Dover Sharks 7 - 25 Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
After a frustrating start to 2017, with a poor performance and loss to Maidstone RFC the week before, Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV travelled to Dover Sharks for their second London 1 South match of the year. In the week leading up to the match, Dover Sharks announced that Danny Vaughan, who had been Head Coach at Sevenoaks RFC for five season, was to assume Head Coach responsibilities at The Crabble. Whilst only gleaning two victories so far this season, Oaks were in no doubt of the challenge that lay ahead, with Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone both finding the going tough when visiting the coast earlier this season.
After winning the toss and assessing the playing surface, with particular attention paid to the slope going away from the Clubhouse, Captain Stuart Coleman decided that his team were to play down the hill in the first stanza.
Pre-match focus had been to bring intensity and energy from the kick off, and Oaks certainly did this, with forwards Dan Power and Simon Humble particularly to the fore with strong carries into the home team's half. It was clear that the Oaks players were hungry to get their hands on the ball and on ten minutes, after good work by Jonny Short and the forward pack, quick hands on the right, including a classy final pass from Coleman to Shadyn Osgood, saw the centre going over for the first five pointer of the afternoon. Winter, who was to have tough shots at goal all afternoon, could not add the extras but Oaks were 5-0 to the good.
Rather than sit back, Oaks went again, and after a scrum in midfield, scrum-half Goodhuw broke blind. Seeing that the full-back was out of position, the number 9 grubber kicking the ball through. As he did, full-back Dominic Saunders showed a clean pair of heals and raced through, controlling the ball before diving over to put Oaks 10-0 up as Winter was unable to add the extras.
As expected, the Sharks were to fight back and mid-way through the first half, as Oaks looked to attack off a line-out, the Dover outside centre picked off a blue and gold pass to intercept and run in from his own ten metre line. With the score converted, Dover were immediately back in the match.
Whilst Oaks energy and willingness to get hands on the ball were there for all to see, it was their accuracy that was letting them down, with three golden opportunities wasted, when all that was needed was for the final pass to be caught and the player to flop over the line. Despite this, Oaks dusted themselves down and continued to attack with purpose, ignoring the opportunity for three points and opting to kick for the corner when penalties were awarded. As the half closed, Oaks were to score their third of the afternoon through Matt Dodd who bundled his way over after a catch and drive at the line-out, putting the away side 15-7 up at half time.
The start of the second half saw the introduction of Eoghan Barry and new man Josh Penney into the fold. Both were to make an immediate impact, with Barry defensively strong and being a nuisance at the break down, whilst Penney was to get an assist with his first touch of the ball. After good work again from Humble, bursting through the middle of the home sides defence, he found Penney who carried the ball forward before drawing his man and putting Jonny Short away for a try in the left hand corner. It allowed Oaks some breathing space and although unconverted, Oaks were 20-7 to the good.
The Dover Sharks were not to be broken though and continued to pressure Oaks into mistakes and also had a number of moments where they could have gone over the whitewash themselves, but for good Oaks defence. With ten to go, the men from the Paddock were to put the game beyond reach and after stringing a number of phases together, some good hands enabled new man Penney to dive over for a score on his debut. Final score, Oaks 25 - 7 Dover.
After the match, Adam Bowman was clearly pleased with the response from his players commenting 'It is great to get a win under our belts, after a bit of a sticky patch. We agreed as a side that the performance today is a good base level for us to work from. The intensity, energy and aggression from us was exactly what we expect as a group. Our accuracy really did let us down, but we are creating opportunities and will work hard on that this week.'
'I'd like to also offer congratulations to Danny as well from all of us here at Sevenoaks RFC on his appointment as Head Coach. We wish them well for the rest of the season and will be keeping an eye on their results.'
'We now move on to another tough fixture against Tottonians at the Paddock this Saturday. They have had some excellent results and put us away when we played them at the start of the season so we will be working hard to make sure we give a good account of ourselves in front of our home supporters.'
1. A. Rolfe
2. S. Sedgewick
3. D. Power
4. S. Coleman (c)
5. G. Wheadon
6. M. Dodd
7. S. Derrick
8. S. Humble
9. S. Goodhuw
11. J. Short
12. D. Phoenix
13. S. Osgood
14. J. Owen
15. D. Saunders
16. J. Walker
17. E. Barry
18. J. Penney