After four lively training sessions at the club, the U7s kicked off their first weekend of festivals with swagger and style. Five teams headed out to festivals at Guildford, Foxbury, Warlingham and Medway. The players went straight into top gear and from a total 20 matches played, walked away with 14 wins and 4 draws.
One of those draws was at Warlingham where, after the two Sevenoaks teams each won their pools, they drew in a wonderful final sharing the spoils.
Full festival reports below.
Farnborough Dark Blue (7 - 4) Sevenoaks
A well-drilled Farnborough side capitalised on some early Sevenoaks hesitancy, running in three tries in quick succession in the opening minutes of game. However, the fearsome Sevenoaks foursome soon found their stride, with some gutsy tagging from Emma and Ollie. Several darting runs from Aiden were stopped just shy of the try line, before Benji put Sevenoaks on the scoreboard with a scything run from inside his own half.
By the second half, Sevenoaks looked steadier on their feet, pairing a more confident defence with some surging runs. One passage of play, in particular, saw the ball pass through the hands of every Sevenoaks player at least once, before Leo bounded over for Sevenoaks’ second try. Emma continued to pick off Farnborough runners and both she and Will were unlucky not to score. The Sevenoaks resurgence continued throughout the half, with Leo scoring twice more before the final whistle.
Try scorers: Benji: 1 Leo: 3
Sevenoaks (5 - 5) Effingham and Leatherhead Green
The first half saw Sevenoaks mount a great defensive effort, with Ollie, Leo and Aiden keeping up a furious rate of tagging. Will also proved himself to be a workhorse in the midfield, tagging countless opponents, before a looping run yielded him a well-deserved try. Leo, too, capped off his defensive efforts with a try before half time.
Emma’s confidence in attack continued to grow in the second half and her numerous supporting runs finally paid off, allowing her to dart over for her first score of the day.
Aiden's committed running was also rewarded with a fine try, while Benji contented himself with a series of territory-stealing half-breaks and scalping himself a steady stream of opposition tags.
Finally, Ollie too got on the score sheet, with a lovely run up the wing, drawing Sevenoaks level with Effingham and Leatherhead.
In the final minutes, every Sevenoaks player could be credited with preventing at least one opposition try, clinching a well-deserved draw.
Try scorers: Aiden: 1 Emma: 1 Leo: 1 Ollie: 1 Will: 1
Sevenoaks (8 - 7) Guildfordians Stripes
Emma’s scoring run continued into the third game and she notched up another two blistering tries in the first half. Meanwhile, Benji and Will maintained their defensive wall of steel, ensuring that the score line remained evenly matched. It was also pleasing to see that on several occasions, Will was spotted quietly darting from one side of the pitch to another in the moments between play, in order to plug gaps in the defensive line - something which had been stressed in previous training. Leo also played his part defensively, snatching several last-gasp tags with strong, corner-flagging runs.
Aiden made his presence felt in the second half with several strong runs, pushing Sevenoaks within striking distance of the try line on several occasions. Three tries from Leo were matched by a further three great scores from Ollie, giving Sevenoaks their first win of the day!
Try scorers: Emma: 2 Leo: 3 Ollie: 3
Sevenoaks (6 - 6) Guildford Dark Blue
What a difference three matches make. As Sevenoaks took to the field for their fourth and final game, they didn’t just appear to be a different group of players from the timid souls who had faced off against Farnborough two hours earlier … they were an entirely different species. Gone were the hesitant hedgehogs of old, replaced, instead, with a pride of swaggering lions.
The game quickly fell into a fierce back-and-fourth tussle, with Aiden and Benji both repeatedly denying Guildford tries. Meanwhile, Ollie had transformed into a try-scoring machine. Set in motion by strong running from Emma and the Rosier boys, he ran at the Guildford lines with reckless abandon, matching Guildford’s four first-half tries with three of his own. Of these, the most spectacular was surely his third, which he somehow scored whilst manfully clasping his dislodged glasses to his face AND keeping two hands on the ball.
Benji came agonisingly close to grabbing another try in the second half; a beautiful side-step turned into a barn-storming run which was stopped just short of the line. Will, meanwhile, made repeated, scampering runs up the centre of the field, forcing the Guildford defence into disarray and making valuable yards. Leo capitalised on the forward momentum, bringing the scores level with a further three great individual tries.
As the game hung in the balance, the defensive effort from all of the Sevenoaks players was unflinching. However, special mention must go Emma, who claimed one of the tags of the tournament in the dying moments of the game, leaping, salmon-like to deny Guildford a match-winning score in the corner and ensuring Sevenoaks the draw.
Try scorers: Leo: 3 Ollie: 3
Team: Emma Coll, Leo Grant, Ollie MacDonald, William Ray, Aiden Rosier, Benji Rosier
Two teams headed to Warlingham, placed in separate pools. Both teams won their three pool matches, topped their pools and faced each other in the final. The two teams battled out a great final, with a DRAW being the final outcome!!! Everyone left happy...especially the coaches who were elated with the overall standard of play and character of the two teams. Picture of the combined winning teams.
Team: Austin Mitchell, Lucas Bowen, Rocco Frazer, Alex Kelly, James Dimond, Aurelia Rothery, Iris Fairbarn, Jake Walton, Harrison Curd, James Sumner, Logan MacDonald, Oliver Harwood-Bridgen, Austin Harwood-Bridgen (in no particular order!)
The overall level of play from game one was amazing. There had been a little concern amongst the coaches that these first festivals may have come too early in the season, having spent a couple of weeks refreshing the players on key principles of play. However, as often the case, the coaches were proved wrong by the players and they took to the pitch like ducks to water.
Sevenoaks Two’s first victory against Streatham was built on dazzling running by all in the team. The final score being 14 tries to 2.
The second game against Old Caterhamians went a similar way, with 11 tries to 3 points victory. However, the players showed much stronger support play during the match.
The third match was against a home side, Warlingham Blues. The players were not fazed by the home crowd and utilising their strong defence and tagging prowess, prevented any serious penetration through the flat line. The final winning score line was 11 tries to 4, and Sevenoaks Two finished top of their league.
Sevenoaks One played exceptionally consistent rugby throughout the morning. They started off strong against Old Alleyians, winning by 10 tries to 6, which was a result of some very good passing and straight running. The second game was against Chipstead, which they won 10 to 6 again, as a result of strong defence. The last pool game was against another of the Warlingham home teams, where they won by 10 tries to 3, with some exceptional tagging and running into the corners.
What impressed the coaches most was the game awareness that all the players had, setting a very good example of defensive lines for the opposition, and the support play by all, which resulted in all the players scoring tries.
With the 3 wins, Sevenoaks One also topped their pool leading to the epic final with Sevenoaks Two.
A good day all round for both Sevenoaks teams and two trophies to deliver to the clubhouse.
We travelled to Medway on Sunday with some very excited and committed boys. They played in five games in total winning four and losing one. Sevenoaks dispatched Maidstone 1 in the first match, 8 tries to 6, trading tries but staying ahead throughout the match. Strong running by the team was not enough to overcome Edenbridge in the second match, which was narrowly lost 8 tries to 9. Three more matches followed in quick succession, with Sevenoaks putting together a run of three consecutive and exciting wins. First Sevenoaks powered past Blackheath 2 running in 11 tries to their 6. The boys demonstrated some excellent skills, passing well and regularly running into the corners. The match against Cranbrook 1 was more balanced with Sevenoaks pipping Cranbrook 1 with a winning try, 10 tries to 9. This victory was built on strong defensive. After two quick victories, they were still raring to go by the fifth and final game showing no obvious signs of lethargy. The same could not be said of the opposition. Crankbrook 3 couldn't hold out against sustained attacks by Sevenoaks and several turnovers resulted. The game ended in a 9 to 5 victory to Sevenoaks. All the team had an excellent day with each and everyone one of them running in tries.
Team: Max Cowie, Oliver Whitton, Xavier Fontaine, Jonty Corstorphine, William Beech and Zac Williamson
Sevenoaks were unbeaten, winning three matches and drawing one in an exciting morning of tag rugby, against some excellent opposition. The matches were filled with strong tagging, plenty of passing and lots of tries.
Team: Charlie Warren, George Mickleburgh, Jake Hambling, Pedri Van Der Merwe, Wian Botes and Joshua French