In what we knew was going to be one of our toughest fixtures of the year, Oaks once again raised their game to match the physicality of the opposition.
In a tense opening 10 minutes, Oaks were put under territorial pressure, but once possession was secured, Oaks were onto the counter attack with immediate effect, forwards linking well with the backs, a moved finished by a clever switch between Ridley and Wines, for Wines to go under the posts, O’Donnell adding the extras.
Ashford came back strongly and applied further pressure, but an infringement at the breakdown allowed Oaks to clear their lines. From the resulting line out Oaks put the ball through hands and an evasive run by centre Ridley saw him cross under the posts, O’Donnell converting.
Oaks were certainly up for a game of rugby and the boys keen to let their rugby skills do the talking, and continue to play in good spirit. Ferocious at the breakdown, the forwards got on top of the game, Martin, Stone and Hansen, competing hard at the breakdown and winning good ball for the backs to run at Ashford. This time the ball moved nicely through hands with a clever inside ball from Wines well finished by Jones running a lovely attacking line to go over under the posts.
Half Time 0-21.
A simple mistake from the restart costs Oaks territory and possession. An infringement 5 meters out and the quick thinking of the Ashford No 8 saw him crash over from close range with the extras added to make it 7-21.
It was the wake up call that the boys needed, Woolard, Teare, G-T and Sarkesian, competing well at the breakdown to recycle quick ball. The ball played beautifully through hands saw Stewart on the wing going over out wide, after some dazzling footwork. A fantastic effort from O’Donnell adding the extras from the touchline.
When under pressure in your own 22, do we look to clear it - no! We were here to play rugby, Brown, Foster, Bernicchi and Tiago competing well and working hard to secure good possession, Wines taking a pop pass at speed, finding the gap and hitting it hard; a powerful sprint from the 22 leaving tacklers in his wake to score under the posts. O’Donnell, who definitely brought his kicking boots, slotting the conversion.
With seconds left on the clock, a simple kick to touch could have pegged Ashford back in their own 22, but Oaks had other ideas! After some champagne rugby - forwards and backs linking well in midfield, Hansen was in the right place to take a pass at speed from O’Donnell to cross over for the final try of the game. O’Donnell finishing with a conversion once again.
Woolard, Brown, Foster, Teare, G-T, Stone, Sarkesian, Hansen, Martin, Bernicchi, O’Donnell, Wines (Cpt), Ridley, Jones, Stewart, Tiago, Green (T)