Falcons 2019 - 2020

Langton Green Falcons 0 Sedlescombe Rangers 2

Sunday 26th January - 10am ko at Groombridge, CDJFL Cup semi-final

Sedlescombe came to the semi-final as unbeaten leaders of the B division, so a close match was always in prospect. The Falcons started the match better, having the majority of the play but being unable to convert possession into clear chances. And Sedlescombe came closest to a goal as a long shot seemed destined for the top corner until Dan C tipped the ball onto a post.

Chances came for the Falcons, but mainly from headers, with Luca and Charlie both getting too much elevation. Sedlescombe eased themselves into the match, starting to win more tackles and giving the Falcons very little time on the ball.

The breakthrough came about five minutes before half-time as a good move from Sedlescombe down their left produced an accurate cross, and the firm header gave Dan no chance.The second half took much the same pattern as the first, with some good Falcons possession not being translated into chances. Dec went down in the box - no penalty. Luca saw the keeper off the line and Ben couldn’t quite bundle in the long shot.

At the other end, Sedlescombe rattled the bar. The boys battled well and it seemed they had their reward when Lewie played a one-two and rampaged into the box before being hauled down. The ref pointed to the spot but the Sedlescombe linesman’s flag was up for offside, so the decision was overturned.

The Falcons turned up the pressure in the last 15 minutes but were still unable to test the keeper, with Kyle coming closest as a seemingly goal-bound shot was well blocked. As the boys committed numbers forward in the final minute chasing the equaliser, Sedlescombe broke away to make it 0-2. 

So no cup final for the boys and credit to Sedlescombe for a strong, committed performance. But all to play for in the league for the Falcons, starting with a vital double-header against the current league leaders next Sunday.

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Langton Green Falcons 6 Foresters Colts 1

Sunday 12th January - 11:30am ko at Groombridge

The match brought a chance for the Falcons to avenge their opening day defeat at Foresters. Based on their relaxed pre-match demeanour, it’s always hard to tell whether the boys are up for it. And things looked ominous as Foresters took the game to the Falcons in the first 10 minutes, but the boys kept their shape, defended in groups and saw out the onslaught without allowing a shot to trouble Dan C in goal.

Led by an inspirational Captain Max, the Falcons then started to get a grip. And after 13 minutes, a plan directly from the oversized brain of Master Tactician Ian Berry saw the Falcons take the lead. Harry swung in a corner, the ball bobbled around in the area, and Joey slammed it home. Just like Ian planned. 

It was 2-0 a couple of minutes later when Luca’s fierce shot hit the bar and bounced down over the line, and then for good measure Luca forced the ball over the line again before it was cleared. Fortunately the ref’s goal-line technology (aka his eyes) gave the goal; unfortunately it only counted as one goal despite going over the line twice. Luca celebrated by getting a yellow card shortly afterwards. Lewie nearly made it three with one of his trademark surges and shots, only to be denied by the post.

But the third goal did come before the half hour when Harry hit a sublime near-post corner and Dan B timed his run perfectly to glance a header into the far corner. Another straight from the Ian Berry playbook - we are truly lucky to have him.   The fourth goal came courtesy of Josh. Was it a shot or a cross? Who cares. It nestled beautifully in the corner of the net. Just as Ian practiced with Josh in the back garden. Apparently.A fifth goal looked likely as the Falcons forced a series of corners, and Harv even sprung up as a makeshift right winger, beating two defenders before seeing his cross cleared. And in injury time the fifth goal did come as Kyle ran at the defence, the ball came to Harry on the left, and his right-foot shot found the corner of the net. Half-time 5-0. And fully deserved for a superb, controlled performance. 

With a 5-0 half-time lead, the challenge is to keep concentration. And the Falcons did that brilliantly, with the spine of the team excelling: Max and Charlie forging a formidable partnership in central midfield, and Jack and Harv similarly excellent and unflappable in central defence. Up front, the four forwards - Joey, Ben, Tom and Kyle - rotated to great effect, working tirelessly to defend from the front.

The full backs and wings supported each other brilliantly - Dan B and Lewie working with Harry, Luca and Josh to stifle attacks and then to threaten going forward. Reward came in the 55th minute as Kyle’s free-kick came back off the wall, Max picked it up and hit an unstoppable shot from 20 yards to make it 6-0. The game was over as a contest and not much more happened until the last five minutes. Tom hit a shot just over. Foresters broke and Dan C had no chance with a shot into the corner. 6-1.

There was still time for a yellow card for Charlie, a sin-binning for Harv and a disallowed goal as Max’s strike was turned in off the keeper but from an offside position. So 6-1. And the league very much still a realistic aim if the boys keep on playing with such skill and commitment. Well done to all of them.

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Langton Green Falcons 3 Hollington United 0

Sunday 5th January - 9:30am ko at Groombridge, Cup Quarter-Final

The new year and an unusual experience for the boys: actually having a match that wasn’t postponed. Hollington may be in the B division, but were yet to lose a match this season so would obviously be a test for the Falcons.The first half was a very even affair. There were few chances at either end, but Harv and Jack had to be at their sharpest several times to snuff out Hollington breaks.Half time - no goals, and the Falcons were urged to shrug off the new year lethargy and start passing the ball. As the second half started the Falcons sprang into life, sparked in large part by Ben’s energy and aggression. The first three minutes saw chances for Ben (shot across the goal line), Josh (just over the bar) and Wayne (fierce shot almost turned in by Dan B). The pressure told 10 minutes in when Joey latched on to a ball from Lewie, created havoc in the defence, and Ben picked up the pieces to slot a well-deserved goal. Hollington responded, forcing Dan C into a diving save low to his left. But the Falcons then started to turn the screw, with Captain Max running the show, getting a grip on midfield with Charlie and Kyle. More chances came, the closest being a shot from Wayne that rebounded off the underside of the bar but somehow didn’t go in. The match was sealed in the last five minutes. First Tom won the ball in midfield and fed a lovely ball for Luca, who finished clinically for 2-0. Then a pinpoint corner from Josh evaded the keeper and was rammed home by an onrushing Harv. Three-nil didn’t flatter the Falcons after a very pleasing second-half display. A cup semi-final against Sedlescombe is their reward. 

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Langton Green Falcons 3 Tonbridge Junior Inter 2

Sunday 17th November - 11:45am ko at Groombridge

Unusually, the minutes before kick-off saw the Falcons holding goalkeeping trials, with Dan C sadly having dislocated his shoulder again. Harvey and Jack eventually lost out to Dan B, who won the privilege of donning the gloves. It’s important that the Falcons have a Dan in goal. The first half was a tight affair, with the Falcons having the bulk of the chances while shielding Dan B well at the back.

The closest efforts came from Harry and Kyle, plus numerous corners that no Falcon was able to turn in. 0-0 at half-time and all to play for. A few minutes into the second half, goalie Dan had no chance with a fierce, dipping cross-shot and the Falcons were one down. The response was immediate, with Luca putting the ball into the net, only to be ruled marginally offside. The game started to become more open. Dan made a sharp save. Ben came close. Then Kyle found Max 20 yards out, and Max made no mistake with a trademark piledriver that was far too hot for the keeper. The game continued to be open, with Dan B fielding a sharp free-kick, Joey picking up a yellow card, Max firing just over and Ben having a shot destined for the top corner well saved. Special praise must go to the back four of Josh, Harv, Jack and Lewie, who fought superbly to keep the Tonbridge attacks well away from Keeping Legend Dan B. Then with 10 minutes to play, Kyle threaded a ball through to Ben, who beat the defender and smashed in a left-footed shot. 2-1.

The Falcons started playing some lovely, calm possession football to see out the win. And as 90 minutes came and the match entered injury time, it looked like the win was secure. Then a corner for Tonbridge, and a firm header into the top corner of the net. 2-2. But the Falcons are made of strong stuff and their heads didn’t drop - they still wanted the win. The ball fell to Tom, who beat his defender, drove into the box and hit a crisp shot. The keeper parried well, but Joey was there to slam home the winner with pretty much the final kick of the match. 3-2 and much celebration.All in all, a very well deserved win. The boys showed superb organisation and tenacity to defend Dan B in goal, and the teamwork and determination to get a win were a joy to behold. Well done boys. Let’s make this the start of a winning run to take us to the top of the league.

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Crowborough Athletic Colts 0 Langton Green Falcons 15

Sunday 3rd November - 10:30am ko in Crowborough, CDJFL U18 Cup, 2nd round

It was a minor miracle that the match was on, given the previous day's rain. And the game was effectively over after 10 minutes, by which time the Falcons were 4-0 up courtesy of goals by Joey x2 (one from a penalty after Lewie was brought down), Tom and Kyle. Tom bagged the 5th and 6th goals with accomplished finishes before the half-hour mark to round off his hat-trick. The 7th goal was barely believable as Kyle dribbled through the whole Crowborough team before passing the ball into the net. Similarly unbelievable was the 8th, as Harry smacked in a screamer with his right foot. Just before half-time, Dan C had to make a save. The second half started in the same vein as John and Luca combined in the first minute and Luca curled home a shot. The 10th goal nearly came from Jack, but was actually scored by Max. The 11th was a beauty as Lewie swung in a perfect cross from the right and Joey almost broke the net with the finish for his hat-trick. The 12th was a well-deserved goal for Ben, amazingly from a crisp shot with his left foot. The Falcons knocked in three more goals from Luca, Josh and Joey to make it 15.

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Bexley 5 Langton Green Falcons 1 

Sunday 27th October - 10:30-ish am ko in Bexley, Kent U18 Cup, 2nd round

The Falcons’ Kent Cup run came to an end against a strong, skilful Bexley side, currently sitting second in their division of the Kent Youth League. We have to admit that the best team on the day won, but the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. A strong start from Bexley saw the Falcons three-nil down halfway through the first half, as the boys struggled to cope with a strong midfield and extremely rapid forward line.

But the Falcons showed great character not to crumble. They dug in and managed to create some chances. Harry just couldn’t get his head to a cross from Luca. Joey and Ben both had difficult half chances. Lewie shot just over. Max shot narrowly wide. And the boys got their reward from pressuring the Bexley defence when Luca pounced on a weak clearance and squared for Joey to tuck the ball past the keeper to make it 1-3. And that’s how it stayed until half-time.

The Falcons were playing with the slope in the second half, but knew they couldn’t chase the game too much and get caught on the counter-attack. The match became far tighter. Ben just couldn’t turn the ball in after a nice build-up from Wayne and Luca. But Bexley were always a threat and were creating more chances. Josh started tackling as though his life depended on it. Dan B and Lewie had to work very hard to cope with Bexley's very pacy wingers, Harvey led by example and put in some fierce tackles, and behind him Jack read the game intelligently and swept up anything loose.

In goal, Dan C came out well to block a couple of one-on-ones with the strikers and made several excellent saves, the best being a double save from point blank range (the second with his face) and one diving full length to stop a firm shot from six yards out, which even had the Bexley coaches applauding. But the effort finally started to tell for the Falcons and in the final five minutes Bexley took a firm grip on the match with two more goals. 

In all honesty it could have been a heavier defeat, but the boys did create chances and showed real grit to stay in the game for 85 minutes.

Bexley are a far better side than any the boys will face in the league, and this sort of committed performance would win most games if replicated for the rest of the season.

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Tonbridge Junior Inter 3 Langton Green Falcons 3 

Sunday 20th October - 10:30am ko at Tonbridge

Ultimately this was another frustrating match for the Falcons, where a leading position in the second half again ends without a victory.

The Falcons deservedly took the lead after a quarter of an hour when a perfectly floated corner from Harry was headed in emphatically by a towering Harvey. The Falcons were controlling possession, but also giving the ball away too often to a Tonbridge side that had pace and strength on the break. One such break after a long ball led to Tonbridge levelling the score 10 minutes before half time. Ben and Harry both had good chances but it stayed 1-1 until the break.

The Falcons came out strongly for the second half, with Kyle and Dec combining well to create a chance, and Ben rounding the keeper but finding the side netting. The lead duly came 10 minutes in with a well crafted goal, as Lewie won the ball, fed Ben on the right flank, Ben outpaced the defence and his cross was crisply turned in by Dec.

Dec pounced again a couple of minutes later to make it 3-1, and the Falcons should have been cruising. However, as in their previous match, as the opposition chased the game, the Falcons started to waste possession and were forced onto the back foot. A soft goal followed, courtesy of the tenacious Tonbridge centre forward. And then on the half hour the scores were level as Tonbridge turned the ball in after a free-kick wasn’t cleared. The linesman’s offside flag was overruled by the ref as the several Tonbridge players offside from the free-kick were deemed to not have been interfering with play. The Falcons could then have gone behind as Tonbridge put the ball in the net again only to be pulled back for a handball earlier in the move.

Apparently this is a new rule (as confirmed by the ref after the match) - the ref played on after the ball was handled, but because a goal was subsequently scored the ref bought play back for the earlier handball - guess essentially the ref was acting as his own VAR! The last 10 minutes were frantic end-to-end stuff.

Max had a lovely shot tipped over and an effort from John flew just wide, while Harv and Charlie were living on their nerves at the other end. So 3-3 was how it ended, and the boys will know it was two points dropped rather than a point gained. Lessons to learn again for the Falcons are that you can’t afford to give the ball away cheaply at U18 level and that the matches are genuine 90 minute affairs where you have to be as sharp off the ball as on it.

Although the boys have had a couple of setbacks, it’s clear that there are no outstandingly superior teams in the division, and any team can beat any other. So if the lessons can be learnt, a good run of results could still see the Falcons challenging for the top. 

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Langton Green Falcons 2 Sevenoaks Diamonds 3

Sunday 6th October - 2pm ko at Bennett 3G

The Falcons came down to earth with a bump after last Sunday’s emphatic win over Kent Youth League opposition. Although the boys played some nice football in patches and created more than enough chances to have put the game safely to bed, too often they were second to the ball against a determined, physical Sevenoaks side.

Having had the best of the first half hour, the Falcons gifted a soft goal to go one nil down, before Dan B levelled the score minutes later with a fierce cross-shot. The best move of the half came shortly before the break as Kyle set off on a mazy run and fed Max, whose shot was tipped onto the bar, and Joey couldn’t quite force the loose ball in.

Some battling play by Ben and a rare left-foot finish gave the Falcons the lead 10 minutes onto the second half. But despite making a few more good chances, the boys couldn’t extend their lead and gradually Sevenoaks started to get a grip on the match as the Falcons flagged. With 15 minutes to go, a long ball caught out the Falcons’ defence and the score was level at 2-2.

Then a couple of minutes before full-time the Falcons got caught again, failed to clear the ball, and were 3-2 down. And that’s how it finished. So an important lesson that talent and ability won’t win matches unless they are matched by equal levels of effort and determination, particularly when the boys aren’t in possession.

The Falcons have the ability to beat any team in the league, and with 15 games to go they have plenty of time to set things right and challenge for the title, hopefully starting next Sunday against Tunbridge Wells Youth Steelers.

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Langton Green Falcons 4 K Sports 0

Sunday 29th September - 2pm ko at Bennett 3G

After last season’s Kent Cup run, which included two wins against Kent Youth League opposition, Sunday saw the Falcons start this season’s campaign up against another KYL team. Wearing bibs (long story) and with a traffic cone for a corner flag, the Falcons played the first half against driving rain and a strong wind. The first half was very even as the Falcons contained play well, not allowing K Sports any clear shots on goal.

The best chance came for the Falcons just before half time as Wayne’s cross was steered just over the bar by Harry. With the wind at their backs, the Falcons started the second half strongly. This time Harry won the ball on the left and slipped it across to Wayne, whose crisp shot nestled in the bottom corner of the net. 1-0

The Falcons were now dominating, and after 20 mins John chased down a long ball on the left wing and swung a wind-assisted shot (cross?) over the keeper from a narrow angle. 2-0

Joey nearly found the net twice. Then Max picked the ball up 25 yards out. Never in doubt. 3-0.Kyle came close with a shot after one of his mazy runs. It was all Falcons possession. And a few minutes from the end Josh won the ball on the edge of the box and found the top corner. 4-0.A really strong performance and well-deserved win, with the Falcons playing the conditions perfectly - keeping the first half tight then using the wind to their advantage in the second. Great credit must go to the defence, with Harv and Jack masterful in the centre and Lewie and Dan B putting in great shifts from full back. Dan C made a couple of good blocks but was largely untroubled.

The midfield were excellent throughout, with Charlie and Max anchoring, and Kyle, Wayne and Tom always threatening. On the flanks Harry and John controlled the left and Josh and Luca the right. As lone strikers, Joey and Ben ran their hearts out and set the tone for the team. And apologies to Dec, who made the journey but fell foul of this season’s five subs maximum rule. Let’s hope this is the start of another good cup run - whoever draws us in the next round should be worried.

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Langton Green Falcons 8 Sovereign Saints 1

Sunday 22nd September - 10am ko at Langton Rec

A league cup first round tie against Crowborough C Division opposition brought a rare outing for the Falcons at Langton Rec. The Falcons were without Dan B, Charlie and Tom, but gave debuts to John and Declan, both from last season’s all-conquering U18 Langton Jets side. Sovereign Saints arrived late after their long trek from Eastbourne and encounter with the Langton Green road closures, so the match was reduced to 80 minutes, with 20 mins extra time if needed.After three minutes, Harry’s superb corner flew straight into the net, meaning extra time was unlikely to be needed. 1-0. Kicking up the slope, Langton piled on the pressure but the sights were slightly off as shots flew just over from Joey, Lewie and Kyle, while Harry had another in-swinging corner headed off the line. After 25 minutes of pressure, a cross from a well-worked short free-kick found Luca’s head, and his goalbound header was well saved by the right hand of a defender. Penalty and no option for the ref but to produce a red card. Joey tucked away the pen for 2-0.Joey and Luca combined again shortly afterwards with Luca hooking the ball over the keeper for a Joey tap-in. 3-0.At the other end, Harv and Jack were calmly sweeping up any Sovereign Saints attacks, with Dan making a solid block on the one occasion the opposition did break through. No more goals came in the half despite some lovely flowing moves and Captain Max heading just wide on the stroke of half-time.3-0 at half-time. The second half saw the Falcons piling forward down the slope. Kyle set off on a trademark run and slipped the ball to Ben, who was bundled over from behind in the box. Ben hauled himself up to dispatch the penalty. 4-0.Minutes later a Declan cross was bundled into the net as Ben battled the defender. Ben’s goal. Definitely. 5-0. Dan nearly opened his account for the season with a huge goal-kick, just tipped over by the opposition keeper. Then a rare blip in defence as Dan and Lewie got in a tangle and let the SS striker in for a consolation. 5-1.John obviously wasn’t impressed because he ran straight down the other end and slotted calmly past the keeper for a debut goal. 6-1. An injured Josh was able to come on to give his sore thigh a work out at right back. Lewie had shot after shot but couldn’t hit the target. Dec and Wayne were dominating centre midfield, and another goal came when Dec slipped the ball to Ben, who found the corner of the net for his hat-trick. 7-1.There was just time for John to feed Dec for another debut goal as his 20-yard shot nestled in the net. 8-1. Credit to Sovereign Saints, who battled hard for the best part of an hour with 10 men, and forced Dan to produce a couple of sharp diving saves.So a comfortable passage for the Falcons to the next round of the cup, with no injuries to report after some hard tackling from a determined opposition side. Hopefully the finishing practice will have helped for the tough matches ahead, starting with a Kent Cup game vs K Sports next weekend.

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Langton Green Falcons 4 Heathfield & Horam 2

Sunday 15th September - 10am ko at Groombridge

Needing to get a win on the board after their opening defeat last week, the Falcons lined up on a glorious Groombridge morning with Charlie pushed up to anchor the centre of midfield behind Max and Kyle, and Tom starting as the lone striker.

The pattern was set with the Falcons having most of the possession and H&H playing on the break, and creating the first chance of the match, requiring a sharp save from Dan. Gradually the Falcons took a grip despite losing Josh to injury, and after 10 mins a sweet ball from Tom caused panic in the H&H box, which Harry exploited to block the keeper’s clearance and tap the ball in for 1-0.

H&H continued to threaten on the break, but 10 mins later the Falcons doubled their lead as Lewie’s determination saw him win a ball 30 yards out, drive towards the box and hit a swerving shot that the keeper couldn’t turn round the post. Chances came at both ends, with H&H rattling the bar. Then on the half hour the Falcons made it 3-0 after a great run and cross from Luca was turned back into the middle by Harry, and Luca was there to knock home. H&H were still creating chances, and Harv and Jack had to be on their toes to snuff them out, while Dan had to make another couple of important saves. At the other end, Kyle was showing his creativity and Joey and Ben battled hard but couldn’t create a clear chance. Then with the final kick of the half, Harry swung a perfect corner under the bar and Dan B leapt like a salmon to nod home.

So 4-0 at half time and the job should have been done for the Falcons, so long as they didn’t get complacent in the second half. But the lads were slow out of the blocks, allowing H&H a tap-in in the first minute after Dan had saved. 4-1.

H&H were showing great determination to get back in the game, and chances were being created at both ends. Then 20 mins in, H&H won a header from a free kick, their striker controlled and hit a snap shot that gave Dan no chance. 4-2 and the Falcons suddenly needed to show cool heads to see out the game. Charlie and Max had to dig in to secure midfield, Wayne used his strong running as an outlet to relieve the pressure, while Luca set the tone with a 20-yard sprint and tackle to stop a potential H&H attack.

Some half chances were created but none were taken, and the Falcons were able to see the match out despite playing the last 10 minutes a man down after Joey had his first, and hopefully last, taste of the sin bin. All in all a deserved three points to open the Falcons’ account for the season. But lessons have to be learnt from the second half that the intensity and concentration must be maintained for a full 90 minutes at this level.

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TW Foresters Colts 2 Langton Green Falcons 0

Sunday 8th September - 2pm ko at St Greg’s 3G

Match reporter: Steve Conn

A new season dawned for the Falcons, now as U18s and the senior team representing Langton Green. How they’ve grown from the cute little things we used to watch chasing a ball around Langton Rec.

The pre-match chatter was how the Foresters team had played many pre-season friendlies (6, 10, 12?) so were likely to be out of the blocks quicker than a scratch Falcons squad. But this didn’t prove to be the case as Simon’s pre-season bootcamps showed their benefit, and the Falcons had the better of a tight first half.

Many very good chances were created but sadly none were finished off, with Dan having a quiet half in goal but for one excellent diving save. So 0-0 at half time and a nagging fear that so many missed chances would come back to bite the team. The hot afternoon duly appeared to take its toll on the Falcons and the second half was a more even affair, but still tight with few chances at either end.

After 15 minutes Foresters broke down their left and a nice strike gave Dan no chance. The Falcons continued to battle and create opportunities, but still with no end product. The boys switched to 3-4-3 for the last quarter of an hour but couldn’t fashion a clear chance. Then with the Falcons chasing the game, Foresters counterattacked and created an overlap down their left. A nice finish and the Falcons were 2-0 down with a couple of minutes to go, and no way back.

So a defeat, but with many positives. The overall performance was good but the result shows the importance of taking your chances at this level. New boys Charlie and Tom, both winners of the Crowborough U18 league and cup with Langton last season, fitted in seamlessly, as did fellow new recruit Wayne. Dan’s shoulder injury didn’t affect him, and he made a couple of superb saves. The back four of Dan B, Charlie, Harvey and Lewie looked like they’d played together for years and used the ball well going forward. In midfield, Captain Max and Kyle formed an effective partnership in the middle, combining strength and guile, and created several good chances. On the flanks Harry, Josh, Wayne and Jack worked hard all afternoon and always looked dangerous going forward. Luca showed his usual tenacity and threat moving between wing and attack. And up front, Joey, Ben and Tom worked tirelessly - the goals will come if they keep up the commitment and work-rate.

Next Sunday provides a chance for the Falcons to get up and running in a home match against old rivals Broad Oak (now rebranded as Heathfield and Horam).