MATCHES have often been described as games of two halves. This is certainly an appropriate description
MATCHES have often been described as games of two halves. This is certainly an appropriate description of the game which the Hawks played at Cardiff against Welsh Division 1 side Cardiff Metropolitan University on Saturday.
A strong blustery westerly wind raged for the whole of the game accompanied frequently by a series of heavy squally showers which resulted in the team with the elements in their favour dominating the game
The Hawks had the benefit of the conditions in the first half. They used them to keep the home side pinned in their own half for the majority of the first 40 minutes with huge clearance kicks backed by a dominant set scrum. They did not have the same authority in the line outs in part due to blustery conditions.
After 10 minutes scrum-half George Jackson, supported by his back row, took play into the hosts’ 22 and the alert Andre Xavier came across from the right wing to squeeze over the Cardiff line left of the posts. The Hawks led by seven points thanks to a well controlled conversion, given the conditions, by Jackson.
The University used the limited possession they obtained to handle the ball with some authority but came up against some strong and efficient tackling, particularly in the centre from Tom Gardner.
The Hawks, for their part, were stymied in attack by the Metropolitan until a few minutes before the closure of the first half Jackson gave his half-back partner Joe Butler some pace 40 metres out. With a flick of the hips he broke away and aware of a gap in the University’s cover used his pace to offload to Tom Hall to touch down near the posts for Jackson again able to make a conversion to put the Hawks 14-0 up at half-time.
Henley fielded their alternative team for the second half. They were now having to face the brutish weather conditions and a University side much changed but still including one or two key players particularly at fly-half and at centre.
The visitors found it difficult to get worthwhile possession in their opponents’ half for any period of time. Henley defended well but the more their defence was put under pressure they began to leak penalties.
The result was that tries were conceded, four in all, at regular intervals despite a defence which showed the benefit of pre-season fitness sessions. Three were converted to make the score 29-14 to the hosts when the last kick of the game came in the form of a penalty from close to half-way.
Henley Hawks (first half): 1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Mountant Alexis, 4 Dave Clements, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Tom Haynes/George Lane, 7 Tom Hall, 8 Julian Watkins, 9 George Jackson, 10 Joe Butler, 11 Dyen Fessal, 12 Alan Awcock, 13 Tom Garner/Louis Flynn, 14 Andre Xavier, 15 James Comben; (second half) 1 George Premitt/Jim Hadfield, 2 Jamie Cox, 3 Mountant Alexis/Zaki Chamboui/George Premitt, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Charlie Davey, 6 Tommy Haynes, 7 George Lane, 8 Scott White, 9 Liam Eaton, 10 James Steventon-Wright, 11 Ross Lewis, 12 Simon Perry, 13 Tom Gardner/Louis Flynn, 14 Steffan Jones, 15 Luke Govier.