Four depleted squads headed to Beckenham this weekend for the Kent Qualifiers, with many players having to withdraw due to illness.  This meant that the remaining players had to pull together to cover their absent comrades and they did….

An undefeated Sevenoaks 1 team faced some tough opposition but managed to deliver convincing wins throughout the group stages.  A buoyant team progressed to the quarter final game to face another undefeated team in Old Colfes, but a 5-5 draw at full time invoked the dreaded coin toss decider.  Unfortunately, it was Sevenoaks that took the loss seeing Old Colfeians progress to the Kent Finals. 

Sevenoaks 2 were slow out of the blocks and with a few handling errors, lost their first game against Ash 4-6.  The team pulled themselves back in to line and concentrated their efforts on relentless tagging, with three wins taking them through to the Plate Quarter Finals where they faced Aylesford Bulls.  With excellent discipline, Sevenoaks stuck to their training and were victorious 9-6 taking them through to the Kent Finals.

Sevenoaks 3 carried their undefeated run in to a second tournament.  Despite the cold, the dreaded slow start was nowhere to be found and convincing wins and a strong defensive line were the flavours of the day.  Both half and full time talks from the coaches were short but sweet with little to improve on.  These wins take their tally to eight games without loss and sees them secure their place at the Kent Finals.

Sevenoaks 4 fought hard in their three games and also saw no losses.  Again, the slow start was absent, instead replaced by a strong push from the outset.  Some selfless teamwork saw the team convert pressure in to tries consistently, with the seventh TAG turnover allowing convincing scores throughout the day and secured their place at the finals. 

On behalf of the whole age group, three squads will represent the SRFC U8s at the Kent Finals on the 24th April. 

Sevenoaks 1

Sevenoaks 1

Sevenoaks 1 was a team depleted by illness related absences as they turned up at a cold and overcast Beckenham early on Sunday morning.  Missing three players (Max, Tiger and William), we were luckily able to draft in Callum Le Roux from Sevenoaks Team 3 as emergency cover so that we could at least have one rolling sub during the games.  Given the reduced team, the boys showed enormous commitment and energy throughout the day. 

Match 1 v Aylseford 3 
Sevenoaks 1 were straight into their stride in this first game, with excellent tagging throughout the game leading to three 7 tag turnovers.  Some good running rugby resulted in 6 tries for Sevenoaks, but the key success factor in this game was the tagging, reflected by the fact that we only conceded 1 try due to one missed tag.  Overall a great start, Sevenoaks running out 6-1 victors. 

Tries: Edward, Jan (3), Yiannis, Callum 

Match 2 v Cranbrook 1 
This was always going to be the pivotal match in our group with Cranbrook putting out a strong team.  As expected, it was a tough contest, both teams tagging well and dealing with some good strong runners on either side.  The quality of play was high and both teams traded tries, neither side able to make a clear break and it was 2-2 at halftime.  The boys kept their focus in the second half and despite having to deal with some handing-off by some Cranbrook players, kept their composure in a tight finish to emerge eventual winners 5-4.  An outstanding result. 

Tries: Harry C, Isaac, Jan, Yiannis (2) 

Match 3 v Sittingbourne 2 
Possibly suffering from their earlier exertions, the first half against a modest Sittingbourne team was fairly lethargic, with Sevenoaks letting in two tries.  But the boys responded well to the half-time talk from the coaches, and picked up the energy levels in the second half, with much more committed tagging (including a 7 tag turnover right on the Sevenoaks try line to save a certain try) and running in some good tries.  Final score: Sevenoaks 7 - Sittingbourne 2. 

Tries: Edward (2), Harry E (2), Jan (3) 

Match 4 v Whitstable 
Sadly Whitstable had pulled out of the tournament, so we were unable to play our final pool game.  However, with 3 wins out of 3, we were through to the quarter-finals. 

Quarter-final v Old Colfes 1 
We were facing Old Colfes, the winners of Group H.  This was a winner-takes-all match, which is ironic given subsequent events (read on!).  The match itself was of a very high quality, both sides playing at pace with determined tagging and good running lines.  Both teams were pressing hard, and the referee had to penalise offside on a number of occasions.  At one point Old Colfes seemed to be getting a bit of momentum as they pulled clear by 2 tries but Sevenoaks hauled them back to all square.  It really was anyone's game.  Tension levels rose as the end of the match approached and Old Colfes edged 5-4 up.  But Jan scored an equaliser in the dying seconds to give a probably fair result of 5-5.  Sadly the tournament rules did not allow for extra time, so the result was decided through that most unsatisfactory of methods - the dreaded coin toss.  Jeremy was elected chief coin "caller", due to his previous and well documented experience as a "tosser", but alas called incorrectly, and Sevenoaks 1 were knocked out of the competition.   

Tries: Edward, Harry E, Jan, Yiannis (2) 

Although it is disappointing to go out of the competition having been undefeated all day, this can be the nature of sport and we can be extremely proud of the boys for showing such commitment and teamwork to progress as far as they did.  Well done. 

Sevenoaks 2

Sevenoaks 2

Sevenoaks 2

It was another early start for Sevenoaks U8’s as four teams headed North to Beckenham RFC for the Qualifiers of the 35th Kent Mini Rugby Festival.  Sevenoaks 2 squad were Alexander Paizes, Barnaby Burns, George Rehbein, Harvey Head, Hugo Smith, Joshua Clare, Lucas Gorrill, Raphael Landgrebe, Stein Russell-Jones.  Unfortunately, the seasonal bugs once again took their toll with both Joshua Clare and Luas Gorrill being unable to travel.  We wish both a speedy recovery.

Game 1: Sevenoaks 2: 4 / Ash: 6

We got off to a bit of a shaky start.  The chill in the air was making for cold hands and fingers, which resulted in a lot of missed tags, a number of passing errors and a few fumbles.  However, there were some impressive moments from Sevenoaks, our final try being one.  Barnaby was able to find space and take the game to within 8 metres of Ash’s line.  Close support from George meant the ball was safely off loaded when Barnaby’s tag was taken.  George pushed on two more metres, but the Ash defence had regrouped and it was the combination of speed and momentum from Raphael and Hugo that secured the try.

Ultimately, Ash were able to hang onto their half time lead right through to the final whistle.

Try scorers were:

Hugo: 1 Raphael: 1 Stein: 2

Game 2: Sevenoaks 2: 6 / Beccehamians 1: 3

What a difference 30 minutes makes!  It felt like a different team that ran out to face Becc’s for our second game of the morning.  Our tagging had improved to such an extent that Becc’s were struggling to get into our half.  Alex ‘the tag collector’ in particular had found his form again.  There were some impressively athletic performances too with Barnaby seen completely horizontal as he dived for and took a tag.  Whilst Sevenoaks lost the toss and conceded the first try, we dominated the game from the restart right through to the end.  A real moral boost for this team’s second outing together.

Try scorers were:

Barnaby: 3 Harvey: 2 Stein: 1

Game 3: Sevenoaks 2: 7 / Tunbridge Judds 1: 6

Being the local derby, the TJ’s game is always an important one and often a tough one for Sevenoaks. As expected and having won the toss TJ’s came out strongly, taking the game to our boys from the word go.  But Sevenoaks showed an impress level of maturity, not panicking but instead concentrating on taking every tag and exploiting the chances when they came.  And eventually they came, with TJ’s suffering two crucial turnovers by running into touch.  A hard fought and very welcome win.

Try scorers were:

Barnaby: 1 George: 3 Stein: 3

Game 4: Sevenoaks 2: 7 / Thanet Wanderers 1: 4

The steady improvement demonstrated by Sevenoaks 2 during the day continued into our final group game of the day.  Tagging was consistent and frustrating for the opposition; George was regularly in support and able to take the ball over the line; Stein and Harvey’s side-stepping from the restart gained valuable ground, and Raphael’s now legendary receiving of the ball at pace sufficient to carry him over were all in evidence.  Sevenoaks were unquestionably in control of this game and enjoyed the experience.

Try scorers were:

George: 4 Raphael: 1 Stein: 2

Game 5: Plate Play-Off

Sevenoaks 1: 9 / Alylesford Bulls 2: 6

Three teams, Sevenoaks, TJ’s and Ash, were tied at the top of Group D on 13 points apiece.  A tally of tries scored separated us into TJ’s 28, Sevenoaks 24 and Ash 21, putting Sevenoaks into the Plate play-off against Alyesford Bulls.  With moral high Sevenoaks took to the pitch and played with control and confidence.  Alyesford lost control on a number of occasions for handing off and protecting their tags, a cautionary tale for us all and opportunities that Sevenoaks took no time in converting.  On one of these occasions Hugo took the ball as first receiver, ran almost the full length of the pitch before frustratingly being tagged a few metres short of the line.  But a controlled pass to George enabled him to finish the manoeuvre with a try.  A superb effort by all 7 team members that left coaches and supporters alike proud and elated in equal measure. See you at the Finals!

Try scorers were:

Barnaby: 3 George: 5 Raphael: 1

Sevenoaks 2 Quarter Final

Sevenoaks 2 Quarter Final

Sevenoaks 2 Quarter Final - Stein pushing on

Sevenoaks 2 Quarter Final - Stein pushing on

Sevenoaks 3 were entered into the Development Draw for the Kent Qualifiers.

On arrival not only was the weather chilly, but the original team was a little disrupted by losing players to other teams as the dreaded end of term bug did the rounds on other teams.

The first match was a very tough game against Old Elthamians– who had some great runners who pushed to the outside.  Normally Sevenoaks are late starters, but in this one there was some great tagging from the start and end to end rugby, where mistakes by both sides were swiftly punished.  All in all a 5-5 Result was fair to both sides.

Next up were Ashford, who although a small and compact side could not really cope with the running lines and speed of Sevenoaks.  The Sevenoaks 'Blitz Defence' really came into its own here as Sevenoaks pushed the Ashford team back and forced mistakes, running out 7-0 winners.

Blackheath were next up and this was a much tougher side to play against.  Although Sevenoaks were never really behind, especially with a couple of 7 tag turnovers, Sevenoaks only just won this one 5-4.  The play was exceptional and aspecial mention must go to Josh McClinton, who seeing he was about to be tagged placed a beautifully lofted pass into the hands of the onrushing Xavier Prongue, who scored in the last play of the game.   Considering how tight the pool was going to be, this proved decisive in giving the pool to Sevenoaks on 'try count back', after ending up equal on points with Old Ethamians.

Sevenoaks topped the group (by 2 tries) and therefore progress to the finals on the 24th April.  All in all a great days work – the coaches remarked that at half time and at the end of the games, there was not much more we wanted them to do as they were working so well.  This also means that this team, following last week’s outings have now played 8 games unbeaten.

Arthur Trussler (2), Ediz Karsak (2), Louis Prade (6), Josh McClinton (1), Sam Pearl, Williams Blackmore (2), Xavier Prongue (4), Zach Owen (1)

Sevenoaks 4 'Warming Up....'

Sevenoaks 4 'Warming Up....'

Sevenoaks 4s first game against O Dunstonian’s set the tone for the rest of the day.  The boys were on fire from the off.  They worked as a team and supported each other with lots of unselfish tries being made by the boys.  We needed to improve our rush defence and get all the boys making tags. Their hard work resulted in a 6-4 win.  A special mention must go to the ref (coach for Cranbrook) who was very fair and was always informing the boys on what they had done wrong and why he had made certain decisions.  Makes life better for the boys when they understand why they are being penalised.

Our second game against Cranbrook 3 proved to be a tougher affair.  Our opposition were will drilled and eager to win.  The boys definitely listened to the coaches and learnt from their first game.  They all came up in a line and always rushed the attacking team.  Both Darren and I were very proud of them, they proved to themselves what a good team they were.  With a couple of great 7 tag turnovers the boys were in the lead with one play to go. Cranbrook 3 played a great game and managed to score in the dying seconds to make it an even 6-6.

With 1 win and 1 draw our third and final game was going to have to be a win.  Our opposition were Blackheath 3.  The boys were focused from the off, some amazing tagging resulted in some quick turn overs.  As coaches we felt they boys put everything they have learnt over the last 3 years into practice.  It was a pleasure to watch them play as a team and really enjoy their rugby.  They were rewarded with a 7-4 win for all their hard work.

Congratulations to all 10 of you. You all made a massive contribution to the end result. We look forward to caching you at the final on the 24th.