Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Hawks move east in league reshuffle

PLANNING for next season is underway for Henley Hawks campaign in the newly restructured National Division 2 East, writes Nick Pitson.

The RFU have reorganised the structure of most of the league system for the 2022/23 season including the level that the Hawks play at.

Last season, the National 2 Level was split into two divisions, north and south. Changes for this coming season include National 2 now reorganised into three divisions — west, east and north.

The three leagues are arranged geographically and it is the RFU’s intention to reduce travel time for players and travel costs for clubs. Henley Hawks will now be playing in National 2 East.

Most of the clubs in division are familiar names to Hawks supporters having been in the same league last season. All except one of the teams have featured against the Hawks in league rugby since the leagues began. The one club that the Hawks have not faced before in league action is the Kent club, Sevenoaks RFC.

There will be no more trips to the West Country in the new structure but the Hawks are confident of making a good showing in the new league.

League fixtures for the Hawks will be released in the next two weeks.

The full line-up of National Division East is as follows: Barnes, Blackheath, Bury St Edmunds, Canterbury, Dorking, Guernsey Raiders, Henley Hawks, North Walsham, Old Albanian, Rochford Hundred, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge Juddians, Westcliff and Worthing Raiders.

Training for the Hawks starts this month and they have already organised some pre-season fixtures in August, including the opportunity to play on the famous Cardiff Arms Park against Cardiff RFC on August 20.

Before then the Hawks have a triangular fixture with Camberley and Nant Conwy, North Wales, at Dry Leas on August 13. On August 25 the Hawks travel to Oxford Harlequins and then following day, on the Friday evening, they entertain Loughborough Students.

Elsewhere, Henley’s third team — Henley Vikings — following their promotion last season, will play in RFU Counties 2 BBO South alongside Abingdon, Aldermaston, Beaconsfield 2nds, Hungerford, Maidenhead 3rds, Newbury 2nds, Rams 3rds, Reading 2nds, Slough and Tadley.

Details of the league for the Henley Bulls have yet to be finalised.

Henley Hawks Women will play in RFU Championship South alongside Bath, Blackheath, Beckenham, Hove, London Irish, Old Albanian, Reading Abbey, Richmond and Thurrock.

Henley Hawks, Vikings and Women are recruiting for the new season. Full details can be found at www.henley rugbyclub.co.uk

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