23 NOVEMBER 2013
The effects of the two closely fought matches played within the last eight days made themselves evident on Saturday when Charlton Park faced a Sevenoaks side that over the previous few weeks had an enjoyed a winning streak and were only sitting two league places below Charlton.
The match started brightly with both sides intent on attacking by direct play although ominously for Sevenoaks Charlton’s forwards took control at the first scrum pushing the visitors backwards and this was to be the case for the majority of the game.
It was as the result of a scrum that Charlton had the first real opportunity to open the scoring when following them pushing Sevenoaks off the ball at a scrum they then continued the drive for a further twenty metres before Sevenoaks, in their efforts to stop the play, were adjudged to have offended giving away a penalty. Unfortunately for Charlton they were not rewarded for the play as the resultant kick hit the crossbar and Sevenoaks scrambled away the ball to nullify Charlton’s chase.
Having secured an advantage in forward play Charlton had a good base to work from and, when able, ran the ball at every opportunity with wingers “BJ” Bridges and Reion Rabye aided by full back Tom Coad who all made telling runs deep into the Sevenoaks’s half of the field.
It was following Coad running back the ball from a clearance kick down the centre of the pitch that lead to Sevenoaks, in their efforts to regain the ball conceded a penalty and with his second kick at the goal posts Tom Amzaleg made no mistake to make the kick that lead to Charlton scoring the first points of the half.
Despite having the advantage in both possession and territory Charlton’s efforts to increase their lead were nullified by solid and reliable Sevenoaks’s defending allied to errors creeping into Charlton’s play with passes not going to hand or over complications of moves. Indeed it required a frenetic chase back and last ditch tackle from Sam Baker to deny Sevenoaks’ scoring a break away try after a Charlton attacking move went wrong.
It was good play in the loose that saw Sevenoaks take the lead when following over ambition from Charlton close to their goal line, trying to run the ball out of defence the visitor’s stripped the ball in contact and then good handling saw them score a try to take the lead. To compound Charlton’s woes they started to give away the ball through a series of errors and conceding penalties one of which was kicked by Sevenoaks a five point lead at half time.
The second half started in the best possible way for Charlton when good chasing of the kick off saw Rob Saunderson gain possession of the ball and several phases of play later Sevenoaks gave away a penalty that Amzaleg duly kicked to narrow the deficit.
Sevenoaks, having suffered a set back then constructed a period of play that saw them pressurising Charlton who were unable to work their way out of the half and the result was that Sevenoaks were awarded a series of kickable penalties two of which for Charlton luckily missed the target but third did not thereby reinstating the visitors’ advantage.
It was not until midway through the half that Charlton’s play seemed to kick into gear and they reasserted their dominance in driving play with man of the match Mark Harlow-Singh in the vanguard aided and abetted by his fellow forwards with Baker making several telling runs deep into the Sevenoaks half. It was following the award of a penalty Charlton opted for field position and following a multi-phased driving play tight head prop Terry Read, belying his description as set out by a previous opponents report as “visibly corpulent”, showed his pace of foot to drive over robustly to score Charlton’s first try which Amzaleg converted from close to the side line to give Charlton the lead.
It was centre Mark English that started off the period of play that saw Charlton extend their lead when following him running the ball out from defence play was taken through several phases deep into the Sevenoaks’ half and lead to the award of another penalty from which field position was taken. Baker showed his athleticism from the subsequent line out to drive gaining another penalty and Amzaleg made fourth successful kick at the goal posts.
To complete Charlton’s complete turn round of the position at half time they then put the match out of the reach of Sevenoaks when following a driving play that saw them take the ball through a series of phases out Amzaleg jinked his way to score a second try for Charlton which he converted to take his personal points tally for the match to eighteen.
Sevenoaks, to their credit, despite the match being out for their reach responded well to the challenge and they went, in the closing minutes of the game, a losing bonus point and their continual pressure saw Charlton having two players “yellow-card”. The numerical advantage proved decisive as in the last minute of the match Sevenoaks scored a converted try giving them a well merited bonus point.
By Roe Belcher
Sevenoaks View Of The Match:
by Edd Couchman
Oaks three game winning streak came to an end on Saturday with a narrow loss to high flying Charlton Park.
Oaks three game winning streak came to an end on Saturday with a narrow loss to high flying Charlton Park. Oaks hopes of securing a first away win in the capital for some time foundered on Park tighthead Terry Read, whose man of the match performance was the difference between the two sides.
Games between the two clubs are often close, compelling affairs with Park normally edging things in the forwards and Oaks having the upper hand behind the scrum. This renewal was no different. A try from the excellent Pati, who is beginning to regain form and match fitness after a serious injury prevented him from playing in the early part of the season and two penalties from the ever reliable boot of Bright, meant that Oaks led 11-6 at the half.
Oaks major problem this season has been their inability to put in a full eighty minute performance. This game was no exception and against top quality opposition such as Park any slackening of the pace will be punished. In a fifteen minute period Oaks coughed up two soft tries to find themselves trailing 23-11. With the full time whistle minutes away Oaks regained their composure and played with a verve and brio missing for much of the second half of the match. Their efforts were rewarded with a well worked second try for the barnstorming Pati with Bright duly obliging with the extras.
Oaks meet Park again the Intermediate Cup at the Paddock on December 21st in what should be a cracking encounter between two evenly matched sides. In between times Oaks face the little matter of facing table topping Maidstone at the Paddock this coming Saturday.