Sevenoaks Rugby 1st XV hosted CS (Civil Service) Rugby 1863 at the Paddock on Saturday for a key clash in London Division 1. Before the match a mere point separated the two sides, CS in 5th and Sevenoaks in 6th. Game on therefore for a tussle for position in this highly competitive league. But it was not to be for Oaks, who went down fighting in a 31-42 defeat.
The visitors punished early errors by Oaks and rapidly opened up a 21-3 lead in the first quarter of the match. The Service Number 8 cut an imposing figure all day and given a little too much room from the back of the set piece and the rucks, took strong forward strides time after time for a lively and fleet of foot outside backs line to make the most of in carving holes that led all the way to the try line for easy tries.
Oaks were to an extent masters of their own downfall, opening with early pressure only for the last pass not to go to hand on multiple occasions, and too often were caught flat footed in defense. CS Rugby - having entered the half-time break 28-3 to the good quickly extended that lead to 35-3 within minutes of the re-start and the Paddock faithful feared a rout.
One thing that Oaks do have is depth of character and it came to the fore, to the point that a remarkable comeback seemed within grasp.
A bulldozing run from close quarters by Oaks prop Power saw him crash over the line, and a brace from Dodd edged the door to victory ever so slightly open. It was shut firmly when Oaks lost one prop to the sin bin following a melee where both sides seemed culpable, and then sadly Simmons left the field with a bad knock to the ankle. We wish Simmo well in his recovery.
Isaac at 10 was reliable as ever with the boot, slotting 5 from 5, and if the handling had proved as dependable then it could have been a very different story.
This Sunday Oaks go again, with an away match to Cobham RFC, 2:00pm KO.