HENLEY HAWKS slipped to their second home defeat of the season when going down 32-21 to Fylde at Dry Leas on Saturday.
It had been acknowledged that both sides revelled in fast open play and those who watched this game were not disappointed as far as the tempo of the game was concerned with play sometimes sweeping from one end of he ground to the other.
The visitors raced into a 26-0 lead before Luke Carter scored just before half-time which James Comben converted.
The second half began with the Hawks showing what they could do with the ball in hand and for the next 20 minutes made the visitors look a different team with their confidence shaken to a degree by the Hawks handling and running. They still could not give their wings enough of the ball to make use of the speed of both Jarryd Robinson and O’Neill.
Comben, on two occasions, caught the Fylde centres on the wrong foot to touch down and with his conversions took the score 26-21 and bring his total of points in the game to 16.
The Hawks were now looking to turn the match as skipper Martin Nutt managed to thrust through the Fylde defensive shield on a couple of occasions but these came to nothing in the visitors ten metre zone.
The opportunity to win the game and at least get one or two bonus points melted away as Fylde, down to 14 men, with the despatch of number eight Robert Stewart to the sin bin after 66 minutes, for the first time held their own in the set scrums although a Johnson penalty had put them clear at 29-21.
The Hawks, with a man advantage, tried to use the forwards through driving mauls and close play to get a vital fourth try and anxiety was evident in their play as their possession was turned over and their backs ignored.
The game was all over for the Hawks in the 72nd minute when Johnson sealed a match winning performance by dropping a neat goal from in front of the posts. Thereafter it was Fylde who came nearest to scoring when on at least two occasions a scrambling Hawks defence had to keep them out.
This Saturday Henley Hawks travel to Loughborough Students (kick-off 2pm).