Chiswick 1st XV 25-36 Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV travelled to Chiswick RFC for a London 1 South fixture that was to be played in perfect rugby conditions. With the sun shining and the ground in good nick, Oaks were keen to ensure they continued their recent good run of form which had seen them beat Tottonians and Gravesend in their previous two outings.
With Brighton Blues hitting a good vein of form in recent weeks, Chiswick had been dragged into the relegation battle at the bottom of the league, although Oaks knew from the last outing between the two sides what a threat the men from South-West London could pose and were eager to start off at a pace.
Indeed they did that, and with the excellent Issac Winter pulling the strings and some incisive running from full-back Dominic Saunders, centre Josh Penney and wing Shadyn Osgood, Oaks pressured Chiswick into conceding a kickable penalty. Dan Phoenix stroked over the three points and Oaks were 3-0 up within ten minutes.
Playing with tempo and good structure, Oaks were to score the first try of the match through Saunders, who finished off some crisp hands in the right hand corner after Scott Sedgewick and Sean Derrick had punctured holes in the home defence. With Phoenix hitting an excellent touchline conversion, Oaks were plundered a 10- lead.
This stirred the home side and for the next ten minutes Oaks were under the cosh. Some uncharacteristic poor tackling from Oaks led to Chiswick breaking through and gaining field position. This would lead to two penalties, both of which the home side would convert to drag themselves back to within four points of Oaks. It was 10-6 Oaks with 20 minutes played.
The next score was crucial and it was to go to the away team. The excellent Saunders, who had caused havoc in the wide channels, spotted a gap in the heart of the home defence. Dashing through and swiping off would-be tacklers, the full-back drew the final man before passing to the supporting Sedgewick who dotted down under the posts for fine score. Phoenix was successful with the conversion and Oaks were 17-6 to the good.
The home side were to hit back though, and after more weak tackling from Oaks, the excellent Chiswick full-back - a thorn in Oaks side all game - broke through three tackles to stretch and score. The conversion was successful and Chiswick were back to within four again. 17-13.
With the half-time whistle approaching, Oaks upped the tempo of the match and after a penalty had been awarded, quick thinking from Oliver Shirtcliff saw him tap and go. The scrum-half sprinted towards the line and drew in the defence before popping the ball off to Winter who walked in under the bar for a third Oaks five-pointer. Phoenix again added the extras and Oaks went in to the break with a 24-13 lead.
The second half was to be a scrappier affair. After some helter skelter rugby, forwards Stuart Coleman, Sean Derrick and Tom Naismith were to carry hard into midfield and after some good phase play, it was replacement Matt Dodd who took the offload from skipper Coleman to go in by the posts for Oaks bonus point try. Again Phoenix was successful with the conversion and Oaks now had a comfortable 31-13 lead.
Despite this, Chiswick continued to press, but after a turnover in midfield, the ball went loose from the home side and into the hands of Jonny Short. The winger was snaffled, but his offload to Eoghan Barry saw the flanker sprint away. Unselfishly, the Irishman gave the ball to Josh Penney and the centre sprinted clear to touch down for Oaks fifth. Phoenix was unable to add the extras and Oaks led 36-13.
If Oaks thought that the fifth try would break Chiswick, then they could think again. The home side showed how determined they were and responded with two tries of their own, one right at the death, to bring the final score 36-25 to Oaks. With a strong pack and some dangerous outside backs, Chiswick are a side that more than have the capability to stay within the league and will no doubt be a tough nut to crack in their remaining fixtures.
After the match, Head Coach Adam Bowman commented 'To get three wins on the bounce now is really pleasing. Whilst there are lots of areas to work on, I said to the team afterwards that if someone was to offer us a bonus point win away from home, we would have bitten their hand off.'
Bowman continued 'We are new to this league and with sit one point off fifth with six games to go. The boys have equipped themselves really well and to come away to an established team in this league and win is testament to the work and effort the whole Senior Squad have put in to date. We are not slapping ourselves on the back though - we will re-focus, work hard and make sure we are in the best shape possible to face CS Rugby 1863 in two weeks time for a huge test of our credentials.'
1. D. Power
2. S. Sedgewick
3. T. Simmons
4. S. Coleman (C)
5. T. Naismith
7. E. Barry
8. S. Derrick
9. O. Shirtcliff
10. I. Winter
11. J. Short
12. D. Phoenix
13. J. Penney
14. S. Osgood
15. D. Saunders
16. A. Rolfe
17. M. Dodd
18. C. Karg