Sheer Power!  Oaks prop Dan Power scores in the corner at the start of the second half  Photo Credit: David Purday

Sheer Power! Oaks prop Dan Power scores in the corner at the start of the second half Photo Credit: David Purday

Sevenoaks Rugby 45 Hove RFC 7

Sevenoaks Rugby Club 1st XV continued their strong start to 2019 with an emphatic 45-7 win at home against Hove on Saturday.

Hove started with bustle and energy and it took a while for Oaks to find the right combination of patience and power to work the ball up the pitch. When Oaks did hit their stride the decisive differences between the two teams were pace onto the ball, cohesion, and defensive unity, the hosts showing all three characteristics consistently to develop a healthy 26-0 half-time lead.

Before the match Oaks’ Academy prodigy Charlie Naismith collected his tankard, to a rapturous Clubhouse Match Day Lunch reception, for making his 100th appearance for Sevenoaks 1st XV in the previous week’s win over Chobham, while at 9 fellow Academy graduate Nat McKerlie making his first start for the 1s this season, put in a solid performance in providing an effective service from the base of the set piece and breakdown for Oaks to capitalise on.

The opening brace of tries resulted from tight forward and then open play, a push over try for Nigel Gumbleton opening the Oaks scoring before Sean Derrick and Matt McCrae interlinked in midfield to set the latter up to burst through for a try converted by Edd Ansell to put Oaks 12-0 to the good.

The tries brought further confidence to Oaks and it wasn’t long before Jonny Short and Josh Thorneycroft were bursting over the line for a try apiece both converted by Ansell.

With the four try bonus point and only the biggest of comebacks between Oaks and the win, the second half had something of a disjointed air about it. Coach Bowman rang the changes at regular intervals as Oaks only sporadically hit their stride, including in the imposing form of Dan Power cantering over for a try from 20 yards out and some excellent breaks by Leighton Ralph from full back. For their part Hove kept playing and were rightly rewarded with a well worked try under the posts.

Nigel Gumbleton barrelled over for Oaks’ final try, also converted, to put the seal on a highly efficient victory on a day when all the other teams towards the top of London 1 South also won. The division remains incredibly tight and competitive and Oaks, in second, face a tough couple of fixtures on the road against Cobham and Brighton respectively in the next two weeks, all support very welcome.