THE head coach of Henley Hawks is confident his team will remain in National Division 1 at the
THE head coach of Henley Hawks is confident his team will remain in National Division 1 at the end of the season.
Pete Davies’ side sits third from bottom in the table but won their first game since October 10 last weekend.
They ran out 27-13 winners against fellow strugglers Cinderford at Dry Leas on Saturday as they notched their first win since a 24-21 away win against Loughborough Students.
The Hawks scored five tries, picking up a bonus to go above their opponents and come off the bottom of the table.
Davies said: “We had a good couple of weeks’ preparation because we had prepared really well for Blaydon before that was cancelled the previous week.
“It was a blessing in disguise because we had a couple of guys unavailable then so we had a stronger squad for Cinderford.
“We realised it was a must win game for us and even more so because they didn’t get any points either and they’re in the relegation battle with us.
“We’re definitely in the battle because we’re half way through the season and we’re in the bottom half of the table.
“Every game is important now and staying up was always our goal because it’s a tough league. The results don’t lie. We’re half way through and the quality of the teams means it’s very difficult to get wins.”
The difficulty in picking up victories for the Hawks may be added to by loss of star number eight Robbie Stapley. He has rejoined former club Redingensians Rams, who play in the division below them in National League 2 South.
Davies said: “It was a surprise to us if I’m being honest. He’s decided to move back to his home club where he was previously. He has a lot of friends there and decided to make that move.
“It’s disappointing to lose a quality player like Robbie but he made the decision to move and we have to respect that.”
However the head coach is happy with the strength in depth with the squad despite the loss of Stapley.
Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas is back with the squad after serving with the England Sevens side in Dubai as well as Connor Murphy coming back from playing for London Irish.
Basil Strang, who was given a blue as part of the successful Oxford University side last season, was another recent addition.
Davies said: “Oscar hasn’t played with us all season because he’s been away, but now he will be able to put in some good performances for us in the back row.
“We picked up Basil by chance but he’s a top player at fullback.”
The Hawks’ next game is at home to Darlington Mowden Park on January 2. Later in the month they will also travel to fellow strugglers Wharfedale.
Davies said: “The boys are training really well and their conditioning is very good. I
have every confidence we will stay in the league.
“The boys have been disappointed with the results but they’re desperate to keep the club in the division at the end of the season. Their commitment is unquestionable.
“We’re obviously on a bit of a high with confidence after the last win at the weekend but we take each game at a time. We’re expecting to get something from those January games. We will work to get those results.”