HENLEY HAWKS were under no illusions about the task that they faced away at Priory Lane in the first game of 2014 against second in the league Rosslyn Park, writes Noel Armstead.
The difficulties they had in playing one of the strongest teams in the league were increased by the weather conditions. A heavy sodden pitch favoured the big Park pack and although there was respite from the rain during game time the Hawks could not use their favoured open game in such conditions.
The teams had drawn 6-6 in their previous meeting at Dry Leas back in September but under the conditions for this game the Hawks could not match the strength of the Park pack which was the best they had met to date.
The Hawks found it hard to get a base for their attacking game. The line-outs were dominated by the big Park pack and such was the size of their replacements that this did not alter the advantage the home side had when they were used in the closing stages of the game.
The set scrums, which for most of the season have been one of the Hawks’ strengths, were under pressure and Robbie Stapley at number eight and his colleagues in the back row did well to retain possession whilst on the retreat.