HENLEY HAWKS ended their five-match losing run as they ran out 28-14 winners away to National Division 1 basement side Hull Ionians on Saturday.
There was a bitter sweet start to the as before the kick-off they announced that their influential number eight Robbie Stapley had been withdrawn from the game because of a hand injury. Then, directly from the kick-off by the Ionians, prop Alex Penny, who has been an ever present in the side this season with consistent impressive performances, was forced to leave the field suffering a damaged rib as he attempted to deal with a loose untidy situation..
James Comben took the ball down the right and the eager Christophe Bart put clear showed his pace and determination to outwit the home cover and put them into a five point lead
Hull hit back when the referee awarded eight penalties against them in the first quarter of the gam,e three of which scrum-half Isaac Green was able to put between the posts by the 32nd minute.
Hawks were steadied by a penalty by Comben after 19 minutes, after his first attempt had been aborted by a slip caused by the muddy underfoot conditions, given for a high tackle. This gave the Hawks a 8-3 lead which was nullified by Green within five minutes to make the score 8-6. The Hawks immediately made the most of the spilling of a ball from a ruck situation by the home team . This was seized on by an alert Comben who quickly slipped the ball to Bart, near the half way line, who ran close to touch to ou pace the Ionians defence to put the Hawks 13 -6 in the lead.
Hawks conceded an unconverted try by number eight Mark Wgham close to half-time to put them one point in arrears at 13-14.
In the second half Comben kicked the visitors into a 16-14 lead 10 minutes into the second half. The Hawks were more aggressive in their attacking mode in the centre and this was well illustrated when Liam O'Neill in possession on the home side's 22 smashed a tackler backwards on a burst which created the Hawks' third try of the game.
Hawks' fourth try of the match looked to have been scored when in a well timed run from a deep position by Wells put him clean through thanks to a flat pass by skipper Martin Nutt. However, the refereek, 20 metres in arrears, declared the pass to be forward. An examination of the video of the game will confirm this was not so.
The Hawks were not to be denied a fourth try. In the last quarter of the game their scrum began to dominate in the tight and they were also able launch a driving maul over 30 metres out from the home line This drove on with the help of two backs until on the line Dai Maddocks, a recent replacement, peeled off to touch down to make the score 28-14.