On Saturday evening, both Oaks 1st and 2nd XV occupied second spot in their respective league tables, whilst the Gents occupy one of the top four spots in their league table and the thirds in mid-table but with a number of games in hand. So at the half way point, as Christmas and the New Year approaches, Oaks Seniors have certainly had their most successful start to the season for some time.
‘I think if you look at where the 1st XV are at the moment, we have certainly surprised a few outsiders’ said Head Coach Adam Bowman. ‘We’ve been really careful to take each and every game as it comes and making sure that we respect and put everything into each Saturday. I think the difference to last season and the year before is that we have developed our structure and I think have more strings to our bow when it is wet and muddy. It takes time and the squad has evolved hugely over the past two and a half years. But we aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves – there is a long way to go and all of the leagues we are involved in are hugely competitive and it really is a case that anyone can beat anyone.’
Looking ahead to this weekend, there is clearly an air of excitement amongst the Oaks squad, with three home games for the 1st, 2nd and 4th XV’s whilst the 3rd XV head to Snowdown Colliery RFC. ‘It’s great that we have three home games as the last fixtures before Christmas. Hopefully there will be a lot of supporters coming down to see the matches and then enjoy the carols in the Clubhouse after.’
Bowman continued ‘They are all huge matches for the teams this weekend. It would be great for the 1s and 2s to go into the turn of the year in second in their respective leagues. But it is going to be a tough ask – we know how tough London Cornish will be and they have a couple of old Oaks in their ranks (Jamie Owen and Dan Phoenix) who will no doubt want to get a result against us. For the 2s, over the past two seasons the Sidcup match has always been the most challenging. They have built a very strong squad and will want to close the gap on us. I’m also looking forward to hearing how the Gents get on against Tunbridge Wells – a local derby always has a bit of extra spice and after a few up and down results, it would be great for the Gents to go into Christmas off the back of a win. The same can be said of the 3rd XV, who have had a few fixtures cancelled but have the quality this week to put in a good performance and get the ‘W’.