Henley Hawks suffer mixed fortunes during South Wales pre-season friendly clash
HENLEY HAWKS opened their pre-season campaign with a visit to Bedwas in the heart of
HENLEY HAWKS opened their pre-season campaign with a visit to Bedwas in the heart of South Wales, writes Noel Armstead.
A squad of 30 players took part in two games which were split into two halves of 25 minutes.
There was a certain bias in the home side’s favour in the first game as they fielded their strongest side consisting mainly of players with Premium Principality Rugby experience whilst the Hawks side was a youthful one with few of National League status. The Hawks found it difficult to contain the hosts despite playing with determination as they strove to find team co-ordination with 50 per cent wearing a Henley shirt for the first time.
The result was that they conceded 10 tries, nine of which were converted by Richard Powell (seven) who is considered to be the best kicker in their league and James Dixon as the hosts won 66-0. The Hawks fielded their strongest side in the second game which included a number of players who have played National Division 1 games as they ran out 21-7 winners.
They made an immediate impact from the start, led by number eight Robbie Stapley tearing through the heart of the Bedwas pack and most of the game was spent in home territory. The Bedwas defence was stretched by skilful running and handling as they ran on to the ball at pace. They were held at bay by a defence which was prone to tackle at head height and this was exemplified by prop Joe Mills conceding first a yellow card which turned to red after a further offence.
Henley were able to turn their superiority into points through tries by skipper Dave Clements (from a driving maul), Stapley and fullback Elliott Cox who finished off a sweeping handling movement started on half way and was then given impetus by a half break by centre Fred Pierrepoint. All three were converted by James Comben.
The only time that Bedwas established themselves close to the Hawks’ line came after they developed a handling movement after a Hawks’ over throw at a line-out on half way and they then lost control of a ball at scrum 10 metres from their line for number eight Deri Mattravers to sweep up a lose ball to score a try converted by Powell.
In the last 10 minutes of the game the Hawks pressed hard to increase their lead but were unable to score from two threatening driving mauls and to capitalise on the elusive running of left wing Liam O’Neill, the most impressive runner on the field.
Henley Hawks: 15 Elliott Cox, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Jack Bradford, 12 Fred Pierrepoint, 11 Liam O’Neill, 10 James Comben, 9 Will Benyon, 1 Dave Manning, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Henry (Sandys), 4 Dave Clements, 5 Jack Albon (Charlie Davey), 6 Julian Watkins (Will Woodward), 7 Tom Hall, 8 Robbie Stapley (Sam Richardson).