Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Oaks launch second half onslaught in muddy battle against Guernsey but the Channel Islanders hold out for victory

Sevenoaks Rugby 10 – Guernsey RFC 17

Sevenoaks Rugby Club played out a compelling 10-17 defeat to Guernsey RFC on Saturday (26 October). Oaks spent the final throes of the match camped out on the visitors’ try line in a mud bath at Knole Paddock but the draw wasn’t to be.

Dense grey clouds moved in overhead in the build-up, and the match started as ominously for Oaks. The skies opened, the rain lashed it down for the entire match and shortly after the kickoff from a lineout move Guernsey barreled over for a soft try which they duly converted. Seven up and under five minutes gone, it seemed that the lads from the Channel islands might well have it all their own way.

Oaks had different ideas. They pegged the lead back to 3-7 thanks a Tom Gray penalty and defended robustly against some imposing runs by the Guernsey back three-quarters, their ranging 15 eventually finding the gap to slide over in the corner and repeated the trick some five minutes later, for the visitors to take a 17-3 lead into the break.

Sages on the touchline put the howling wind whipping the rain across the Paddock as a ’10-pointer’ and while Guernsey arrived as the form outfit, Oaks had won their two most recent matches and one sensed that provided Oaks stayed in the game, an upset to the form book could be on their cards especially as they also had the wind at their backs for the second half.

The navy and golds, to the extent that you could tell which team was which colour as the mud-caked shirts, battled it out, and put their shoulders to the wheel. A line-break from Leighton Ralph was held up achingly short. From this field position, and after much pressing, Oaks managed to breach the Guernsey try-line when Richard Adenyi-Jones got onto the end of a fluid move to dive over the line, and Gray secured the extras. 15 minutes to go. 10-17. Everything to play for.

Oaks battered the Guernsey try-line time and again.To their credit Guernsey weathered the storm and strong body positions on their own line and effective line speed helping to repel the onslaught.

When the referee called time, it was a relieved Guernsey that headed for the warm welcome of the showers. The solitary bonus point for Oaks at least offered up some reward for the toil, and the team now look forward to a well-earned break from competitive rugby next Saturday, before the renewal of the League-level derby versus Tunbridge Wells away at St Mark’s Rec on Saturday 9 November, 2:30pm KO.

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