Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Vets roll back the years to knock Heavies off their stride

HENLEY HAWKS VETS put in a good display to defeat their illustrious Richmond Heavies opponents at Dry Leas on Saturday.

HENLEY HAWKS VETS put in a good display to defeat their illustrious Richmond Heavies opponents at Dry Leas on Saturday.

Going into the match the Hawks side had only placed once this season whilst the visitors, who play around 20 matches a season, boasted an impressive record of only having suffered one defeat in the last two seasons.

The Hawks, who had a squad of 25 players, three of whom were over 50, fought back from 14-0 down at half-time to run out 17-14 winners thanks to three second half tries.

The first half saw the Heavies dominate much of the game territory and there was some sterling defence from the Hawks, none more so than the seemingly ageless Sean Fleming and Mark Venner. James Winterbottom ruled the line-outs but this was not enough to stop Richmond scoring twice, both featuring ex Ireland centre Mel Deane either scoring or making the try possible. For the most part, Deane was well-marshalled by Pugs Hearn.

Following some tactical half-time player changes, and the instruction to get Deane out of the game at all costs, the game swung decisively in the Hawks’ favour.

The forwards started to dominate in all phases up front. After some good carries a ruck five metres out saw the ball swung left and Bill Davidson picked a line to dot down near the posts. The try was converted by scrum half Campbell.

This was swiftly followed by some more good driving work and support play from the forwards, which allowed Venner to pick up and crash over with more than one opposition player on his back.

Trailing 14-12 the Hawks could now scent victory. From 25 metres out the ball was moved wide and despite a poor pass from Simon Priestly, Andy Noyce from fullback managed to juggle the ball over his head, finally bringing it under control, before racing away to score in the corner.

The final 10 minutes saw the Hawks push for a further score to no avail.

The man-of-the-match award was given to Fleming and Winterbottom jointly.

The next Hawks Vets fixture is at Dry Leas on Wednesday, February 11 against Grove in the Oxfordshire Vets Cup. Admission to the match, which kicks off at 7.30pm, is free of charge.

Henley Hawks Vets 17, Richmond Heavies 17

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