Sunday, 29 November 2020

Six tries ensures final spot

Henley College 38, Moulton College 21

Henley College 38, Moulton College 21

HENLEY COLLEGE won through to the final of the AASE plate competition by defeating Moulton College 38-21 at Dry Leas last Wednesday.

Having finished third in the southern pool of the AASE league, Henley were given crucial home advantage over Moulton who had finished fourth in the northern pool.

Henley started the game at a blistering pace and their direct and physical approach meant they were overpowering Moulton’s forwards in all facets of the game and spent the first 20 minutes mostly camped in the visitors’ 22 metre area.

For much of this period Moulton were able to keep Henley at bay thanks to a missed penalty attempt but mostly due to some desperate goal line defence.

When this rearguard action finally cracked Henley crossed for two tries, one a close range effort from Connor Morrisonclosely followed by a smart piece of finishing by Alex Harrison who showed a good turn of foot to break through and score under the posts but was unfortunately injured in the process.

When Moulton finally secured decent possession they showed what a dangerous side they are. Their first try was a clinical finish that started in their own half and finished with the left wing crossing untouched and running around behind the posts.

This gave the visitors a confidence boost and they produced a similar score a few minutes later, quickly moving turnover ball into the wide channel where the fullback and winger combined to race away for a second converted try and give them a 14-12 lead.

With the interval fast approaching Henley were keen to re-establish their lead and did this with some powerful drives allowing Shek Sheriff to muscle his way over on the stroke of half time, Dan Barnes conversion making the score 19-14 to Henley.

Having taken stock at half time Henley were better able to deal with the threat posed by Moulton’s outside backs and attempted to include a bit more subtlety in their attack. They achieved both of these despite having lost key players Craig Parker and Alex Harrison to injury, this was due in no small part to the impact of replacements George Hayes and Patrick Culligan.

Hayes brought the crowd to its feet with some good runs in the loose whilst Culligan played with real poise at fly half. Henley’s play was rewarded with tries for Barnes and hooker Ian Brown, with Barnes giving Henley a 33-14 lead.

The 19 point buffer at this stage of the game made it appear that the game was all but over, but the sin binning of Sheriff for a technical offence along with game ending injuries to Morrison and the influential Danny Williams allowed Moulton back into the game and they quickly took advantage with a try which was converted.

Henley put the result beyond doubt with their sixth try of the evening after good phases were rewarded with a try for Jackson Burton.

The final of the AASE plate competition sees Henley College pitted against Prince Henry GS, Leeds, at Saracens Allianz Park stadium.

The two sides met in the semi -final of the AASE championship last season, where Henley prevailed in a close encounter.

HENLEY COLLEGE won through to the final of the AASE plate competition by defeating Moulton College at Dry Leas last Wednesday.

For much of the early period Moulton were able to keep Henley at bay thanks to a missed penalty attempt but mostly due to some desperate goal line defence.

When this rearguard action finally cracked Henley crossed for two tries, one a close range effort from Connor Morrisonclosely followed by a smart piece of finishing by Alex Harrison who showed a good turn of foot to break through and score under the posts but was unfortunately injured in the process.

Moulton’s first try was a clinical finish that started in their own half and finished with the left wing crossing untouched.

This gave the visitors a confidence boost and they produced a similar score a few minutes later to give them a 14-12 lead.

With the interval fast approaching Henley re-established their lead with some powerful drives allowing Shek Sheriff to muscle his way over on the stroke of half-time, a Dan Barnes conversion putting Henley 19-14 ahead.

In the second half Barnes and hooker Ian Brown, with Barnes put Henley further ahead with well-taken tries to lead 33-14.

A sin binning of Sheriff for a technical offence along with game-ending injuries to Morrison and the influential Danny Williams allowed Moulton back into the match and they quickly took advantage with a try which was converted.

Henley put the result beyond doubt with their sixth try of the evening from Jackson Burton.

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