Oaks enjoy friendly away success at Campion RFC


Oaks enjoy friendly away success at Campion RFC

Campion IIs 3 - Sevenopaks 2nd XV 34, Saturday 10 September
Oaks travelled to dark and distant Essex for a hastily arranged fixture and their second friendly run-out of the season. Perhaps it was the strong wind and drizzle, or maybe the eleventh hour change of venue, but for whatever reason this match proved to be tricky and error-strewn for the outset.

Campion were certainly up for this match, part of the Paddy Dear Memorial Day. Neither side took control in the first 15 minutes, Oaks trying hard to string some phases together but some wayward passing and strong defence kept stifling any attacking moves.

Foreman carried strongly, Barry was ferocious and ever-present in defence. Campion almost took the lead with an interception on their own 22 but the hard-working Weston had the pace to haul the player down 15 metres from our line.

Oaks eventually opened the scoring when skipper Tree charged down a clearance kick and Briggs followed up to score, Suttill converting. An Oaks infringement on our 22 gave Campion a penalty which they chose to kick and with success. That, however, was the last time they got on the board.

From a scrum in Campion’s half, Briggs looped infield from his wing and drew the defence, the ball fizzing right to Saunders who cantered over for a very slick try straight off the training paddock.

Oaks were sloppy from the restart and spilled the ball with Campion driving for the line. Turned over, Barry hacked downfield and the chase was on. Not even Alexander Armstrong could prevent Briggs dotting down a kick through from Saunders, it would have been pointless to try.

Oaks were now playing with more confidence having got the upper hand in almost all aspects of this game. A quickly taken lineout in our 22 caught Campion on the hop and in a blink of an eye Vigis had scorched over in the opposite corner, soon followed by Saunders again wide out left.

A few incidents late on gave cause to wonder if this really was a friendly, but Oaks brushed them aside to register one final score, Edwards cutting a great line from centre to take the ball under the posts, Suttill converting this one for a final score of 34 -3. 



Oaks enjoy stern test at Medway


Oaks enjoy stern test at Medway

The Sevenoaks Senior Squad enjoyed their first pre-season test away at Medway, with a number of new and returning faces making key contributions.

Playing in four twenty minute blocks, the game gave the coaching department an opportunity to try new combinations and put into practice some of the hard work from the previous six weeks of training.

It was the hosts that started brightly with a large share of the possession, but each and every time they were met by aggressive and clinical Oaks defence, led by the back row of Henley, Sinclair and De Smith.  Not to be outdone by his former Skinners school mate De Smith, the returning no. 9 Goodhew made a number of crucial turnovers that allowed Oaks to relieve pressure.

Indeed it was the visitors who were to break the deadlock and after Shirtcliff had moved the play down field with a couple of telling kicks, Oaks worked their way to an attacking platform in the 22.  With clinical back play, moving through a number of hands, it was the speedster Weston who dashed over to give Oaks the lead.

After a number of heavy midfield tussles, just before the twenty minute break, after a number of minutes knocking at the defensive door, Medway managed to create an overlap, working a three on two which they clinically finished.

Oaks started the second quarter brightly, and after more good hands in the backs, particularly from wing Karg, Shirtcliff showed a clean pair of heals to round his man and go over.  However, the referee deemed that the grounding was not clean, and Medway were awarded a 5 metre scrum to relieve pressure.  Encouraging signs saw the axis of Suttill and Shirtcliff working well, whilst Rugg and Edwards were looking a dangerous attacking threat.

Oaks once again showed resolute defence and went ahead again after a good drive at the lineout which saw hooker Sedgewick dab the ball over the line. It was just reward for the man who, along with Matt Dodd, was a consistent thorn in the oppositions side all day.

Disappointingly though,  Oaks switched off in the final five minutes of the first half, and Medway barrelled their way over to bring the score level once more.

The third quarter saw the home side take control and show the young Oaks what intensity is needed at London 1 level, scoring three well taken tries, including a penalty try.

The final quarter saw Oaks come back into the game and create their best spell of the occasion.  After bursts up the field which included some good offloading between De Smith, Short and Goodhew, the Oaks gained an attacking scrum ten metres out.  After holding a strong Medway scrum well, Oaks backs showed some sumptuous skill in the backs, as Tree and Shirtcliff worked an opening for Jamie Owen, who cruised in under the posts for the score of the game.

Following on from the match, Head Coach Adam Bowman commented 'Today gave us an opportunity to try new combinations and see where we are in our development.  I was really pleased with lots of aspects, against a strong Medway side.  However, we are always striving to improve and we have lots to work on in training over the next few weeks.'

'I want to thank Taff Gwilliam and his team for today.  Talking after the game, we both agreed it was exactly what both sides needed - a good hard game of rugby with both sides wanting to play some attacking play.  We now move onto the Grasshoppers next week, which will pose another challenge for the squad'.

Oaks head to the Grasshoppers tournament next week, which will pose the last test ahead of the first league games of the season, when the 1st play Gosport and Fareham at home, and the 2nd take on Tunbridge Wells away.


Squad: D.Power, S.Sedgewick, T. Simmons, J.Simmons, A. Rolfe, O. Boatwright-Smith, S. Coleman (C), M. Dodd, R. Philpot, D. Sinclair, W. De-Smith, J. Henley, S. Goodhew, A. Suttill, O. Shirtcliff, I. Winter, H.Rugg, A.Edwards, S.Tree, J. Short, C.Karg, M. Weston, O.Dinsmore, J. Owen