Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Smith and Baker in fine form as side win derby clash

HENLEY HAWKS U13s maintained their unbeaten start to the year as they saw off county rivals Wallingford in two matches by a combined score of nine tries to one at Dry Leas on Sunday.

The Henley squad of 21 players completed the double having beaten Wallingford at their ground earlier in the season.

With three of the U13s squad playing up an age group for the Hawks U14s in their semi-final match against Chipping Norton, and having lost a few other key players during the week, every Henley player knew they would have to be at their best given the talent and depth of the Wallingford squad who bought 28 players over.

Henley started the first game at pace, and following a good run up field from Hunter Rey on the right wing, scrum half Ollie Johnson sensed his opportunity and darted over from the base of a ruck to open the scoring.

Having secured the restart, hard-working forwards Louis Wilson, Olly Goforth and Archie Stickley provided quick ball for captain Will Corbett to score from the halfway line.

Wallingford regathered, and it took some good defence marshalled by Ashton Ilinic to withstand the inevitable fight back deep in Hawks territory. Henley held out, and strong counter rucking forced a mistake which Seb Bourne pounced on to run the length of the pitch to score.

The Hawks continued into the second half with more good team play. With forwards Max Cranstoun and Oscar Thomas at their best, Johnson was able to feed the backs with quick ball and Tom Yeoman showed his quality to skip over for the team’s fourth score.

The try of the day was scored by winger Charlie Baker, who latched on to some outstanding passing between Bourne and Will O’Hagan to charge over. Flying winger Finn Hawkes finished off the game with a score in the other corner to secure a comfortable 6-0 win.

Maintaining such high standards going into a second game against fresh opponents was always going to be difficult, and Wallingford scored a well-worked try early in the first half.

The Hawks regrouped and Toby Shemilt and Jake Jackson injected some much needed power and commitment back into a tiring forwards pack. With a solid platform re-established, the backs were able to showcase their skills and Ben Horner and Corbett showed some quality touches to release fullback Charlie Ashford into space to run in a well-worked try.

Number eight Ilinic then forced his way over to score from close range following some hard work up front from Jonny Noctor and Jackson. As the game drew to a close the game became more open, but the defence stayed strong with Horner and rampaging flanker Laurence Walker putting in some crucial tackles. It was left to speedster Hawkes to finish off the game with another fine run and score to complete his brace for the day and a 3-1 victory.

Player of the day awards were given to prop Tom Smith and Charlie Baker.

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