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Home > News > Sevenoaks A XV march forward
Your News Sevenoaks A XV march forward

Sevenoaks Axv maintained their winning start to the season in a far from convincing manner in Knole Paddock on Saturday against a brave and committed Old Gravesendians II.

In a week where uncertainty and flux in regards selection 7 oaks managed to gat another much changed side on the park.

The game kicked off with Oaks opting for the strong breeze at their backs, and a more than sizeable crowd in attendance with Monks and Phillips leading the sideline.

Oaks were soon on the front foot with some crunching tackles from Sam Miles and Rob Thurnell knocking a considerably larger Old Gs pack back. The first real attack cam from a great strike against the head by Thurnell, Rosier popped to Kavanagh who set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, by mis controlling and kicking poorly with Cosh in close attendance.

Luckily enough Old Gs had strayed off side in front of the post allowing an easy 3 point opportunity in front of the sticks which was duly taken.

Oaks were in the ascendancy in the pack in the early stages with Browning, Browne and Woolacott causing all sorts of mayhem on the Old Gs scrum.

The next scoring opportunity was not far away with Davies and Henley pilfering ball at ruck time, the ball was taken on by Josh who made further yardage before being awarded a penalty with the Old Gs pack going off their feet for the umpteenth time, again duly this was duly converted.

Sevenoaks appeared to suffer a period of self doubt, with Rosier sustaining an abdominal injury and being somewhat hampered, Old Gs started to gain parity at scrum time and began to spend some time in the Oaks half, this was successfully repulsed and a further indiscretion at the ruck resulted in oaks obtaining a penalty which was planted down field with the aid of the substantial breeze.

From the resulting lineout Old Gs were again offside at the ruck, as they re arranged their defence a quick tap was taken to Miles to drive through the despairing defence in the corner. Kavanagh again converted leaving Oaks with a less than handsome lead at halftime considering the amount of possession and territory they had enjoyed.

Oaks suffered a setback with Rosier being unable to return to the fray, thankfully young Adam who was snatched away from a further field stepped in to take over the roll of 10, with the irrepressible Doughty standing inside. The second period was always going to be difficult with the size of the Old Gs pack and the prop playing at 9, immediately the ball was hammered into the corner, fortunately dropping short into the arms of Aaron Newport who gained good distance into the breeze. With the wind at their backs and Oaks strangely subdued the game was brought to Oaks and only solid defence from Seal and Doughty in the centres prevented Old Gs getting over. But it was only a matter of time before they got through. On the brief time that Oaks managed to get out of their own half, their inability to get through 3 or 4 phases resulted in the big 9 for Gs playing them back down the field, on one such occasion the kick arrowed infield into the waiting arms of Kloppers who set off on a fine run, ably supported by the quicksilver Cosh and Newport, unfortunately the rest of the team were unable to get in support and a great attacking opportunity was lost again.

As the game moved through the 3rd quarter Gs finally broke the Oaks resistance with some good work on the deck, eventually leading to a mismatch in the middle with their impressive centre scooting over to the right of the posts. Fortunately this was not converted. Defence was becoming more frantic as the realisation of the narrow nature of the lead sank in, Thurnell was replaced by Skippy Phillips who gamely removed his Magners and Biltong to enter the fray. Oaks again living off scraps were incapable of settling on the ball and again promising positions were lost due to the lack of direction. With 17 minutes remaining another turnover led to a huge kick downfield which was dubiously awarded to the opposition, leading to looks of derision at the touch judge, but on realising that it was the former 3rds great Jim Monks whose honesty has always been beyond reproach. Unfortunately this gave Gs a platform from which to attack and after taking the maul forward, the ball was moved out wide and after a few quick rucks where some dubious body positioning went unpunished the Number 9 barrelled over to cut the lead to 3 points. Again this was missed and the lead remained 3.

As the game moved into its death throes Oaks again managed to get some territory, but as per usual 3 Old Gs players managed to get themselves on the Oaks side and again, the ball was turned over and the 10 set off on a break down the wing passing a despairing tap tackle from Kavanagh, with support to his left and Kloppers homing in like an exocet, he passed prior to contact but fortunately passed about 2 yards forward. Oaks regained possession and tried to kill the game again some tremendous work from Miles and Davies led to some field position. But as per the course of the game support was slow and the ball was turned over leading to a rather frantic last two minutes where Oaks defended for their lives.

The reaction at the final whistle spoke volumes, a tangible sense of both relief and despair in equal measure due to the most disjointed performance in years by this team.

Hopefully an important lesson was learnt on Saturday and as Rosier advised at the end any team that can win playing as badly as Oaks on Saturday has something going for it.

Although a performance of similar ilk next week against old foes and rivals Cranbrook will result in a less than favourable result.

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