Sevenoaks Rugby lost 15-8 to Havant at the Paddock on Saturday 20 January after the Oaks were left to rue giving the visitors, currently third in London & South East One, a 15-0 head start.
Conditions deteriorated through the day and if anything this was in Oaks' favour; based on the lively way that Havant started proceedings, a bit less mud and rain would have put fewer brakes on their running and handling ambitions.
Wave after wave of pressure from the get go by a well-drilled Havant outfit began to wear down the Oaks defense, and the visitors went over for an opening try off fifth or sixth phase ball when a strong supporting runner in midfield scythed through a breach in the Oaks line. They added to this well-executed first try with a rather fortuitous second, after an exit kick by Oaks was charged down and somehow took a ricochet that lucked the ball into the welcome hands of the Havant wing.
A penalty in front of the posts enabled Havant to add a further three points to the tally and the home side went into the half-time break just 0-15 down, knowing they had the wind at their backs for the second half.
Whatever it was that Coach Bowman had to say at half-time, it had the desired effect and the Oaks came out full of verve and gusto. They dominated Havant in the scrum all day, and this upfront pressure finally told. Firstly, Oaks got the score board moving with a nicely slotted long range penalty from Floyd. Then the Havant tight head took his frustrations out on Sevenoaks' loose head Simmons in an act of foul play that earned him a red card. With Havant down to 14 men and 20 minutes still to play, Oaks were in amongst it now and scored a try through Josh Pettit barreling over the line from close quarters, Oaks having hammered away at the Havant line for a good 10 minutes.
With just over 10 minutes left on the clock and the scores at 8-15, Oaks began to ask serious questions of the Havant defense, which did incredibly well to hold firm. By now the conditions were truly dreadful, and the ball was a proverbial bar of soap that proved too slippery for Oaks at vital points as they pressed for a score. But it wasn't to be and when the referee called time on the mud bath, Havant had held firm to consolidate their league position while a losing bonus point was all Sevenoaks had to show for another 80 minutes of hard graft. This Saturday the Oaks hit the road to play second placed CS Rugby 1863, 2:00pm kick off.
Picture caption: Seb Goodhew takes the ball up for Oaks