Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sports review of the year 2015

HENLEY HAWKS, who went into the new year top of National Division 2 South, continued their fine form

HENLEY HAWKS, who went into the new year top of National Division 2 South, continued their fine form with four wins to remain top of the table.

Dry Leas was a happy hunting ground for the Hawks as they ran in eight tries as they defeated Lydney 50-5, narrowly beat Launceston 29-28 and defeated Clifton 32-17. Elsewhere in the month the Hawks went down to a narrow 18-17 defeat at Southend Saxons while winning 32-27 at Cambridge.

Meanwhile Abbey continued their 100 per cent record in the South West Division Berks, Bucks and Oxon Premier Division with victories against Hungerford and Phoenix.

Former England player Mike Catt OBE led an hour-long coaching session for pupils at Shiplake College.

The 43-year-old, who retired from the sport at international level in 2007, was helped by England flanker and London Wasps captain James Haskell.



The pair put several dozen year nine boys through a series of games and exercises to improve their teamwork, passing and tackling skills.

Elsewhere a player from Henley was snapped up by Premiership side Exeter Chiefs.

Alec Hepburn, who attended Gillotts School and The Henley College, signed for the Sandy Park club.

The Australian-born 21-year-old left London Wasps at the end of last season and had been playing for Perth Spirit in his home country before Exeter approached him.

Hepburn, who lived in Damer Gardens, came throughThe Henley College’s Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence programme before signing for Wasps.

He was loaned out to Henley Hawks during the 2011/12 season and also spent a season at London Welsh in Oxford.

In 2013 he won the junior World Cup in France as part of the England U20 side.

In football the adverse weather conditions once again led to postponements throughout all divisions locally.

Of the matches played Henley Town made progress in the Reading Senior Cup as they won 7-3 away to Frilsham and Yattendon. In the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East, Henley beat Headington Amateurs 5-2 while they also drew 1-1 at Brackley Town Development, a result that knocked the hosts off the top of the table. The Red Kites ended the month in sixth place.

Reading manager Steve Clarke started his first full month in charge of the club with three wins, two draws and a defeat.

The first match of the year saw the Royals progress in the FA Cup after winning away at Huddersfield Town and later in the month at Cardiff City.

In the Championship the Royals beat Sheffield Wednesday and drew with Middlesbrough and Millwall while losing to Fulham.

In hockey Henley men’s first team hit top spot in the South League’s Premier Division as they won 5-3 at Tulse Hill and Dulwich. The amber and blues then went on to thrash Barnes 1sts 10-1 at Jubilee Park, beat Eastbourne 3-1 away before ending the month with a 3-1 derby win at Marlow.

Henley Ladies 1sts lost their only match played in the month to Spencer 1sts.

THE weather caused further postponement for Henley Town in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East. Of the matches played the Red Kites won 4-0 at Chalfont Wasps whiles losing 3-0 at Woodley Town. In the Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup, a Brett Rann goal in extra time ensured the Red Kites progressed to the next round of the competition as they won 4-3 at home to Stokenchurch.

Elsewhere at the Triangle, Henley Town’s reserve team, who had been struggling to field a regular side, withdrew from Division 2 East.

Reading continued to make progress in the FA Cup as they won 2-1 away to Derby County in the fifth round of the competition.

In the league the Royals had mixed fortunes with victories against Wolves and Ipswich whilst suffering defeats against Leeds, Wigan, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest.

Henley Hawks maintained top spot in National Division 2 South after picking up victories against Old Elthamians (23-18 away), Canterbury (39-24 home) and Taunton Titans (34-18 away).

Abbey kept up their promotion charges with wins against Wheatley, Slough and Swindon College Old Boys to maintain their 100 per cent record.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup came to Henley Rugby Club as part of a national tour.

The Hawks’ women’s team were photographed with the trophy before their annual friendly against the RAF women’s rugby squad. Former Henley players Tamara Taylor, Rochelle Clark, Danielle Waterman and Rachael Burford were part of the England squad that won it last year.

Taylor and Clark are now members of England’s Six Nations women’s rugby team, of which Taylor is captain.

An Upper Thames Masters women athlete set a new record at the British Indoor Rowing Championships held at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

Helen Mangan raced in the lightweight (under 60kg) 55 to 59 category winning in a time of seven minutes, 41.5 seconds to secure a gold medal and set a new British record.

Meanwhile two other Upper Thames athletes picked up silver medals. Louise Wymer came second in the 40 to 49 heavyweight category in a time of seven minutes, 18 seconds while Judith Burne was runner-up in the lightweight 50-54 category in a time of seven minutes, 46.6 seconds. Henley’s Debbie Flood, competing for Leander, won the open heavyweight category in a time of six minutes, 43.3 seconds.

Upper Thames secured six wins and hosts Henley Rowing Club five at the annual Henley Fours and Eights Head.

In hockey Henley men remained top of Division 2 of the South Premier League thanks to a 4-3 win at Horsham, 7-3 win against Middlesex side Ashford, 3-3 draw at Tunbridge Wells and 3-2 home win against Trojans.

Elsewhere Investec Women’s Trophy, holders Henley made it thrugh to the last four thanks to a 2-1 home win against North Notts.

In the league Henley Ladies beat Folkstone whilst losing out to Oxford 1sts.

HENLEY HAWKS wrapped up the National League 2 South title with a record three games to spare.

Hawks, who have topped the table since September, beat Shelford 66-17 to confirm their promotion as champions.

Earlier in the month the Hawks had drawn 34-34 at home to Bishop’s Stortford and beat Redruth 28-13 away.

Intermediate Cup holders Henley Hawks Women secured a place in the final with a 26-12 home win against Loughborough Ladies.

Abbey wrapped up the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Premier Division title with a 100 per cent record. The Rose Hill side won 45-7 to wrap up promotion at Chipping Norton before securing the title with a 75-5 home win against Chesham. Earlier in the month the unbeaten side beat Abingdon

In football Reading secured a place in the semi-final of the FA Cup for only the second time in the club’s history after beating Bradford City 3-0 at Madejski Stadium in the quarter final replay. The sides drew 0-0 at Valley Parade earlier in the month.

In the Championship Reading beat Brighton and Hove Albion, drew with Bolton Wanderers and lost to Watford and Charlton Athletic.

Meanwhile Henley Town ended the month in seventh place in Division 1 East of the Hellenic League. During the month the Red Kites beat Penn and Tylers Green 6-2 whilst losing 4-3 against Finchampstead.

In the Reading Senior Cup Henley Town progressed to the semi-final after a Grant Kemp goal proved decisive in their quarter-final tie at Hurst.

Former Premier League stars and a sitcom actor were among those who played in a charity football match in Hambleden.

A Tottenham Hotspur “legends” side, featuring former England midfielder Darren Anderton and UEFA Cup winner Mark Falco, took on a Hambleden FC XI last Sunday to help raise money for the club.

Hundreds of people flocked to the club’s pitch at The Dene for the game, which finished 5-2 to Spurs. Hambleden played a different side for each half of the match, with players paying up to £1,500 to take part.

In hockey Henley men’s first clinched from from Premier Division 2 of the South League after defeating Tulse Hill and Dulwich 2-1. Earlier in the month the amber and blues lost their first game of the season as they went down 6-0 to county rivals Banbury. Elsewhere in the month Henley beat London Edwardians 5-4. Henley missed out on the title as they lost their final match of the season 5-1 at West Hampstead 1sts.

In rowing five Leander crews competed in the Head of the River Race, where the club’s first crew won the overall head title and all five finished in the top 20.

A GOALKEEPING mistake by Adam Federici in extra time caused FA Cup semi-final heartache for Reading against Arsenal. Alexis Sanchez had given the Gunners a first half lead before Garath McCleary equalised in the second half. With the game going into extra time a Sanchez shot managed to squirm its way under the Australian shot-stopper for the decisive goal on 105 minutes.

In the league the Royals suffered a disappointing month with draws against Cardiff, Blackpool and Blackburn and defeats against Bournemouth, Birmingham, Brentford and Rotherham.

Henley Town beat Old Woodstock Town and Easington Sports, drew with Didcot Town Reserves and Burnham Reserves before losing to champions Wokingham and Emmbrook on the final day of their Hellenic League Division 1 East campaign. In the Hellenic Supplementary Cup the Red Kites were knocked at home to Lydney Town after beating Chinnor in the previous round while in the Reading Senior Cup Henley missed out on a place in the final after going down 4-0 at home to Binfield. A coach from AFC Henley was awarded his UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence. Andy McIntosh, of St Mark’s Road, joined an elite group of about 1,500 people in the UK.

In rugby, National Division 2 South champions Henley Hawks won 38-22 at Dings Crusaders before ending their campaign with back-to-back home defeats against Worthing (28-22) and Dorking (41-34).

Badgemore Park golfer Millie Anderson became one of the youngest golfers to win the Oxfordshire Ladies’ County Championship.

It was the third time 18-year-old Anderson had played in the event which this year was played at The Wychwood Golf Club in north Oxfordshire.

The event was played over three days, the first day being a 36-hole medal from which the top eight players progress to the match play stages.

In the final Anderson’s long hitting and good short game enabled her to take a three up lead after nine holes and she eventually closed the match out five and three against Maggie Findlay from Oxford Ladies’ Golf Club.

Trinity Hall wrapped up the Henley and District League title with a 5-5 draw at home to Harpsden on the final day of the season.

REIGNING Home Counties Premier League Division 1 champions Henley got their new campaign off to a flying start as they won all their opening month’s matches.

The Brakspear Ground side started their campaign with an eight wicket victory at home to Reading followed by a narrow win at Slough. Back on on their home wicket Henley beat Horspath in which opener Michael Roberts made a club-record score of 155 before ending the month with victory at Banbury.

In the Thames Valley League Kidmore End lost their opening game to Windsor. The Gallowstree Common side followed this up with victories against British Airways, Maidenhead and Bray and Harefield 2nds to end the month in third place.

Peppard Stoke Row batsman Andy Watts became the Wintech Berkshire Cricket League’s all-time top runscorer after breaking the record on the opening day of the new season. The opening batsman surpassed John Marston’s tally of 11,499 runs when he reached 45 during an innings of 60 against Mortimer West End.

Elsewhere in the league Manpreet Singh hit an undefeated 164 runs as Checkendon were held to a draw against local rivals Peppard Stoke Row 2nds.

In the Chilterns League Harpsden, playing league cricket for the first time, ended the month with a 100 per cent record as they won all three of their matches against Pinner, Chalfont St Giles and Littlewick Green.

In football Reading ended their Championship campaign with a 3-0 victory away at Derby County, a result that meant the Rams missed out on the end of season play-offs.

Wargrave Runners Alistair Palmer took the honours at the Ridge Off-Roader 10km race. Palmer completed the course in Bledlow Ridge in a time of 39 minutes, 46 seconds to secure top spot. Meanwhile Trinity Primary School secured gold at the Sainsbury’s Youth Spring Games at Tilsley Park in Abingdon.

Having won three of the four categories at the regional qualifier in February the Henley-based school took 18 pupils to compete in the cross country competition. In all Trinity won the individual gold for year six, gold for year three and four boy boys, joint silver with Valley Road for the year five and six boys and bronze for the year three and four girls.

The new-look GB men’s four struck gold to help Britain top the medal table at the European Championships in Poland.

Leander’s Tom Ransley and Al Sinclair teamed up with Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell from University of London and Scott Durant from Oxford Brookes to continue their country’s dominance of this event. They led from start to finish, with Greece in silver and Belarus taking bronze.

Leander’s third gold medallist was Matt Langridge, who teamed up with Molesey’s James Foad to claim the title in men’s pairs. Last year the duo finished second to New Zealand at the World Championships but this time it was France who made the going tough in the closing stages.

Fourteen Leander athletes returned with medals, as part of the total GB team tally of six gold, two silver and two bronze. Significantly four of the gold medals came in Olympic-class events.

There was a silver medal for the promising lightweight men’s double scull combination in which Leander athletes Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher teamed up to take second place to the outstanding 2014 crew from France, now twice European champions.

The world champion GB men’s eight, with six Leander men on board, also had to be content with silver behind their arch-rivals Germany, but they held off Russia in the last stages of the race. After a disappointing heat the GB crew had to qualify through the repechages.

In the men’s quad Leander’s Jack Beaumont was a late sub for the injured Charles Cousins, in the crew that was otherwise unchanged from last year’s world championships. Together with Sam Townsend of Reading University and Graeme Thomas of Agecroft, with Leander’s Pete Lambert at stroke, the quad battled grimly to take the bronze medal.

The second bronze medal for GB came in the women’s double scull, where Olympic champion Katherine Grain-ger, of St Andrew, formed a new partnership with Vicky Thornley of Leander.

Upper Thames won two gold medals a silver and bronze in the two-day Ghent International Regatta. The men’s coxed four won the title for the third year in succession, beating off a strong challenge from Oxford Brookes University and Amsterdam University’s Proteus Club.

Elsewhere Henley Rowing Club won six golds, a silver and bronze as they topped the medal table for the second successive year at the National Schools Regatta in Nottingham.

GOLD medals for the men’s eight and quad were the highlights of the World Cup in Italy, where GB once again topped the medal table. Eighteen Leander athletes finished on the podium, with nine winning gold, one silver and eight bronze.

The tally marked a step up for the team from the European Championships three weeks earlier and bodes well for the World Championships in August, where GB hopes to qualify as many boats as possible for the Rio Olympics.

The men’s eight, stroked by Will Satch, provided a spectacular finale on Lake Varese by taking gold in beating the Olympic champions, Germany, and overturning the result from the Europeans.

Germany won three successive world titles before taking first place at London 2012, but GB’s world championship win in 2013 not only upset the established form, it also marked the first occasion Britain had ever won gold in the event.

Henley Rowing Club won three trophies at this year’s 28th annual Henley Women’s Regatta.

The event, which took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday last week, enjoyed a record number of entries with 1,800 athletes across 426 crews from nine countries taking part.

This was a significant increase on the 1,600 athletes and 373 crews who entered last year.

It was also the regatta’s largest ever overseas entry, with competitors flying in from the USA, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Australia and New Zealand and Israel.

In cricket Henley ended the month 39 points clear at the top of the Home Counties Premier League.

The Brakspear Ground side started the month with victory at home to Harefield followed up with wins at Tring Park and Burnham before beating Oxford at home.

In the Thames Valley League Kidmore End drew with Chesham and Tring Park 2nds and beat Finchampstead 2nds to end the month in third place in Division 2A.

Elsewhere in the legaue Kidmore End 2nds took 7-79 but was unable to save his side from defeat against Eastcote 4ths.

Harpsden remained top of Division 3 in the Chilterns League having won all their matches.



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