the left flank for the full back to dot the ball down in the corner. 'Golden Boot' duly landed the conversion.
The game was afoot and Oaks pressed back into Totts half. Relentless pressure on the Totts line finally resulted in a try, as the Oaks pack barrelled the ball over the line from a rolling maul. Floyd slotted the extras to restore the Oaks lead to 17-13... but not for long. Totts went straight back into the Oaks half and after Oaks gave away a penalty went over for a converted try from the resulting field position that re-established their three point lead.
Oaks were by no means done, however, and showed much character to even the score thanks to a well-taken mid-range penalty by Floyd. Although one would have thought that was enough excitement for one Saturday afternoon, the closing moments of the game saw both teams, first Totts and then Oaks, have a very good crack at securing the win before the final whistle called time on another thrilling Paddock encounter.