Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Injuries take toll as Hawks are outplayed by Richmond

HENLEY HAWKS made it 100 points conceded in two matches as they slumped to a heavy

HENLEY HAWKS made it 100 points conceded in two matches as they slumped to a heavy 54-5 defeat at Richmond last Saturday.

The Hawks, having won three games and drawn one of their first eight, and having a better record away from home with two wins and a draw, are finding life in Division 1 tougher and more competitive than when they were last amongst the top 40 rugby clubs in England.

They are now 11th in the league which should not be ignored neither the fact that they are still plagued by injury. For this game they were without four of their first choice forwards in Tom West (prop), Dave Manning (prop), Jake Albon (lock, back row) and Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas (back row and a member of the England Sevens squad) which amounts to 50 per cent of the pack.

The Hawks were outplayed by a side whose line speed was too much for the visitors both in attack and defence. This was embellished by a powerful pack which outplayed the Hawks eight in every aspect of forward play bar set scrums.

Line-out play by the Hawks throughout was poor as using the back of the line was subject to loss on their own throws, the first of which was a prelude to Richmond’s first score, a penalty by fullback Andy Hall, when the Hawks were caught offside on their own 22. Their next score by wing Charlie Broughton was significant in setting Richmond’s dominance in loose play when number eight Chris Davies caught a visitor’s clearance kick in the Hawks 10 metres line from where he was able to take advantage of Henley’s forwards, who appeared to be obstructed illegally, an offence ignored by both referee and his touchline assistant to the amazement of the Hawks’ forward who did not play to the whistle. This unconverted try left the score at 8-0.

The Hawks then came into the game with Robbie Stapley leading forward rushes and handling movements developing. They were up against a strong tackling defence and could make little progress while their handling was not slick enough to outflank the home side. When they kicked a penalty to the left hand corner the strong Richmond pack drove over the Hawks’ line for flanker Jack Alcock to be award a try which made the score 13-0.

There followed the best concerted attack by the Hawks which on 30 minutes saw them develop a passing movement close to the Richmond line and with Will Robinson up from fullback put in possession he was able to put in strong sidesteps to break tackles to score. James Comben missed a straightforward conversion which left the score at 13-5.

The chances of the Hawks now putting Richmond under pressure faded in the second quarter of the game when the visitors conceded two further tries through Davies, when he was swept over after running back a clearance kick, and replacement prop Seb Adeniran-Olule, who was driven over, to make the score 25-5 at half-time.

The Hawks started the second half brightly with handling moves and a Robinson kick put them in the home 22. For the first time the home side were under pressure and James Helliwell was held up over their line. However, this was countered by a well supported break which led to wing Adam Gadsby touching down to make the score 30-5. Richmond scored again when the Hawks, on a promising attack down the left, switched it to the right with a cross kick by Robinson which eluded James Davies on a bounce but was gathered by the Richmond backs who ran the length of the field for centre Cameron Mitchell to touch down to make the score 37-5 with a Hall conversion.

Hawks woes continued with three further tries in the last quarter of the game. All were created in the same manner with kicks to touch and the try scorers Tom Sergeant, Chris Davies and Rob Kirby being driven over from subsequent line-outs. The last of these from the final movement of the game came as the Hawks tried to break out from their own 22 with handling movements, rather than end the match by kicking to touch.

Henley Hawks: 15 Will Robinson, 14 Lloyd Owen, 13 Fred Pierrepoint, 12 Alan Awcock, 11 James Davies (James Helliwell, 72 mins), 10 James Comben, 9 James Helliwell (Connor Murphy, 46 mins), 1 William Moss (Henry Sandys, 61 mins), 2 Tom Emery (Curtis Langdon, 56 mins), 3 Henry Sandys (Harry Jackson, 46 mins), 4 Will Woodward (Sam Richardson, 31 mins), 5 Charlie Davey (Woodward, 61 mins), 6 Dave Clements, 7 Oliver Spanswick, 8 Robbie Stapley (Iwan Davies, 53 mins).

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