Sevenoaks threes took part in a pulsating and very physical game against Cranbrook on Saturday. Despite losing to the last kick of the game Sevenoaks 3ís have won the league and will be confirmed as league champions at their last league game of the season.
This was as hard a game as Sevenoaks expected against a side that had already beaten them at home once this season. Cranbrook were obviously up for the game and fielded a very strong side who came at the Oaks right from the start. The first 10 minutes were spent defending in the Oaks 22, this is a strength of this side though and they soaked up the pressure and repelled all advances. The defence throughout was incredible with man of the match Sayers leading the charge, huge tackles were put in throughout, non more so than Charlie Watmough who dumped the opposition prop with a try saving tackle.
Sevenoaks were under tremendous pressure in the scrumís but the props Lockey and Scott held their own and eventually got on top. After about 15 minutes of solid defence Sevenoaks ran a loose kick back through Monks and Cosh and despite losing possession a thundering tackle from Scott gained a penalty near the half way line. Kavanagh duly converted to give Oaks the lead. With Daniels and Morris playing wel up front the Sevenoaks pack was more than a match for Cranbrook. Cosh was always a threat on the wing and made an exceptional tackle to stop a certain try early on.
This resulted in more pressure from Cranbrook, which was absorbed but the increasing number of penalties were starting to hurt the away side. From one of these, Cranbrooks stand off cut back inside again and broke for the line, despite seemingly being held up the try was given and Oaks were behind. This is the way the score remained until half time, it was never going to be a try scoring fest, but was none the less a compelling game.
An injury on the stroke of half time robbed Sevenoaks of the raw aggression of Peters but he was replaced by the increasingly influential Fuller. Sevenoaks were up against it in the second half playing into the wind, up the slope against a very determined and well organised side. They stepped up to the mark however with a display of team spirit and self confidence which has carried them through the season, led as always by the commitment and tenacity of Rosier. They never let Cranbrook get in to their stride and attacked both going forward and defending, and returned everything with credit. After a couple of long periods of possession Sevenoaks scored with Watmough bursting onto a short ball to score.
This was soon followed by a penalty from Kavanagh to give Sevenoaks a 6 point lead going into the final quarter of the game. They were soon disrupted when a cowardly unprovoked punch on Hutcheson resulted in him being led from the field with a deep cut to his eye. This took Cranbrook down to 14 men but robbed Oaks of an inspirational player. This however brought the inexorable Baldwin on to the field to bring his own brand of rugby to the fray.
The last 10 minutes were frantic with Sevenoaks having a chance to seal the game but not taking it and Cranbrook going all out for the win. Finally with the last play of the game Cranbrook scored from a penalty which was well converted to win by a point.
A fantastic game of rugby was played, and this was a testament to the massively competitive spirit of both sides.