Sevenoaks Rugby Club fielded three squads for the under 8s last Sunday in the Kent Festival Finals. The fourth squad, despite not losing a game in the qualifiers, missed out due to the coin toss decision a few weeks earlier, that decided Old Colfs progressed instead. Aylesford Bulls played last minute hosts and the weather did its best to keep everyone on their toes – Rain/Hail/Snow/Sun – we had it all.
With one squad competing in the Plate Finals, Sevenoaks 2 played their first game against Maidstone well, taking a win that would hopefully stand us in good stead for the rest of the day. After a two hour wait, a loss to Cranbrook meant that the final game of the day would require 5 tries and a win over Aylesford to take the group. Despite a tough defence, Sevenoaks managed to secure the tries required but unfortunately lost the game by one.
Two squads were in the Development Finals, facing local rivals TJs and Tunbridge Wells and despite acquitting themselves well, the crunch match for the two squads was to be last. Sevenoaks vs. Sevenoaks is not an unfamiliar fixture at festivals, but this was to be a hard fought one between two very committed teams. The winning team in the end was 'Sevenoaks 3' and they were to stand victorious in their group and were awarded the Development Cup.
Now only a tour stands between the group and contact next season. From all the SRFC U8 Coaches and Support, thank you parents and players alike for a great season and we will see you in September in the U9s.
It has been said that if you don’t like the springtime weather in Britain, wait a minute and you’ll see something different. Well that was the case today. We saw hail, rain, wind and brilliant sunshine throughout the day at Aylesford Bulls RFC for the Kent Minis Rugby Finals day. A total of three Sevenoaks U8’s teams travelled east today, with Alexander Paizes, Barnaby Burns, George Rehbein, Harvey Head, Hugo Smith, Lucas Gorrill, Luke Coll, Mackenzie Copp, Raphael Landgrebe, and Stein Russell-Jones making up Sevenoaks 2, competing for the Plate.
Game 1: Sevenoaks 2: 5 / Maidstone 1: 3
This was a terrific start by Sevenoaks, with the boys applying a season’s worth of tagging training to great effect. Raphael in particular has developed into a highly effective tagger, rivalling Alexander for the ‘Tag-collector’ moniker. Sevenoaks forced at least one 7th-tag turnover in the first half and with Hugo’s touchline sprint to score on the halftime whistle, Sevenoaks took the lead. The second half saw Sevenoaks take control of the game again, with three more tries before the end. Two more tries could have been added had it not been for some bad luck. 2 minutes before the end and getting bogged down in Maidstone’s defence, Mackenzie executed a wonderful pass practically the full width of the pitch, to an eager Barnaby. Without missing a step, Barnaby collected the ball and headed for the try line. Sadly a touch infringement was called preventing the try. Then, in the final play of the game with Barnaby on the Maidstone try line, he erroneously believed he had been tagged and passed to Luke who put the ball down. Sadly, Luke was missing a tag and the try was disallowed.
Try scorers were: Hugo: 2 Lucas: 1 Luke: 1 Mackenzie: 1
Game 2: Sevenoaks 2: 3 / Cranbrook 1: 4
The peculiarities of the scheduling meant that a good 2 hours had passed since our first game. Time enough for minds to wander and a little of the edge seen at the start of the tournament to be lost. None the less, our boys faced up to a well-disciplined Cranbrook team with focus and courage and gave their all. Unfortunately too many missed tags meant Cranbrook took the lead in the second half and we ran out of playing time before we could catch them.
Game 3: Sevenoaks 2: 5 / Aylesford Bulls 4: 6
Despite the disappointment of the previous game, Sevenoaks were still in with a shot at winning the group. But we need to score 5 tries and beat our hosts. The boys took the field and played their hearts out, with significantly better tagging and impressive efforts to use the full width of the pitch. George seemed to conjure gaps in the defence out of thin air a number of times, with one resulting in a try, despite having restarted in his own half. Unfortunately, a couple of knock-ons in the first half had us 3-1 down by the first whistle and whilst the boys were able to close the gap to a single try in the second half, that’s where it ended. The coaches had asked for 5 tries and for everyone to do their best and that’s exactly what our boys delivered. It wasn’t a win, but the coaches felt every one of our boys should feel rightly proud of their performance. And so their time a tag rugby players concludes. Next season it’s a whole new ball game!
Try scorers were: Barnaby: 1 George: 1 Mackenzie: 2 Raphael: 1
Sevenoaks 3 U8s extended their impressive unbeaten run to 15 games to win the Development Cup this weekend at the Kent Finals, hosted by Aylesford RFC.
The squad, now back to full strength having recovered from the bug that claimed several players for the qualifiers, did all that the coaches could ask for, especially in defence, and they deserved to be crowned the best development side in Kent at the end of a long season.
First game up, Tunbridge Wells 3, was always going to be difficult. Although Sevenoaks are notorious for slow starts, the Sevenoaks 3 team came out of the blocks quickly. Immediately, the boys quickly closed the gap on restarts to try and stopped the opposition from getting any time on the ball. This proved to be Sevenoaks 3 trump card. T.Wells could not get their game going. The Sevenoaks support play was superb and after a good performance from both sides, the score line finished 5-4 in Sevenoaks’ favour.
Next up was the always combative Tonbridge Juddian 3. Although expected to be our stiffest opposition, the coaches hardly had to say anything to the Oaks team who turned over the ball on at least 2 occasions on the 7 tag rule and ruthlessly pushed TJs back, on one occasion to the point where they had to play behind their own goal line. Sevenoaks ran out impressive 7-2 winners.
A testament to the strength in Sevenoaks U8 rugby was the last game on the pool, against Sevenoaks 4. For some of the players, this would be their last ever game of tag rugby; even against friends, Sevenoaks 3 were determined to come out strong. And so it proved, to win 5-2, and to secure the Cup.
All in all, a most satisfying day for the coaches. And as can be seen from the list of scorers, this was truly a team effort: Arthur Trussler (2), Callum Le Roux (2), Ediz Karsak, Forbes Logan (3), Josh McClinton, Louis Prade (2), Sam Pearl (1), William Blackmore (1), Xavier Prongue (3), Zach Owen (2).
Sevenoaks 4 entered the first match with confidence building (after a good training session last week) and immediately forced a turnover in the game from some aggressive attacking of the defensive line – the one aspect we’d been working hard on. In fact it was pleasing to see the boys grasp the amount of pressure we could put on good runners if we closed their space down early. Unfortunately we coughed up some easy possessions – specifically running into touch on 3 occasions – which allowed our opposition to relieve the pressure at crucial times. It’s a match we played well in but when TJ’s scored on the last move of the match, the 5-5 draw left a nasty taste in our mouths.
In our second match against Tunbridge Wells we understood the need for a good win and it was a tight affair all game long. We had our opportunities to close out the match, but that frustrating touch line came back to haunt us along with a few knock on’s at crucial stages. We entered the last phase of the match needing a score to draw the match, but it wasn’t meant to be as we were snaffled out in the corner as we tried to score that important try
Our final match was therefore an exhibition event and we were intent on champagne rugby against our own clubmates. Our boys needed to be on form to stop some of their speedier runners and we were extremely proud of our defensive structure when earlier in the season we would’ve easily leaked 5 or 6 more against these stronger runners – we even managed to score a brace of our own tries for good measure.
Well done all!