HENLEY HAWKS, who got their season up and running with a 26-22 victory at Redingensians last
HENLEY HAWKS, who got their season up and running with a 26-22 victory at Redingensians last weekend, will be aiming to make it back-to-back wins in National Division 2 South when they entertain newly-promoted Exmouth at Dry Leas tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm.
Exmouth, who were promoted after a titanic battle with Barnstaple which was decided in the last few minutes of the last game of the season, are finding the highest grade they have played challenging.
To date they have yet to win any of their three games. Last week they went down 40-20 at home to London Irish Wild Geese, conceding six tries in the process.
Like the Hawks, with George Jackson, they have a reliable place kicker in fly-half George Meadows who has kicked five penalties. However, the Devon-based side seem to have problems in defence as they have conceded 121 points to date which has led to a deficit of 81.
The Hawks may also have an advantage as their current hooker, Tom Emery, joined them last season from Exmouth. With a significant knowledge of their style of game and probably familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of their squad. Emery himself made an immediate impact at Dry Leas being the coaches’ choice as player of the year.
Exmouth’s head coach Jon Hill also has a good knowledge of the environs of Dry Leas apart from the splendid new clubhouse, as a coach of Launceston who defeated the Hawks by a one point margin to get promotion to what is now the championship in 2007/8.
The Hawks themselves have not had an impressive start to the season with just one victory to date, last Saturday at neighbours Redingensians. The Hawks relied on the accurate boot of Jackson and a stronger second half performance to achieve this.
The coaching staff have approached this game with a steady as you go philosophy. The backs are changed by the return of wing Xavier Andre, after a week away, and Tom Gardner, the experienced centre who played his first game of the season in coming on as a replacement against the Rams last Saturday.
The forwards show just one change, in the back row where Idwal Davies is preferred to last week’s try scorer George Lane.
There is also a change amongst the replacements where prop George Primett is nominated for the Hawks for the first time after an impressive two-try scoring game against Esher Cardinals for the Bulls last Saturday.
The Henley Hawks line-up for tomorrow’s match is as follows: 15 James Comben, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Tom Gardner, 12 Liam O’Neill, 11 Simon Perry, 10 Joe Butler, 9 George Jackson, 1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Ziana Montout-Alexis, 4 Dave Clements, 5 David Hyde, 6 Iwan Davies, 7 Tom Hall, 8 Jake Albon. Replacements: 16 Stuart Philpott, 17 George Primett, 18 Charlie Davey, 19 George Lane, 20 Louis Flynn.
Elsewhere tomorrow Henley Bulls entertain Ampthill 2nds, Henley Bears travel to Redingensians 5ths and Henley Vultures entertain Olney Vets. Henley Vikings are without a fixture this weekend.
Henley Hawks Women, who lost out 37-0 at home to Cheltenham Ladies last weekend, travel to Trojans Ladies on Sunday.