Murphy suffers broken leg during six–try away triumph
HENLEY HAWKS recorded their first win since they were confirmed champions of Division 2 South as
HENLEY HAWKS recorded their first win since they were confirmed champions of Division 2 South as they ran in six tries at Dings Crusaders on Saturday.
The match was marred for the champions who saw scrum–half Connor Murphy taken to hospital after picking up a broken tibia in the second half.
In recent seasons the Hawks have found it difficult to defeat a robust Dings side on their own patch but on this occasion conditions were more favourable to their style of play on a dry pitch with a brisk cold breeze.
The much changed Hawks pack found a competitive Dings side prepared to use their youthful backs whenever they could and there was no hint of a war of attrition which had familiarised the Crusaders’ style of play in previous years.
After an opening skirmish in the Hawks’ 22 play swept to the Dings’ 10 metre area when the visitors drove from a lineout and a controlled driving maul enabled Tom Hall, skipper for the day, to successfully ground the ball for a try which was converted by Murphy.
The Hawks’ seven point lead did not last for long as the Crusaders took the game to the visitors’ 22 and Ben Bolster, their fly–half, converted a straightforward penalty.
Within five minutes the home side were in the lead when some quick handling by their backs enabled wing Ollie Reyland to find a hole in the Hawks defence. This try was not converted but the Crusaders now led 8–7 after 21 minutes.
The Hawks, shaken by this reverse, returned to Dings’ 10 metre area and the visitors again used their strength in the driving maul for prop Hugo Milford–Scott to put them back in the lead which became 14–8 thanks to another Murphy conversion.
The Hawks’ attacking engine now began to purr when some crisp handling moved the ball to fullback Jake Randall on the right and using his pace and balanced running ability stormed past a static defence to score close to the corner flag to make the score 19–8.
The ding–dong nature of the game was immediately continued when it was the Hawks who were themselves staggered by a strong weaving run from half–way by Crusaders fullback Simon Hunt who evaded five would–be tackles to score under the posts for Bolster to make the score 19–15 in favour of the visitors at half–time.
The Crusaders were returned to full complement with the return of hooker Davis Wheeler from the sin bin on half–time, where he had been sent for a dangerous high tackle. The Hawks were now concerned to shake off the opposition.
First of all there was a repeat score of the try by Randall when sharp handling across the backs found Lloyd Owen on the right and he, like his colleague, left the Crusaders open mouthed by the pace he used to score which put the Hawks 26–15 ahead thanks to another fine conversion in the blustery conditions by Murphy. He repeated this skill when a further driving maul try, scored by replacement hooker Nathan Taylor, took the score to 33–15.
However, immediately after this the scrum–half suffered a broken tibia which led to his removal to hospital. His replacement, Mark Bruce, combined well with fly–half James Comben and a move started in the Hawks 22 swept play to half–way and the passing movement that developed led to the try of the match. The ball was moved to replacement Ed Church who, although nominated as hooker, put in a run worthy of a wing as he hammered down the wing where, with the help of side step and a spectacular dive, he scored after a 50 metre run. This took the Hawks score to 38 but the Crusaders were not hung out for they counter attacked to score a converted try through scrum–half Harry Nowell which made the final score 38–22.
Henley Hawks: 15 Jake Randall, 14 Lloyd Owen, 13 Tom Gardner (Mark Bruce, 51 mins), 12 George Eastwell, 11 Fred Pierrepoint (Conor Corrigan, 46 mins), 10 James Comben, 9 Connor Murphy (Ed Church, 53 mins), 2 Stuart Philpott (Nathan Taylor, 40 mins), 3 Tim Coghlan (Dave Manning, 40 mins), 4 Jake O’Leary, 5 Theo Vukasinovic, 6 Will Woodward, 7 Tom Hall, 8 Robbie Stapley.