Sevenoaks Rugby 1st XV 31 Gravesend 1st XV 24
Last Saturday saw Sevenoaks Rugby welcome local rivals Gravesend to the Paddock for their latest London 1 encounter. Oaks fresh off a good win against high flying Tottonians in their last outing were looking to put back to back victories together for the first time since October, whilst the visitors were looking to avenge the defeat Oaks inflicted upon them in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Slate grey skies and a light dusting of snow covered the pitch with the portents for the day being for a forward dominated arm wrestle with the set piece being more crucial than ever and the spoils would almost certainly earned by the side with the greater appetite for victory.
The first half was a stolid affair with both sides exchanging a try apiece. The visitors registered first with a score from their centre only to see this matched by one from the industrious Barry who burst over the line from a catch and drive to notch the first of a brace on the day. Throw in a couple of kicks from the respective outside halves and the teams turned round with the score at 10-8 to Captain Coleman's men.
The second half followed a similar pattern, Gravesend kept their score ticking over with the boot as Oaks' indiscretions were severely punished while the home team slipped over the whitewash through centre Field and Barry scoring his second five pointer of the day.
With time running out and the home side leading 24-17, Gravesend set up camp in the Oaks twenty two as they desperately searched for the tying score. Wave after wave of pick and go was repelled by the Oaks defence, that had been reduced to fourteen men by the issuing of a yellow card, until they finally decided to send the ball out wideand their winger jogged in unopposed. The extras were added to make the score twenty four apiece.
With little time on the clock Oaks restarted with an urgency and accuracy missing from much of their performance on the day. A good first up tackle from Barry caused a knock on in the visitors half. At the ensuing scrum the referee was left with little alternative to penalise a rapidly retreating Gravesend scrum that splintered under pressure.
With Winter still on the naughty step, replacement Phoenix stepped up to attempt the game winning kick. His effort narrowly went wide, however, the Gravesend defender, instead of dotting down for a twenty two drop out and a guaranteed draw, remarkably decided to try and clear to touch. His effort was charged down and the ball took several bizarre bobbles in the in goal area before Oaks centre Field fell on it with glee to secure the win. Phoenix added the extras and the home side recorded a full five point win when only seconds earlier they had seemed destined to have to settle for a draw.