Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV produced a dominant second half performance on Saturday away at Chichester RFC to record a bonus point victory which sees them move up to second position in London South 1.
Oaks played into the wind in the first half, with the home side starting stronger, buoyed by a large and vocal home crowd. Despite having the lion share of possession, Chichester were repelled by resolute Oaks defence, with Nigel Gumbleton and Alex Suttie to the fore. Mid-way through the first half, Oaks lost centre Kalkani Pehi to a head injury which saw Jonny Short move to outside centre and Academy star Charlie Corrigan come on to the wing. Short in particular had been Oaks main threat in attack, scything through the home defence on the few occasions that Oaks did have possession.
Chichester struck first on the half-hour mark, with a well struck penalty but as time wore on, Oaks began to get a foothold in the game. The boys from the Paddock hit back with a well worked try, winning a lineout in midfield before working Corrigan into space. The young winger broke free down the left, drew the last defender and put fellow back three colleague Leighton Ralph over for a fine score. Debutant Ed Ansell, who impressed throughout, converted to give Oaks a 7-3 lead at half time.
As both sides went into the sheds to re-group, wet weather and wind set in and driving rain greeted the players on their return to the field. With territory and possession beginning to favour Oaks, they turned the screw, first through Alex Suttie, who barged his way over with the help of his team mates, with Ansell converting. Oaks followed this up soon after in almost identical fashion, with Josh Pettet the beneficiary and Ansell again converting to give Oaks a 21-3 lead.
With ten minutes remaining, Oaks achieved the bonus point score thanks to their dominant scrum as the referee awarded a penalty try, after the home sides scrum creaked on one too many occasions due to Oaks dominant scrummaging. Final score 28-3 to Oaks.
After the game, Head Coach Adam Bowman commented 'That was a really pleasing performance. We dug deep in the first half, with conditions against us and to go in at half time 7-3 up gave us a lot of confidence going into the second half. I was really pleased with our execution in the second half - we were patient when we got into the scoring zone and I thought the pack was excellent. We will need to maintain this level of performance this coming weekend against London Cornish, a side that beat us earlier on in the season and who will be coming to the Paddock following a really strong win against Hove.'
Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV face London Cornish at the Paddock on Saturday. Entry is free and the match will be followed by Christmas Carols in the Clubhouse from 5pm - all are most welcome.