HENLEY HAWKS ran in five tries to keep their unbeaten record intact and in the process earned a bonus point for the third consecutive match at Dry Leas on Saturday.
When the hosts opened the scoring with a try by lively scrum-half Connor Murphy after just two minutes, plus a conversion by Will Robinson to go 7-0 up, the Henley faithful had visions of a repeat of the 87-point trouncing that they gave the seasiders when the two sides last met two years ago. However, this was not to be repeated although they were well on top for the first 20 minutes.
The hosts moved the ball with a swift service from a dominant scrum through scrum-half Murphy and lightning distribution by Robinson.
It was the forwards that were the source of two further tries in the first 25 minutes. Lock Matt Payne had already created the opportunity for Murphy to open the scoring by peeling away from a line-out within 10 metres of the Southend line. He and the pack created the second try with a controlled drive down the right and he finished the move off to make the score 12-0 after 12 minutes. Robinson’s conversion attempt was deflected off an upright. At this stage of the game the Hawks were well in control of the set scrums putting the Southend eight in retreat more often than not.
With this advantage Robinson was able to launch an attack after a set scrum but this did not lead to a score as the movement broke down when a subsequent pass went astray. Another forward 30 metre drive led to flanker Andy Newman forcing his way over for a try which Robinson converted.