TUNBRIDGE WELLS IIs 5 - SEVENOAKS 2ND XV 50
Sevenoaks 2nd XV played a fiendly fixture against Tunbridge Wells IIs on Saturday 3 September... here's the story of the day from the team's new manager, Adran 'Billy' Belither...
Rarely can the beginning of a new senior campaign at Sevenoaks have been so eagerly anticipated as this, and yet an extra half an hour had to be endured due to a traffic-bound referee.
At last the game kicked off and it was soon clear that Oaks had kept the more focused. Whipped into a frenzy by the ever-enthusiastic Batesy, Oaks immediately took the game to their physically more imposing opposition and with swift success. A driven maul saw Richardson flop over for the opening score, Suttill immaculately adding the extras from the left touchline. Wells were stung in to action and mounted an assault on our line but defence was resolute and determined, with Weston putting his body on the line time and again.
When Wells infringed, Edwards took the ball left and cleared long downfield and the chase was on. Not even Bradley Wiggins would have caught Cantlay who outpaced the defence, gathered in and passed to King for an excellent score and a body blow to Wells. Suttill was deadly accurate again from wide left.
Oaks were in a groove now and shortly after Edwards got on the score sheet after a turnover in Wells half, Suttill unfortunately shaving the post the wrong side for a 19-0 lead.
Half time and Oaks looked comfortable, but Batesy and skipper Tree, who led the team by fine example all day, wanted more. And more they got. Again Wells got turned over, undoubtedly by the hard-grafting back row of McCorry, Skinner and Shiraishi-Miles, and Tree took the ball up-field. A huge overlap was squandered but Oaks kept their cool and St. Pierre went over in the corner for another unconverted effort.
Changes were made but Oaks were mindful of instructions and kept the pressure on. Walker, described by an undisclosed source as ‘still the silkiest runner I have ever seen’ (nice words Sutts), showed exactly those attributes as he glided, feet barely touching the turf, over for a score he converted himself. King grabbed his second soon after, Walker adding the extras.
Wells were under the cosh again and kicked long downfield. Gathered in by Johnson on the wing, he fed inside to Walker who strode over from halfway without a finger being laid on him, and under the posts for an easy kick to boot.
Oaks had one more score in them and it was a beauty. Scrummaging had been excellent all afternoon against a bigger pack, but Rolfe, Richardson, Foreman, Kirkbright and Philpott were tight and ruthless. Shoving Wells off their own ball in their 22, Skinner picked up and went blind, outpacing what was left of the defence to put Curnow over.
With Jones and Binks on and making their presence felt, Oaks had one last moment of magic to come. 50 – 0 up, you could be forgive a little relaxation, but when Wells put their winger clear up the touchline Philpott tracked back for all he was worth and bundled him in to touch, summing up the great spirit this team showed from minute one.
Wells managed a score at the death, scant consolation surely, and more will be expected from them when we meet again in the League in October.
Oaks deserved all the plaudits, great reward for all the hard pre-season graft.