The home side welcomed touring side Towcestrians 3s on a clear day at Niagara hoping to replicate last week’s victory.
The opening 20 minutes were played in the home side’s half and the visitors were rewarded with two tries to take the lead 0-12. Despite moving up the field from the penalty kicks the Oaks where unable to capitalise on these opportunities and two more scores for the touring side looked like the tone for the game had been set.
However, Oaks kept their heads up and the next score came to the home side. Oaks took advantage of the visitors’ protests over a perceived knock on, and a loanee winger cut through the bemused defence to score the try just before the halftime break: 5-24.
The first ten minutes of the second half imitated the opening of the match; the away side pressuring the Oaks tryline. However, a scrum 5m out tested the Oaks pack and a call was made for scrum half Joe Brassfield and fly half Andy Bryson to switch in this particular set piece which allowed Brassfield to clear the Oaks line.
The pack held firm but a quick reaction from the Towcestrian number 9 managed to disrupt the pass allowed the touring side to steal the ball and go over for the score. The extras were slotted and the score sat at 5 -31.
Oaks took control of the game: some strong carries from second row Jonny Wilson, front row Kieran Ibboston and inside centre Simon Travis and Oaks were soon barging their way into the visitors’ 22. Good rucking organised by Captain Leon Mantey resulted in territory gains for Oaks. Brassfield spotted space round the side of the ruck on the 5m line and went between two tacklers to get over the line to score the Oaks’ second try of the match with no extras. 10-31.
The Oaks forwards started to come together and started to create problems for the away side’s pack. Strong tackling from Melvin Codling, Sam Crowley and Mantey kept them from inflicting anymore damage. The third try to Oaks came from good forward play as the 8 man pack rumbled its way towards the try line. A quick-thinking Towcestrian loanee spotted a gap and picked and went to go over the line, no conversion: 15-31.
The final few minutes were all Oaks as the forwards dominated the scrums and line outs. Crowley was unlucky not to get on the score sheet as play went down the blindside and set him loose but he was tackled into touch just metres from the line. The referee called last play of the game and Oaks were awarded a penalty and instead opting for touch it was a tap and go: another Towcestrian loanee burst through the defence to score the final try of the game and added the extras. Final score Oaks 22-31 Towcestrians.
Big thank you to the touring side for coming up and making it a very enjoyable game of rugby and for the supply of probably the funniest referee we’ve ever had.
The Oaks will now face another touring side Dartfordians this Easter weekend.