Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Hawks serve up six of the best

DESPITE atrocious weather conditions, the Henley Hawks managed to score six tries away at Westcliff on Saturday.

The visitors kicked off with the wind and they immediately got into their stride with some slick handling and good ball retention.

It was a credit to the home side’s defence that they only succumbed after some 25 minutes of play.

Henley became a little frustrated as they tried to build momentum only for the game to be punctuated by several penalties.

At this stage, there was some good forward momentum led by back rowers Alex Bradley and Tom Hall who often drove deep into the opposition half with some penetrating carries. Handling was difficult in the wind and rain and Henley’s backs found continuity hard to come by. However, some excellent deep kicks by Monty Bradbury ensured that the visitors maintained their attacking edge.

A dominant scrum some 10 metres out from the hosts’ defensive line was rewarded by a try from Alex Bradley as he crashed over with a number of defenders hanging on. James Love added the extras and Henley were up and running.

The next score did not materialise until right on half-time when a trademark catch and drive from an attacking line-out was finished in style by the ever-present Tom Emery. Unfortunately, with a swirling gale Love was unable to convert and add the extras.

With only a 12-point lead and playing into a howling gale the Henley faithful were wondering if this was going to be enough.

Henley came out dominant and more direct in the second half and had secured the try bonus point after 10 minutes when Will Crow exploited a gap in the home side’s defence to go in unopposed under the posts. Love added the extras.

Very soon afterwards some slick handling saw Jack Robinson come off his wing to score wide out, a near impossible kick from the touchline was only just missed.

Henley increased the pressure in the scrum and eventually Westcliffe succumbed and Bradley was able to score his second from a well-controlled offensive scrum. Once again Love added the extras.

Henley’s replacements added extra impetus with Ollie Frostick and Henry Penrose, making his debut, continuing the scrum dominance and both driving hard into opposition territory.

In addition, Ross Lewis, who was also making his debut, ensured that the continuity continued at scrum half. Marcus Lowe added extra guile in the line-out which had been dominated by Sam Lunnon and skipper Jake Albon all afternoon.

Westcliff were awarded some consolation as a speculative kick down-field was gathered neatly by the chasing attack and scored close to the posts the conversion was successful.

But Henley had the last word as another attack saw Reuben Norville scoring wide out after a deft kick through by Jack Robinson.

Henley: Love, Robinson, Panday, Amphlett, Norville, Bradbury, Crow, Hughes, Emery, Mason, Albon (Capt), Lunnon, Hall, Bradley, Bordill. Reps Lowe, Lewis, Frostick, Penrose, White.

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