RUGBY: Oaks storm back to grab victory after initial fright of the Wild Geese
Sevenoaks 27 – London Irish Wild Geese 17
Sevenoaks 1st XV put in an imposing performance to run out 27-17 winners over London Irish Wild Geese RFC at Knole Paddock in the London Premier South league on Saturday.
Under the watchful gaze of Bill Sweeney, Chief Executive, England RFU and a host of Sevenoaks Rugby Past Players who had enjoyed the Match Day Lunch, the Oaks got off to a rather flat start. Irish went over for five points almost straight from the kick off. The visitors ranged the ball wide quickly showing a lot of pace and the home supporters wondered if they were in for a long day.
But the initial Irish onslaught was short-lived and Oaks began to demonstrate a dominance in the set piece that was to last all match. From a scrum penalty inside the Irish five metre line, Oaks used the field position to their advantage, kicked for the corner and from the resulting phases Charlie Naismith barrelled over for a try from short range.
The response from Irish was immediate. Rapid handling and movement down the right flank resulted in the visitors’ winger diving over in the corner. Oaks kept in touch through the trusty boot of Ben Adams which pegged the Irish lead back to 10-8 just short of the half time break.
London Irish, who were recently relegated to the London Premier South league level, are a solid and seasoned outfit and the match was very much in the balance as the teams emerged for the second half.
Oaks had worked hard to contain the running lines and fluid movement of the Irish backs and the concern was whether they could match these solid defensive patterns with field position and points. Those concerns were put somewhat to rest in the very opening stages of the second half. Sean Derrick, thanks to the impetus of his fellow pack members, was at the bottom of the maul to dot the ball down over the line after Oaks rumbled up the field, Adams securing the extras to take the Oaks into the lead for the first time.
Oaks winger Kalkani Pehi then found himself in some space out wide, bounced off his opposing wing and scored an outstanding try. Another Adams conversion took Oaks into a 22-10 lead.
Further Oaks pressure, to the delight of the vociferous support roaring on the navy and golds from the Bradshaw-Pearl Balcony, saw Dan Power drive over for Oaks’ fourth try and a 27-10 lead. Irish were far from out of it however, and when a converted try brought them back to within 10 points with 10 minutes to go, Oaks had to compose themselves for the inevitable onslaught and managed to see out the game.
The final play of the match was a kick at goal from a penalty by Irish, the attempt to edge in a losing bonus point falling narrowly wide as Oaks secured a full five points from the match, four for the win and one for scoring four tries.
Results elsewhere meant that it was a formidable four matches and four wins for the Oaks 1s, 2s, 3s and Gents on Saturday. The Juniors stepped up on Sunday with a set of compelling Kent Cup results and victory for the Academy in the National Cup 2nd Round away at Worthing RFC.
This Saturday the 1st XV hit the road and play CS Rugby away, all support welcome for the 2.30pm kick off.