Monday, 22 April 2019

Hyde dives over for late try to maintain side’s winning run

Hyde dives over for late try to maintain side’s winning run

HENLEY HAWKS would have been kicking themselves if they had not come home with the spoils from Cornwall last Saturday.

The visitors had the lion’s share of the possession and territory and dominated proceedings particularly in the first half. In the end they held their nerve to score a perfectly executed driving maul with the final play of the game with David Hyde breaking away to make the all-important lunge to the line.

The game was played in difficult conditions with a biting wind blowing down into legendary ‘hellfire corner’ and naturally the home side decided to defend the slope after winning the toss.

Henley started at a furious pace pounding the Redruth line with a series of pick and drives and some good offloading. This paid dividends when Primett crashed over after six minutes and Pietersen added the extras for the perfect 7-0 start.

However, in scoring terms, this is as good as it got for the visitors. Whilst they still continued to dominate, vital mistakes started to creep into their game. Penalties were conceded and handling errors began to accumulate and you could sense a feeling of frustration emerging as they were not making vital use of the conditions.

This allowed the home side to get back into the game and a decisive break by their scrum half, who had a good game, led to Redruth’s first try as they played a good offloading game to score midway out from the posts. The conversion into the wind proved too difficult.

Once again Henley found themselves camped in the opposition 22 only to allow the hosts relieving kicks and counter attacks from deep inside their own half when they lost the ball in contact or through basic handling errors. Henley dominated the line-outs throughout the afternoon with Lunnon and Hyde outstanding putting pressure on the hosts at every opportunity.

Right on half-time it was Redruth who got their noses ahead with a well worked try in the corner to give the hosts a 10-7 lead and the conditions very much in their favour in the second half. Henley had other ideas and a George Woods try shortly after half-time showed their fighting spirit. The young winger was put into space and some clever footwork took him outside his opposite number to stretch and dive over.

With the game evenly poised and Henley having a tight lead nerves began to tell. With a strong wind in their favour any penalty in their own half would prove costly. This showed when the hosts kicked two 40 metre penalties. Fortunately Pietersen held his nerve and clawed back three points from the boot. With the game now in the final phase Henley mounted a series of ruthless attacks and McDougall was held just short of the line.

Redruth were now under enormous pressure and the inevitable penalty conceded which was kicked into the corner. The referee indicated the last play of the game and a perfectly executed catch and drive saw Hyde dive over. Pietersen was just short with the conversion into the teeth of the wind.

There will not be many sides who achieve success at Redruth but Henley maintained their momentum at the top end of the table. The resilience shown by the side was outstanding but they know there is more to come. Dominance of territory and possession must now be turned into scores on the board but third place is a credit to this young developing squad.

Henley Hawks: Pietersen, Wood, Andre, R O’Neill, L O’Neill, Giles, Webb, Primett, Emery, Manning, Hyde, Albon, Lunnon, Hall, Bradley, Replacements all used: McDougall, Lowe, Neal, Clarke, Stobbs.

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