Thursday, 11 August 2022

Henley sides return from county tournaments laden with silverware

AFTER an uncertain start to the Oxford County Championship which saw the Henley U10 Tigers lose

AFTER an uncertain start to the Oxford County Championship which saw the Henley U10 Tigers lose narrowly to Oxford Harlequins, the side didn’t look back as they went on to win the title.

The combination of tireless close quarter work, inventive link play and speed out wide resulted in a hard fought draw against Chinnor followed by a narrow win against Banbury in the semi-finals.

Chinnor awaited in the final and although Henley were reduced to eight players through injury, they put on a great display of team rugby to run out comfortable 5-0 winners and lift the trophy.

The Henley U10 Sharks team also triumphed as they won the Ridgeway Cup.

After losing to a strong Banbury team in their group game, the Sharks put in a good team performance to beat Wallingford in their semi-final.

With strong tackling and aggressive defence, the Sharks turned the ball over several times. Good support play enabled the Sharks to keep the ball alive and opened up chances for the Sharks to score. In the final the Sharks came up against Banbury again, who had beaten Bicester in their semi-final. Henley Sharks’ defence again shone as they did not allow Banbury any space, pressuring well and in numbers. In attack, Henley stayed deep and used the width of the pitch effectively, recycling possession again and again. Two well-taken tries meant a turnaround from the group game as the Sharks won the trophy.

Henley Hawks U9s sported three teams in the Oxford County Festival at Wallingford RFC.

Due to grass roots popularity two new cup tournaments were held of equal standing – Henley Tigers entering the Thames Cup, Henley Wasps and Sharks entering the Ridgeway Cup.

Henley Tigers played in a tough pool comprising Bicester, and perennial rivals Chinnor and Oxford Harlequins. Everyone got their hands on the ball with a half game of short channel rugby. Finishing top of the group meant Tigers entered a semi-final against an Abingdon side who could not live with Henley’s passing game and bulldozing runs up the short side.

In the final the Tigers defeated a second Chinnor side 6-0 with not a single tackle missed as they ended the day as undefeated champions .In the Ridgeway Cup Henley Wasps and Sharks paired up against Chipping Norton, Wallingford, Banbury and more Oxford Harlequins teams.

Teamwork gave confidence to both sides putting them into the final rounds of the competition.

The Henley Sharks reached their cup semi-final in determined manner – Harvey Doyle and Harry Stephens manfully stewarding the Sharks against Chipping Norton, only to lose by a single try to the finalists.

The Wasps cruised past Bicester in a tournament best performance in their semi-final with Finn Schafer providing arcing runs where James Sampson produced several try saving tackles. This put them in the final of the competition against a Banbury side that tired first against the Wasps who secured the county plate.

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