HENLEY HAWKS COLTS progressed to the second round of the National Plate competition with victory over local rivals Bracknell on Sunday.
With several changes from the previous week’s narrow defeat at Oxford, the opening encounters were even with much play in the centre of the pitch as neither side had the upper hand in territory or possession.
After 12 minutes a series of rucks led to flanker Dan Folley touching down for an unconverted try.
Now being in control of the forward battle, from a line-out caught by second row John Clarke, the ball was passed to the back of a driving maul to flanker Josh Beech where the Henley forwards drove up the pitch for him to touch down.
Henley, now realising the benefit of kicking penalties into the corner, drove yet another maul over for captain Ed Waldron to score, with centre Danny Hawkins kicking the conversion. Two more attempts at the same tactic didn’t achieve the desired result as Henley led 17-0 at half-time.
Bracknell started the second half with more determination and after a period camped in the Henley 22 were awarded a penalty which they kicked successfully.
The next 10 minutes was all Bracknell possession in the Henley 22. Despite good defending by the hosts a series of penalties was awarded to Bracknell as Henley wing Josh Huggins was yellow carded and although being comparatively late in the game, Bracknell elected to kick for a further three points.
With 10 minutes left Henley started to play more robust rugby deep in Bracknell territory which included a run up the wing by centre Liam Somers and several phases later flanker Folley scored his second try.
Replacement centre Josh Steiger ran a long way up field and almost managed a pass to winger Sam Grindey to score, but from a penalty Henley used a move off the training field for Grindey to run in at an angle to score close to the posts, with Hawkins adding the extras.
Henley Hawks Colts: Gibbs, Grindey, Somers, Hawkins, Huggins, Wiltshire, Beynon, Bowman, Waldron, Caple, Clarke, Browning, Gilbert, Beech, Folley, Borg, Capstick, Steiger.