Sunday, 29 November 2020

Fullback set to make first start of season at Barnes

HENLEY HAWKS, buoyed by two successive National Division 2 South wins, travel to London tomorrow

HENLEY HAWKS, buoyed by two successive National Division 2 South wins, travel to London tomorrow (Saturday) to take on Barnes (kick-off 3pm).

The Hawks have a 100 per cent record against the Thames-side team who they have not played for three years. This is the third game out of four the Hawks have had against teams that have yet to win a game this season.

Barnes have earned three bonus points — two for narrow defeats at the hands of Bishop’s Stortford (home, 13-20), and Worthing (away, 17-20), plus one scoring four tries at home to league leaders Taunton Titans. This was their best result to date for although they lost 35-27 they shook the table toppers when they led by 10 points, scoring two tries in the first quarter of the game.

The Hawks have made several changes ahead of the fixture. New Zealand prop Barnaby Abdel Weir played for the Bulls last week and will strengthen the all-round cover for the front row while Alan Awcock plays his first game of the season. His ability to play in any position in the backs, bar scrum-half, gives flexibility and for this game he takes over at fullback from James Comben.

There is also a newcomer at centre in Connor Hayhow who impressed when playing for the Bulls last week. Hayhow was at London Irish last season where he played alongside Connor Murphy, the Hawks’ first choice scrum-half, when released by London Irish. The tall player should make an impact standing over 6ft.

The changes in the pack concern the front row where apart from Ziana Montout-Alexis, who retains his place, the other two positions are taken by Stuart Philpott as hooker and Barnaby Abdale-Weir at tight head.

Philpott, the former Nottingham front rower, takes over from Tom Emery and Abdale-Weir from Brad Cook, a regular at Bury St Edmunds last year, who will be the Hawks’ opponents at Dry Leas the following week. Abdale-Weir makes his debut after playing for the Bulls last week.

The Hawks line-up for tomorrow’s match is as follows: 15 Alan Awcock, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Tom Gardner, 12 Connor Hayhow, 11 Liam O’Neill, 10 Joe Butler, 9 George Jackson, 1 Ziani Monttout-Alexis, 2 Stuart Philpott, 3 Barnaby Abdale-Weir, 4 Dave Clements, 5 David Hyde, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Idwal Davies, 8 Jake Albon. Replacements: 16 Brad Cook, 17 Tom Emery, 18 George Lane, 20 Simon Perry.

Elsewhere tomorrow Henley Bulls will also be heading to the capital where they will face Barnes 2nds while Henley Vikings travel to Beaconsfield 2nds. Henley Bears are without a fixture. The Henley Vets side, the Vultures, will be competing in a tournament in Jersey.

Henley Hawks Women, who lost out 58-8 at Trojans Ladies last Sunday, are without a fixture this weekend.

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