Positive Oaks rue missed opportunities


The Oaks travelled to York RI on Saturday afternoon to take on a side comfortably sitting in mid-table. It was another game where the Oaks played positively for long periods of the game, but came up short in terms of taking points when the opportunities were there.

With almost the entire first half spent in the York half, with sustained pressure and good opportunities the Oaks will be disappointed to have not got more from the game. Whilst the score not reflect the dominance the Oaks showed in the first half, the Oaks went into the game with a clear focus on playing attacking rugby, holding onto the ball and looking to score in 5s, not 3s.

Perhaps, in retrospect, opportunities could have been utilised by going to the tee, but there was a feeling that the team needed more than that and on another day, it might have been a different result.

The first half was dominated by the Oaks, who used their clear advantage in the scrum and lineout to bully the York side, whilst the backs looked to enjoy themselves on the wide pitch. The sustained pressure took its toll on the home team, who racked up penalties and eventually saw a player sent to the bin.

Despite the pressure and the man advantage, the Oaks failed to put away a couple of good chances. The first of these came from strong attacking play in the wider channels, with wing Alex Bugg getting the ball out wide. Running strongly at the line, only an illegal looking challenge could take him over the touch line. The ref did not pick it up, and the opportunity was gone, as was Bugg’s game getting an injury for his troubles.

The second strong opportunity for the Oaks came on the far touch line, where neat interplay on the blind side saw number 10 Nick Watson Jones appear to cross the whitewash, only for the travelling lino to call a foot in touch. Nobody can say the Oaks aren’t honest!

With the half time score sitting at 0-0, the Oaks were confident of getting a result, and the half time chat revolved around doing the basics right and keeping up the pressure: the points would surely come. The home side clearly had a wake up call during their half time chat and came out firing in the second half.

If the first half was dominated by the Oaks, in the second half the Sheffield team struggled to maintain possession and territory. To their credit, they kept playing, and it was from their adventure that a number of chances were given to the home side and their pacey back division.

Despite conceding, the Oaks showed what they were capable of when fly half Watson Jones ghosted through the home defence. The work on support play in recent weeks clearly played off with numbers left and right. The influential fly half picked the right, if most difficult, option, but the ball went to ground. In the consequent confusion, the ball found its way into centre Callum Schofield’s hands, and with the referee was happy for play to continue Schofield ran it in for a much deserved, if ugly, score.

The Oaks had their opportunities in the game, and dominated in the pack. Credit where due, York were extremely clinical and scored off just about every opportunity they had. Final score was 28-5 to the home side.

The 2s welcomed touring side Towcestrians in a friendly to Niagara. It was a fun game for all, and there was a high try count for both teams. Final score was 22-31, with Joe Brassfield scoring one of our tries.

Next weekend, the Oaks welcome another touring side the Dartfordians to Niagara in a squad match. All support welcome in what should be another entertaining afternoon in North Sheffield!