HENLEY HAWKS registered their first league points in front of their home supporters as they ran
HENLEY HAWKS registered their first league points in front of their home supporters as they ran in five tries against Wharfedale on Saturday.
After a keenly contested first half the hosts had established a narrow 12-10 lead but in the second half they strolled away from their doughty Yorkshire opposition adding three tries to the two they had already touched down. With the accurate kicking of number 10 James Comben, who converted all three, plus two early penalties in the second 40 minutes, the Hawks won the second half 27-3 with James Guy scoring a penalty for the visitors.
The two fly halves dominated all the scoring in the game with Guy responsible for all 13 of the Yorkshire side’s points whilst Comben scored 14 of the Hawks’.
The Hawks established an early lead of seven points after just eight minutes, driving over from a 10 metre line-out with skipper Dave Clements touching down three metres from touch with Comben adding the extra two points with a kick splitting the posts from a difficult angle.
The Hawks ball retention was poor with careless handling and passing. This resulted in the visitors equalising the score at 7-7 when Guy picked up a grubber kick by centre Huw Morgan and scored close to the posts to make the conversion a reality.
The Hawks’ tackling kept the visitors at bay and a typical display of powerful running in the loose, particularly by Robbie Stapley, was instrumental in taking play to the Wharfedale end of the pitch which again led to Henley taking control with a driving maul where flanker Tom Hall showed his expertise in such situations. His touchdown took the Hawks into a 12-7 lead as Comben’s conversion kick was wide although this was the only place kick he missed all afternoon. His kicking out of hand was also a notable feature in keeping Wharfedale on the back foot.
Play continued to be scrappy in the last quarter of the first half and the only further score during this period was a penalty for the visitors taking Guy’s total for the game to 10 and the half-time score to 12-10.
From the start of the second half the Hawks’ play was revitalised. The forwards were now driving on and combining well in handling movements and backing up well while impressive play by replacement Will Woodward, with the departure of skipper Clements, saw strong bursts by Charlie Davey. As a result the Hawks began to build a lead through two penalties by Comben although the long kicking Guy with one goal retaliated to make the score 18-13 after 55 minutes.
The Hawks were now developing some good handling movements. Wing Simon Perry began to combine well with replacement fullback Jamie Davies down the right and Perry with forceful running was able to squeeze over in the corner, despite cover tackles, which Comben converted. The Hawks, 25-13 ahead, were now the dominant team although Wharfedale had opportunities from breakaways by centres Cameron Hudson and Huw Morgan which they could not finish.
From one turnover by the Hawks in their own half Stapley broke through on a run of more than 50 metres which led to a neatly executed try by replacement scrum-half Connor Murphy who had taken over from the lively James Helliwell. The Hawks developed a passing movement a few metres from the visitors line whose defence appeared to have covered until a shimmy by Murphy left them stranded.
At 32-13 the Hawks had secured a valuable bonus point having scored four tries. However the best move of of the match was yet to come. Fullback Davies collected a visitors’ clearance kick in the Hawks half and proceeded to run through a static Wharfedale defence to touch down 60 metres later.
Henley Hawks: 15 Elliott Cox (James Davies, 49 mins), 14 Lloyd Owen, 13 Freddie Pierrepoint, 12 Tommy Allen, 11 Simon Perry, 10 James Comben, 9 James Helliwell (Connor Murphy, 50 mins), 1 Tom West, 2 Curtis Langdon, (Tom Emery, 49 mins), 3 Henry Sandys (Dave Manning, 42 mins), 4 Dave Clements (Will Woodward, 39 mins), 5 Charles Davey, 6 Jake Albon, 7 Tom Hall 8 Robbie Stapley.