HOSTS Henley Hawks Women went down to defeat in a nail-biting finish at home to Hove
HOSTS Henley Hawks Women went down to defeat in a nail-biting finish at home to Hove Ladies last Sunday.
Henley were much the more enterprising in the first half and utilised their pace well. The threat of Burger, Graham and Tomas was ever present and Hove did well to contain this for the first 30 minutes. Most of the play came from the Hawks and an early opportunity went begging as Tadman burst through the middle but was unable to locate the supporting Tomas early enough.
Good continuity between the forward and backs brought about a series of breaks, but the final passes went astray.
Hove resorted to kick to relieve the pressure, which Byrne covered and returned well on the left. A move from broken play saw Tomas cut through on the inside back but a well timed cover tackle stopped another certain score.
With seven minutes to go in the half, Hove were eventually undone as Burger attacked the line and slipped the ball to Tomas, who finished from half-way.
Henley then failed to deal with the restart and Hove were able to camp on the 22 for the remaining minutes. Their first real spell with the ball resulted in a penalty in front of the posts and allowed them to enter the second half only 7-3 down.
Once again the restart wasn’t gathered well and Hove were able to build on the momentum. Henley still looked dangerous and were to break the line again. The visitors’ penalty count was rising and a tap and go close to the line was held out.
Unable to clear their 22 the pressure told and Graham jinked in under the posts. Dudding converted again to move out to 14-3 with 20 minutes to go.
A recurring theme at restarts came into effect again. Hove held the ball up in the maul, which formed the momentum shift and the start of their escape. Their back row were now starting to cause problems and Henley were the ones infringing. Five minutes of pressure and inability to clear their half allowed Hove to get the next score and with it a surge of energy.
The visitors kept coming and so did the penalties as it was all Hove and stout defence kept them out for large periods.
With time up Hove received a penalty. A shot at goal wasn’t enough so they went for the try. Henley held out but two more penalties kept them alive. With close to five minutes of extra play the escape happened and with the conversion the final whistle sounded.