Sunday, 14 August 2022

Centre Eastwell returns for visit of lowly Canterbury

HENLEY HAWKS continue their Division 2 South promotion push tomorrow (Saturday) when they entertain relegation-threatened Canterbury at Dry Leas (kick-off

HENLEY HAWKS continue their Division 2 South promotion push tomorrow (Saturday) when they entertain relegation-threatened Canterbury at Dry Leas (kick-off 3pm).

Hawks’ head coach Pete Davies has made several changes in the back division, featuring a different centre combination with George Eastwell, who has been on loan to Wasps, returning to partner the versatile Tom Allen who was not available last week. Ed Yarnton features at fullback as a result, a position he is accustomed to.

Jake Randall moves to the left wing in place of Lloyd Owen who is named as a replacement.

After featuring in each game of the season to date - only once as a replacement - skipper Dave Clements is given a breather on the bench with the experienced Matt Payne acting as captain from the number six slot as Gus Jones is not available.

Jake O’Leary, previously a replacement who has scored a couple of tries, will start in the second row alongside Will Woodward. Clements will feature in a strong bench which includes hooker/prop George Edgson returning from duty with Wasps.

Piers O’Conor and prop Tom West could not be considered as both have been selected for the England U20 side who play Italy this weekend.

O’Conor made his debut against Wales last Saturday but West, selected as a replacement having just turned 18, will be hoping to earn his first cap. Both are on a dual registration basis with Wasps.

Canterbury find themselves in 12th place having won just eight of their 22 games played and have a scoring deficit of 105 points. The Hawks had a remarkable victory when they played Canterbury on their home ground on November 1. They had a poor start to the game and after 25 minutes were trailing 26-0. The Hawks recovered a little to trail 26-8 at the interval. In the second half the Hawks turned the game around and eventually won 30-29 thanks to a try from a driving maul with two minutes of play remaining.

Second half recoveries have been a feature of the sequence of victories which has kept the Hawks at the top of the league. On six occasions they have fallen behind in the first half but have turned the games round in the second which is a tribute to the side’s fitness, stamina and tenacity.

Despite their current league position Canterbury, in common with other teams in the lower regions of the league, are now in the best form they have shown all season. Four of their eight wins to date have come since the turn of the year, three of these against sides that currently lie in the top half of the table, namely Taunton, Bishop’s Stortford and Redruth.

A major contributor to their scoring is wing Mason Rossvail with 14 tries to date.

The Henley Hawks line-up is as follows, 15 Ed Yarnton, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Tom Allen, 12 George Eastwell, 11 Jake Randall, 10 James Comben, 9 Connor Murphy, 1 Hugo Milford-Scott, 2 Stuart Phillpott, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Will Woodward, 5 Jake O’Leary, 6 Matt Payne, 7 Oskar Hirskyj-Dougal, 8 Robbie Stapley. Replacements, 16 Jimmy Litchfield, 17 George Edgson, 18 Dave Clements, 19 Lloyd Owen, 20 Fred Pierrepoint.

Elsewhere tomorrow Henley Bulls travel to Oxford Harlequins in county cup. The side selected for the match is as follows,

Harry Jackson, 2 Ed Church, 3 Sam Beckett, 4 Theo Vukasinovic, 5 Sam Middleton, 6 Rob Wright, 7 Tommy Haynes, 8 Samir Kabouch, 9 Spencer Goggin, 10 Adam Lubbock, 11 Patrick George, 12 Si Perry, 13 Tom Gardner, 14 Matt Dickens, 15 Conor Corrigan. Replacements, 16 Luke Watts, 17 Tim Coghlan, 18 Rory McMeekan, 19 Ross Lewis, 20 Mark Bruce/Jack Broughton.

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