Sheffield Oaks begin their third season in Yorkshire 4 with a trip to newly relegated Hemsworth this Saturday (3pm kickoff). A mixure of youth and experience should serve the away side well as they attempt to create an early upset and set down a marker for the rest of the season.
After a disappointing 14/15 campaign, where pre-Christmas form left us potentially facing relegation, the club has been reinvigorated by an upturn in playing performances and a successful summer recruitment campaign. Over a dozen players have been given debuts in the past month and a handful more will be blooded over the coming weeks. The club still hopes to welcome more new faces over the next couple of months, during the upcoming World Cup, but already look comfortably set to field two teams every week.
Preseason results have also been positive with the Oaks set piece looking particularily dominant. Add to this a pacey and creative set of backs, and it’s easy to see why spirits are high. The key to early season form will inevitably be avoiding injuries, but the foundations are stronger than they have been for many seasons.
The undoubted playing highlight of the past few weeks was a strong showing at the Bradfield Brewery cup against Stocksbridge, Mosborough and Wortley. Only a late Stocksbridge penalty, who are in Yorkshire 3, denied the Oaks the trophy in a frenetic and compelling encounter. Another standout moment was the terrific turnout for the annual Simon Allen memorial match against South Yorkshire Police – with around two hundered players and supporters attending.
Regardless of the result this weekend, the club is certainly moving in the right direction and is looking forward to a successful season on and off the pitch. Oaks’ first home game is the South Yorkshire Silver Trophy match against Leeds Corinthians on the 19th of September – which is also Ladies’ Day at the club.
A version of this article appeared in The Sheffield Star on 4th August 2015