FLY HALF Will Robinson scored 21 points as Henley Hawks came away from Bournemouth with a bonus point to maintain
FLY HALF Will Robinson scored 21 points as Henley Hawks came away from Bournemouth with a bonus point to maintain their challenge for promotion to National League 1 last Saturday in a match that ebbed and flowed.
For the first 30 minutes the Hawks constantly tested the home defences who found it difficult to cope with the running of locks Josh McNally and Dave Clements who moved the ball wide to their backs through Will Robinson.
Robinson opened the Hawks account with a penalty from in front of the posts after nine minutes. Wing Xavier Andre proved a thorn in the home defence and from excursions down the right the ever present Robbie Stapley was on hand to finish a move and touch down a try for Will Robinson to convert.
Both sides then got into deep water when an altercation led to Milford Scott the Hawks prop and Lions lock Callum Forrest being despatched to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
The Hawks were enjoying the firmer ground underfoot and it was no surprise when Richard Briggs finished off an attack which featured a burst by fullback Martin Nutt to make the score 17-3, Bournemouth having opened their scoring with a penalty two minutes earlier.
The visitors were not protecting possession with care as a loose ball was seized upon by Lions flanker James Bovett, who with a turn of speed gathered a dropped ball to race 75 metres to score. With Pollard’s conversion the Hawks lead was reduced to 17-8.
This galvanised the Hawks into action and Briggs was on hand to finish a 50-metre move. Soon after scrum half Jonah Holmes backed an Xavier Andre 40-metre surge and off-loaded for flanker Will Woodward to touch down the first of a brace of tries. With Robinson converting both of these scores the Hawks appeared to be home and dry with a 31-8 lead.
With less than 10 minutes of the half remaining the tide turned as first centre Scott Chislett took advantage of a turnover to score a try which was converted by Pollard before winger Jaryd Robinson could not be stopped by a static Hawks defence as the hosts reduced the arrears to 31-20.
The Hawks started the second half strongly and from a driving maul Stapley prevailed to complete his brace of tries to take his total for the season to 11.
Hawks then surrendered the initiative as Bournemouth showed that with good possession they could move the ball wide and use the speed of Jaryd Robinson to cause problems to the visitors’ cover which melted away when caught out of position.
The Hawks conceded two penalties by Pollard in defence of their line and were up against it when centre Scott Chislet crossed for a try which with Pollard’s conversion made the score 36-33.
The Hawks steadied the situation thanks to two penalties by Robinson as over-enthusiasm at set scrums by scrum half Sam Veneriso led him to be offside when blocking Hawks’ replacement scrum half Luke Carter’s passes. The Hawks dominated the last 10 minutes of the match. Helped by the dismissal of Lions’ flanker Riad Lynch to the sin bin, clearance kicks by Robinson kept the Lions at bay with good work by the forwards with Stapley to the fore aided by an incisive run by Jevon Marsh on his debut. Tries by Carter and the second of the game by Woodward saw the Hawks to a safe margin with the help of two more conversions by Will Robinson.
With Chinnor defeating Redruth the Hawks are now inching into a play-off position for promotion but they will need to be more consistent in the important games ahead.
Henley Hawks: 15 Martin Nutt, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Danny Wells, 12 Tom Allen (Jevon Marsh, 74 mins), 11 Richard Briggs (Luke Carter, 46 mins), 10 Will Robinson, 9 Johan Holmes, 1 Hugo Millfod Scott (Dave Manning, 55 mins), 16 Dai Maddocks, (Milford Scott, 62 mins), 3 James Hadfield (Nathan Morris), 4 Dave Clements, 5 Josh McNally (Ben Ashmore, 69 mins), 6 Liam Dwyer, 7 Will Woodward, 8 Robbie Stapley.