Sevenoaks RFC 1st XV travelled to Cobham on Saturday on the back of two bonus point wins so far this year and sitting second in the table. The two sides had played out a close and hard fought encounter in September in which Oaks had prevailed on a sunny afternoon at the Paddock.
On an excellent playing surface, Oaks kicked off and almost immediately garnered a penalty, which was duly converted by the returning Ben Adams to give Oaks a 3-0 lead. The response from the home side was instant though and from the kick-off Oaks infringed to give the home side an opportunity to get on the scoreboard, which they duly did to draw level. Thereafter, the next fifteen minutes was played in the mid part of the field, with both sides causing each other trouble, but failing to keep hold of the ball due to good defensive pressure from the opposition or misplaced passing. Indeed it was a misplaced pass from the Oaks backline that was duly picked off by Cobham, the player intercepting and running thirty odd metres unopposed to score an unconverted try for a 8-3 lead.
Oaks slowly got themselves back into the game as the half wore on and two Adams penalties – the second a monster effort from the half way – enabled Oaks to go in to the half time break with a slender one point lead.
The second half started much like the first and it was Cobham who were first to trouble the scorers through a converted penalty. This seemingly flicked a switch in the Oaks players heads and after some good phase play, the marauding back row Matt Mcrae crashed over with the help of his back row colleague Will De Smith. The score was converted and Oaks were now 16-11 up.
Oaks and their captain Stuart Coleman seemed to sense that there was a crucial part of the game and not long after McRaes score, two minutes of sustained pressure saw Oaks drive themselves deep into the home sides territory. After a catch and strong drive, Man of the Match Scotty Segdwick dotted down to score, which was again converted by Adams to give Oaks a more comforting lead at 23-11. Indeed five minutes later, in similar fashion, another score was to follow, this time through back row Alex Suttie, who’s strength and determination saw him crash over from close range, again converted by Adams. It was to prove a pivotal part of the game and Oaks had grasped the opportunities presented to them.
Oaks knew Cobham were always dangerous though and so they proved with another try, although it crucially went unconverted. From an Oaks perspective, the match was put to bed through Nigel Gumbleton, who received the ball on the 22 after an excellent run from McRae, to finish off in the corner for the bonus point score. The excellent touchline conversion from the faultless boot of Adams gave Oaks a 37-16 lead. As the game drew to a close, the crowd were treated to one more score from the home sides right wing, scoring with an excellent chip and chase. Final score, 37-21 to Oaks.
Post-match, Head Coach Adam Bowman commented ‘I’m really pleased to come away from Cobham with a bonus point win, but some of our execution was off today. The line speed in defence from Cobham put us under real pressure that perhaps we haven’t experienced for a time. We know as a group that we will have to be much better next weekend if we want to come away from Brighton with any points.’
He continued ‘It shows how far we have come as a group though that we are grumbling at a bonus point away win, but that is the hunger this squad need to have if we are to maintain our league position for the remaining weeks and months.’
Second placed Oaks face top of the table Brighton Blues this weekend in what is sure to be a good game of rugby. Kick-off is at 2pm and all support at Brighton is most welcome.