HOSTS Henley Hawks Women lost out to second placed Thurrock Ladies at Dry Leas last Sunday in their
HOSTS Henley Hawks Women lost out to second placed Thurrock Ladies at Dry Leas last Sunday in their last fixture of the year.
With a string of injuries and unavailability the bench consisted of three Reading Abbey players and three from Oxford University, all of whom had never played at this level or for the Hawks before.
In a physical match Henley drew first blood in the mist, as an early period in the Thurrock 22 brought about a kickable penalty that Dudding converted.
The hosts then started to lose their discipline. This brought about kicks to the corners and allowed Thurrock to bring in the driving maul.
The Hawks thwarted the first few attempts, but further infringements meant they kept coming and with it their first score. Within 15 minutes the visitors turned the screw and ran in a further good tries to lead 24-3 at half-time.
Oxford’s Grant and Abbey’s Denton were then brought on in the second half for Henley and this allowed the hosts to re-group as they fought their way back into the match.
The physical encounter was taking its toll and further changes saw the University second row partnership of Van Heerden and Robinson enter and Fowler join her fellow Abbey centre.
The intensity remained as Henley were now starting to get on top of their opponents as Thurrock were now having to defend for long periods and as a result the penalty count rose. With Tomas now back at fullback, they opted to run more, only to find a solid wall and the newcomers more than stepping up to the challenge.
With 10 minutes to go the bench was emptied and Rice came on at scrum half as Henley were throwing all they could at their opponents.
With seconds to go the ball worked its way to Denton who went down the touchline to outrun the covering defence and finish under the posts and grab herself a try on debut. Dudding slotted the all-important extra two and Henley earned a bonus point.