Sunday, 14 August 2022

Hawks slump to opening day defeat

HENLEY HAWKS started life back in Division 2 in miserable wet conditions.

HENLEY HAWKS started life back in Division 2 in miserable wet conditions.

They were slow to settle and gained little possession, conceding four penalties in the first five minutes and losing the first two line-outs due to poor co-ordination.

Redruth spent most of the time in the Hawks half during the first quarter. Their forwards had the edge and used a driving maul from a line-out to provide prop Tommy Phillips with the opportunity to touch down.

The conversion was missed but Redruth continued to put the Hawks defence under pressure and it was no surprise when fullback Brett Rule finished off another attack when he collected a kick and crossed wide for fly-half James Huxtable to convert and make the score 12-0.

The Hawks gradually took the game to the Redruth half but their retention of the ball was poor in the tackle and their indifferent handling compounded a lack of thrust in the centre.

However the Hawks got into the game scoring wise through the boot of scrum-half George Jackson who slotted two penalties. After missing his first attempt, he kicked two goals in quick succession to make it 12-6 after 25 minutes.

However, the home eight was continuing to have the better of forward play and they stretched the Reds’ lead when lock Ashley Lawton drove over for a try on winning a line-out, which they kicked after the award of a penalty.

The Hawks’ opportunity to gain the initiative in forward play was stifled when referee Calum Howard gave Hawks’ captain Dave Clements a yellow card for a ruck offence.

But they overcame this handicap when David Hyde, their outstanding forward, snapped up possession after a tapped penalty to crash over for his debut try, to make the half-time score 17-11.

After the restart, the Hawks spent much of the game in the Reds half but they again lacked penetration outside the scrum.

The Hawks conceded two penalties converted by Huxtable one of which, a scuffed attempt, made its way over the posts with help of an upright.

The first was awarded for dropping the front row of a scrum, the other, for not retreating 10 metres after the award of a penalty on the Hawks’ 10-metre line which also brought a yellow card for Brad Cook.

The Hawks then took control of possession and territory for the last quarter of the game. This period was heralded by some driving runs by prop Ziana Alexis-Mountout. After 75 minutes the forwards put in their first effective driving maul of the game and had Redruth in retreat enabling fellow prop to touch down for Jackson to add the extra points make the score 23-18.

Tha Hawks’ pre-season fitness and stamina now began to take effect. They nearly took the lead when the ball was, for the first time, moved to left wing. Dyneal Fessal appeared to have scored when diving but put his foot on the touchline in the process. For the final 10 minutes of the game the Hawks were 10 metres from the try line.

Redruth resisted all attempts to concede by heroic tackling and by a string of illegal offences which earned numerous penalties which could well have led to the award of a penalty try award by a less patient referee and led to the award of a sole yellow card in the dying minutes.

It has been said the Hawks lacked nous as far as tactics were concerned. Time and again they tried to force themselves over from rucks and avoided using a driving maul and only once moved the ball wide when Simon Perry was forced into touch.

Nevertheless many times over the years the Hawks have been glad to take points away from the Recreation Ground.

Henley Hawks: 15 James Comben, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Louis Flynn, 12 Liam O’Neill, 11 Dyneal Fessal, 10 Joe Butler, 9 George Jackson 1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Montout Ziana, 4 Dave Clements (Capt.), 5 David Hyde, 6Tom Hall, 7. Connor Morrison, 8 Julian Watkins. Replacements (all used): Zak, George Lane, Jaki Chamnanoui Jake Albon, Tommy Haynes and Simon Perry.

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