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Home > News > Sevenoaks 1st XV have to settle for a draw
Your News Sevenoaks 1st XV have to settle for a draw

STRUGGLING with form and an injury list the length of Martin Bayfield’s inner leg measurements, Sevenoaks were not only forced to field players out of position but they were up against 16 men at Knole Paddock on Saturday.

Mark Reay clearly grounded the ball in what would have proved to be a decisive score but the referee failed to see that as well as a host of Deal infringements which could have left the home side with yet more players requiring hospital treatment.

“The referee can only give what he sees,” said Sevenoaks head coach Ron Standen, “I don’t have a problem with that, but what disappoints me is that he didn’t really protect my players. There were lots of off-the-ball incidents and he gave a yellow card for deliberately kicking someone in the head when it should have been an immediate dismissal.”

Not only that, but Freddy Woods was forced off the pitch with blood gushing from his head amid cries of stamping by the Oaks players. The referee waved play on disregarding the home side’s protestations, meanwhile Woods received treatment to the stud-shaped hole in the back of his skull and could play no further part in the game. He has since had the injury glued – a more effective solution than stitches – and his name will be added to Sevenoaks’ ever-growing book of casualties.

Dodgy decisions aside, Oaks should have put the game to bed in the first 15 minutes. Matt Bates narrowly missed his first shot at goal and Will Barber couldn’t hold on to a final pass in what would have been a coast to the try line for the fleet-footed winger.

What looked like a Kenny Pihema try was called back by the referee for a forward pass and another scoring chance went begging when Simon Tree floated a high pass over Barber’s head on the flank.

After Deal missed a speculative penalty from the half way line, Robbie Unwin, playing at full back, made a great break with support by Dan Scott to give Oaks a good field position in the opposition 22. A Deal infringement at the breakdown, followed by some dissent, saw Oaks have a penalty 10 yards from the line. Wessel Booysen, moved to scrum half due to the mass of injuries in that position, took a quick tap and go in an attempt to crash over the line, but the referee called play back and inexplicably awarded a scrum to Deal.

The visitors cleared their lines and Oaks decided to see if the forwards could succeed where the backs had failed and a burrowing effort by Guy McLaughlin was held up over the line. In fact, despite a one sided half, Oaks took 34 minutes to register the first points of the game courtesy of Bates’ boot and another Deal indiscretion. The lead was doubled moments before half-time, Bates again on target after another good period of Sevenoaks pressure.

However, Sevenoaks capitulated in the second period and with the game becoming progressively more physical they began to play as individuals rather than a team. Deal levelled the scores with two sloppy penalties before Scott made his frustration felt and was sin binned for a swinging arm 10 minutes from time.

Oaks were forced to hold on for the final few minutes in a match that should have been out of reach for the visitors in the first quarter.

“We have now fielded 40 players in eight league games,” explained Standen. “Tremendous credit to the players coming in but in the short term it’s incredibly frustrating that we do not have any continuity. We have old rivals Aylesford on Saturday and they will be out to intimidate us, but I am still confident we can finish in the top four if we go on a bit of a run.”

Oaks will be looking to get their season back on track this Saturday away to Aylesford, who are two points above them in the table. Kick off 2.30pm.

Ed Pearson

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