Sunday, 29 November 2020

Winless run continues for Hawks despite extra man

HENLEY HAWKS were outscored by nine tries to seven as they slipped to their fourth successive defeat.

The game began with the visitors immediately looking to gain territory and the Hawks established a driving maul which led to flanker Tom Hall crossing over the line after five minutes.

This was converted by scrum-half George Jackson to give them a 7-0 lead.

They continued to put pressure on the home defence and this gave wing Connor Hayhow the opportunity to glide through the Raiders defence to touch down after 10 minutes’ play. This try was also converted by Jackson to put the Hawks 14 points in the lead.

The Raiders then reduced the Hawks lead to 14-10 when their strong running backs of Harrison Sims and Matt McLean had burst through a brittle Hawks defence.

At this stage the Hawks were fortunate that McLean, usually one of the best place kickers in the league, had sent both conversion attempts wide.

The Hawks were then up against 14 players when, after 27 minutes, lock Joe Spurgeon was shown a yellow card. Then, within 10 minutes of his return from the sin bin, they were again reduced to 14 players when wing Jack Haslem was given a red card for illegal use of an elbow in a tackle.

By this time the strong running McLean had also scored his second try to give his side a 15-14 lead.

The ding dong nature of the game saw defences of both sides at full stretch and scores on a tit-for-tat basis.

Marcus Lowe’s success was countered by Raiders’ prop Jide Ayayi bursting over to make the score 22-19 with a conversion by McLean who had now found his kicking boots.

The Hawks countered before half-time by a typical Jack Robinson try bustling his way over after pinning the defence close to the corner flag. Jackson was unable to improve the score but the Hawks went in at the break with a two-point lead at 24-22.

After the restart the Hawks were unable to dominate scrums despite their numerical advantage. They did get a supply of ball from their own put-ins but without being able to drive the Raiders off the ball.

Their side had the benefit of a wily scrum-half in Matt Walsh whose tactical prowess was instrumental in creating a personal converted score and a similar score for fullback Mcllwaine to give the home side a 36-24 lead.

The Hawks rallied with tries by Hayhow, their main strike runner, and a determined effort by flanker Scott White. Neither of these tries were converted and the tit-for-tat nature of the game continued with these scores being countered by replacement George Harris.

With Raiders now 41-34 in front, the Hawks swept to the line where lock David Hyde was able to break through and touch down near to the posts for Jackson to convert.

Now with the score at 41-41 with less than five minutes remaining, the odds were on for a draw. But the depleted Raiders then swept to the Hawks line and converted tries by Kiba Richards and Sims made the final score 55-41.

Henley Hawks: 15 Jack Robinson, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Liam O’Neil, 12 Will Janes, 11 Connor Hayhow, 10 Joe Butler, 9 George Jackson, 1 Dave Manning (Brad Cook 62), 2 Tom Emery (Juan Wunder 63), 3 Brad Cook (George Primett 52), 4 Dave Clements, 5 David Hyde, 6 Tom Hall (Max Berry 41), 7 Scott White, 8 Marcus Lowe.

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