Two teams headed to the Saracens Amateurs Festival last weekend, with the sun shining and a couple of strong yet mixed ability teams. With the first coaches and players on site at 0830, the referees briefing and the obligatory coffee and bacon sandwiches saw everyone up and running and raring to go.
Following a combined warm up and some individual handling drills, both teams took to their pitch to face Old Northamptonians. Our opposition were well drilled and had a physical advantage, using set plays from the restarts to great effect to cut through our defensive lines. A strong defensive line by Sevenoaks kept the score differences to a minimum, with many 7th tackle turnovers testament to the tackling commitment from both sides. But in the end, the receiving of the ball at pace saw final scores of As 1:5 and the Bs 2:3.
Game two saw Sevenoaks As pitted against a recognised foe in Old Albanians. A more matched competition, Sevenoaks let the game slip away from them with a couple of missed tackles. Again, seventh tackle turnovers were aplenty, but the usual abilities of individual runners scything through the opposition proved fruitless. Final score of 4:6 did not reflect where Sevenoaks could have finished the game. Sevenoaks Bs faced Wanstead, who fielded a well drilled side, but with little to answer the physical superiority and strong tackling of Sevenoaks, Wanstead didn’t manage to cross the line. Sevenoaks a worthy winner at 7:0.
Our hosts Saracens fielded mixed ability teams for the third games, with a more level playing field seeing Sevenoaks using the pitch more and spreading the ball wide. With some great play by Saracens, both teams performed well, but Sevenoaks proved to be stronger by the final whistle. With two wins chalked up, heads were back high again with As bagging 5:3 and Bs 4:3.
The fourth and final games were against a mixed ability squad from Amersham & Chiltern, with a more evenly matched opposition allowing Sevenoaks to click in to their stride. By the end of the festival, exhaustion and the odd injury reduced the available players for Chiltern and 7 a side dropped to 6 aside at times during the game. Some great running, off loads at pace and using the width of the pitch more effectively saw both team take wins of 6:3 and 8:3 respectively.
Both teams showed some great rugby, bringing together all that has be learnt throughout the season and showing readiness for the next step in to rucks and mauls. An excellent performance.