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HomeRUGBYSeventh consecutive victory for clinical Oaks

Seventh consecutive victory for clinical Oaks

Sevenoaks remains in 2nd place in the London & SE Premier league as a result of their victory away at Brighton RFC. In control for large parts of the game, the win was all but secured early in the 2nd half when their penultimate try of 6 scored on the day took them 25 points clear of the home team, who themselves had some good periods of territory and possession. Perhaps a performance that was scrappier than they would like, it still represented a very good outcome against a tough opponent. Oaks’ season is being shaped by two dominant features of play; excellent defence when the opposition has threatening moments and clinical attacking play when the men from Kent are in the red zone. Both facets were on display against Brighton, contributing to the victory and cementing their current position both as the meanest defence and highest points scorer in the league.

Saturday’s Sevenoaks team saw several changes from last week’s Covid affected line-up, with Brighton starting the faster, having good possession in the Oaks’ half. However, the visitors first foray into their opponent’s territory after 6 minutes, forced repeated infringements by Brighton allowing the Oaks’ excellent lineout to serve up a catch and drive. Fred Richardson peeled off to score to make it 5 – nil. The conversion was missed. Oaks were having the better of the breakdown and another score looked likely when an attacking chip-kick was intercepted by a Brighton player who ran 70 yards to score under the posts. Converted it was 7 – 5 to the Blues after 15 minutes. The next 10 minutes saw scrapy midfield and even exchanges with errors by both sides. Then in the 27th minute another Oaks’ lineout delivered quick ball for Patrick Pellegrini to step through a gap in the home team’s defence to canter over the line. Converted to make it 12- 7.

Sevenoaks’ old enemy ‘ill-discipline’ reared its head again in the 31st minute when Josh Livett was pinged for a deliberate knock on in the tackle. Yellow cards for the Kent men are a feature of most Oaks’ games, a point the coaching staff know must improve with big games ahead. Down to 14 men, Oaks soaked up Brighton’s pressure and then impressively showed their ruthless side, scoring two more tries before half time. First, more good lineout ball and another dummy in midfield saw Pellegrini score an excellent try, his second and Oaks’ third; converted to make it 19 -7. Then astute tactical kicking first to exit their own 22 and then to pressurise Brighton on their own 5 metre line allowed Josh Pettet to drive over to make it 24 – 7 and the try bonus point secured. With the conversion missed the half time whistle blew, with Oaks having dominated territory and built a lead Brighton looked unlikely to overturn.

Straight from the restart Oaks won a penalty and kicked the points to make it 27-7. With Brighton then having a period of dominance in the scrum, Oaks did well to attack off the back of the scrum with Sean Derrick making 35 metres, leading to multiple attacking phases culminating with a penalty won on the Brighton line. The catch and drive was unstoppable and Fred Richardson scored to make it 32 – 7, converted to be 34-7 after 46 minutes.

To their credit Brighton then had a period of territorial dominance, testing the Oaks’ defence; but lacking a cutting edge, demonstrated in the 55th minute with a fumble as the try line beckoned. It was in fact Oaks who scored next against the run of play, their 6th and best try of the day on 58 minutes. Starting with a lineout on halfway, the ball was moved across the backs as speed, recycled, switched quickly out wide, with great running lines and good hands culminating in Henry Galligan finishing a classy move under the posts to make the score 41 – 7 with the conversion.

The final quarter of the game had Brighton playing their best rugby of the day, deservedly scoring a try in the 79th minute to make it 41-12. The final scoreline perhaps felt a bit harsh on the home team given their efforts in the first and last 20 minutes of the match, but Oaks deserved what turned out to be a comfortable win.

After the game Head Coach and Director of Rugby Adam Bowman said: “Playing away against Brighton is always an incredibly difficult place to go, and whilst it was not our finest performance we got the job done and came away with an important five points.  We have a big week ahead this coming week as the squad travels to Westcombe Park, should be a cracking Saturday!

This Saturday sees Oaks visit a much-improved Westcombe Park for what is a keenly awaited local derby. 

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