Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Dudding proud as side pull off one of club’s best wins

HENLEY HAWKS boss Nigel Dudding believes his side remain on course to achieve their goals this season — but says

HENLEY HAWKS boss Nigel Dudding believes his side remain on course to achieve their goals this season — but says they must improve their away form.

Before the campaign, the head coach set a top-five finish as the target for his side in their first season back in National League 1.

He was delighted after the Hawks, who are currently eighth, toppled league leaders Doncaster at Dry Leas last Saturday but has warned his players they must now pick up points on the road in order to climb the table.

Dudding said: “I think the top five is still realistic if we keep doing the right things. We’re pretty delighted with the way we’re going.

“We’re yet to be beaten at home and have shown we’re a National League 1 team. We’ve now played the top four sides — the supposed best teams — so there’s no reason to suggest we can’t go higher.”

Dudding said the 11-10 win against Doncaster, the only professional outfit in the division, would go down as one of the great victories in the club’s recent history.

But he admitted he was not completely satisfied by the performance and believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

“The game on Saturday certainly exceeded our expectations in terms of the result, although having looked at the game we didn’t play that well,” he said.

“There were a number of things we weren’t happy with so will be looking to try address those things.

“They’re a fully professional side and we paid them too much respect but at critical times we played well.

“The defence was outstanding and the scrum played well. The score was 11-10 for the last 15 minutes and they missed a number of penalties. It was all hands to the pump at the end.

“Doncaster had won every game with bonus points before that so no one had held them within seven points but we beat them.

“We’re very proud of that and the feeling in the clubhouse was one of euphoria. People have been comparing it to some of the great wins we’ve had.”

Dudding believes the Hawks have managed to retain the attacking style of play that won them plaudits on their way to conquering National League 2 South last season.

New recruits were brought in during the summer but they have been encouraged to play the same passing game.

Dudding said: “We’ve held on to the same style of play and kept things going. The new players have adapted very quickly.

“You can’t fault the commitment at the moment and we’re just very pleased with how it’s going.

“We’re hoping that some of the injured players will come back in the next few weeks and that will strengthen the squad.”

More than 600 supporters turned out for the Doncaster match and Dudding is hoping to attract more people to Dry Leas throughout the season.

He said: “We’re hoping that people keep rolling down to watch the games. We’re thankful to all the people who keep supporting us. They know they will see a good game if they come down.”

Tomorrow, Henley travel to the north east to face Blaydon and Dudding wants to see his team record their first away victory of the campaign, having lost two and drawn one on their travels so far.

He said: “Blaydon are on a bit of a role and have picked up their form so we need to be on top of our game.

“We’re yet to win on the road and that’s the big motivation for us on Saturday. We just have to make sure we concentrate and get our preparation right, from travel arrangements to tactics.”

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