Cobham RFC 1st XV 10 - 32 Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV
Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV travelled to leafy Surrey to take on a Cobham side that was above them in the table. Oaks were coming into the game on the back of two heavy defeats by Havant and CS Rugby 1868, but welcomed back Josh Thorneycroft, Jonathan Short and Josh Penney into the back line after they had been side-lined through injury.
As the game got underway on a perfect autumn afternoon, both sides took their opportunity to get into the game with hard running and tough tackling. In the opening five minutes, Oaks twice made forays into the home team’s 22, only to lose possession by being penalised for holding on. From the early exchanges it was clear that Cobham wanted to shift the point of attack, which was helped by the home side’s fly half excellent range of passing. Indeed, this handling was to produce the first score of the day, as after good hands by the home side, the ball found its way to the Cobham full back, who placed a neat kick behind the Oaks defence. The frantic race to the loose ball was won by the home side open side flanker and he touched down for the opening score. With a well struck conversion, Cobham led 7-0.
This seem to unsettle Oaks slightly, and it took a good five minutes for them to find their rhythm. They needed some inspiration and it came from their scrum half, as after a good break in midfield by Penney, supported by De Smith, the ball found its way to Sebastian Goodhuw, who raced in under the bar to touch down to the delight of the away support. With Floyd hitting over the simply conversion and Oaks were level mid-way through the first half.
The score seemed to give Oaks confidence and with the outstanding Suttie and Coleman making dents in the home defence with immense work rate and Sean Derrick gaining yards from 8, Oaks won a penalty on the stroke of half time, which Floyd duly converted to give Oaks a 10-7 lead at half-time.
Oaks had been guilty in the past couple of weeks of losing concentration at the start of the second stanza, but with the instructions of Head Coach Bowman ringing in the ears of all the players, the men from the Paddock were the first to strike. Within two minutes, the away side had worked their way down to the Cobham five metre line. With a catch and drive at the lineout, Oaks drove hard into the opposition’s pack, but were stopped illegally just sort of the try line. With no hesitation, the referee awarded a penalty try to put Oaks 17-7 up.
After Cobham hit back with a penalty, Oaks grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and were to score a further 15 unanswered points to put them beyond reach. The first three of those fifteen came after Oaks had made 70 metres through Short and Walker, with the final pass being interfered with by a Cobham player, who duly received yellow card for the offence. Fly Half Floyd kicked over three points and Oaks had a ten point buffer.
As the second half grew, so did the Oaks pack, and after a number of impressive catch and drive’s, skipper Stuart Coleman went over for an unconverted score. By this point, Oaks really had the home side on the rack, as the men up front continually made yards from either the set piece or open play. The icing on the cake came from the ever busy De Smith, and after Thierry Walker had made a fine break down the left hand side, a looped pass found the Oaks open side flanker who cantered over for the bonus point try. Floyd converted, Oaks to put Oaks 32-10 up, a score which remained until the final whistle.
After the match, Head Coach Adam Bowman was clearly pleased and relieved with his sides performance, saying ‘After a couple of rough weeks for the 1st XV, it was great to come here and win like we did. Cobham have beaten some of the top sides in the league, so to not only win, but get the bonus point, will fill us with a lot of confidence. Particularly in the second half, we started to show what a good side we are and I thought the forward pack was outstanding.’
This Saturday Oaks are at home to Gravesend RFC 1st XV, in a match that will form part of a special weekend at the Paddock, as the Club host a fundraising weekend for the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Team. Bowman added ‘Next week will be another challenge, as we take Gravesend at home, but we now have a bit more confidence back and that is crucial if we want to make inroads further up the league. We are looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd and supporting the Great Britain Wheelchair Team.’