Friday, 04 December 2020

Hawks press on with promotion push

HENLEY HAWKS increased their lead at the top of National Division 2 South to 10 points as they completed the double over Canterbury at Dry Leas last Saturday.

HENLEY HAWKS increased their lead at the top of National Division 2 South to 10 points as they completed the double over Canterbury at Dry Leas last Saturday.

These two sides shared 59 points at the beginning of November at Canterbury when the Hawks can out winners by one point on the stroke of full time.

This game again produced a hatful of points but once again the Hawks strength and fitness in the final quarter of the game saw them through this time to a slightly more comfortable victory against a side that challenged through the running of their backs, particularly left wing Mason Raseval.

It was again the powerful play of the Hawks' forwards that was the decisive factor. In Robbie Stapley they had the man-of-the-match who was particularly successful in turning over Canterbury's possession and this was supported by the finishing ability of the backs in scoring three tries of five with tireless work by scrum-half Connor Murphy and the distribution of half back partner James Comben.

The game started with an avalanche of points as after nine minutes the score stood at 10-10. Rarely have the Hawks been so quickly on the scoreboard as they controlled the ball from the kick-off. The pack were in control and drove over the Canterbury line for lock Will Woodward to secure a touch down close to the posts for scrum-half Connor Murphy to kick the conversion with ease within two minutes.

From the restart Canterbury swept down the left and putting wing Mason Rosvall in possession he swept away through the Hawks cover to score a try which fly-half Tom Best converted to make the score 7-7.

The ding-dong nature of the opening exchanges continued when Murphy converted a straight forward penalty for offside for Best to have the opportunity to do the same to make the score 10-10 after just nine minutes.

In a free-flowing game lost possession could be capitalised on. The Hawks made the most of a dropped pass by the visitors to move the ball to the swift running Lloyd Owen for the winger to outpace the fragmented cover with Murphy again adding the points for the conversion to which he added his second penalty to make the score 20-10 at half-time.

At the start of the second half with the Hawks showed increasing confidence to move the ball through the eager han.ds of both forwards and backs Moving the ball from left to right wing Jake Randall stepped inside a tackle to score a well executed try which again Murphy converted to make the score 27-10.

Canterbury counter attacked and with the Hawks under pressure prop Hugo Milford-Scott was given a yellow card. This changed the nature of the game although the Hawks dealt with the absence of one of their players with fortitude refusing the opposition to dominate. They had few opportunities to press for another score after Canterbury fullback Martin Beaumont had used a strong finishing burst to score under the posts to reduce the Hawks lead to 27-17.

Mosvale finished off a break by Best to score fairly close to the posts for Best to reduce the Hawks lead to 27-24.

It was then the Hawks exercised their maturity of keeping control possession through their forwards driving mauls. They were put on the front foot by a powerful defence splitting run by fullback Ed Yarnton of 60 metres which was not finished with a score as a pass failed to connect with to the ubiquitous Oskar Hirstyj-Douglas.

After 62 minutes George Eastwell used his running skills to touch down under the posts for Murphy to bring his total points for the game to 14.

The Hawks were able to complete their scoring through what is now becoming a trade mark try by a controlled mauling drive conceived with patience which was finished off by prop Jimmy Lichfield who touched down his seventh try of the season.

Henley Hawks: 15 Ed Yarnton, 14 Lloyd Owen , 13 Tom Allen, 12 George Eastwell, 11 Jake Randall (Simon Perry, 72 mins), 10 James Comben (Fred Pierrepoint, 70 mins), 9 Connor Murphy, 1 Hugo Milford-Scott (Jimmy Litchfield 45 mins), 2 Sturt Phillpott (George Edgson, 72 mins), 3 Dave Manning, 4 Will Woodward (Dave Clements 60) 5 Jake O'Leary, 6 Matt Payne, 7 Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas 8 Robbie Stapley.

Henley Hawks 39, Canterbury 24

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