Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Hawks coach admits relegation on the cards

THE coach of Henley Hawks says the team will keep fighting but admits relegation from National League 1

THE coach of Henley Hawks says the team will keep fighting but admits relegation from National League 1 is looking “likely”.

The Hawks have won just once since December and are 14 points adrift of 13th-placed Loughborough Students in the table with six more games to play.

The team lost 31-24 at Hull Ionians last Saturday and Pete Davies says the situation is starting to look desperate. He said: “Our backs are against the wall, time and games are running out for us to stay in this league. But there are still 30 league points up for grabs and until we are mathematically down we will keep on fighting.

“The boys are still determined to stay up. We might be lacking quality at times against strong opposition but we don’t lack courage, determination and fight and that’s all I can ask for. The morale is actually very good, as hard as that is to believe.

“We’ve got to look at the league table, we are 14 points from safety and chasing that 13th spot. If the teams above us carry on winning it will be taken out of our hands but we will carry on.”

Davies says suspensions and injuries forced his hand against Hull but praised his team for their effort. Scrum half Connor Murphy was called up by London Irish, while Rob Bell was injured and Julian Watkins was suspended.

Davies said: “We finished the game so well and if we take that into our next two games we will put ourselves in a position to pick up wins.

“It’s not like we lost heavily and lacked desire, if that was the case we could give up now. There was no lack of endeavour and spirit and if you have that you’re almost there.

“April will be a big month with four huge matches. Cinderford stands out but also the return against Blaydon. You are talking 12 to 15 points we could take, if we do that and results elsewhere go our way it could change things.”

Davies says the club has a plan in place for relegation but will not throw the towel in until it is confirmed.

He said: “If you’re a betting man, and looking at our run of form, then picking up those points is unlikely but stranger things have happened.

“We are already in a building phase for next season, irrespective of what league we are in. If we stay up we know what to do but if we go down to National League 2, as looks likely, then we know what to expect there too.

“We punched above our weight last year to win the league with three games remaining, which no team has ever done, and for a little club like Henley to do that is quite incredible.

“Just to be in National League 1 is exceptional and we are proud to keep fighting as hard as possible.”

Davies says the next two games away at Fylde and home against Coventry could be critical in deciding whether the Hawks stay up this season.

He said: “They’re crucial. Fylde lost to Cinderford, who are one place above us in the league, and they don’t have a great deal left to play for. Likewise Coventry are in the bottom half but safe so they have nothing to play for either.

“We’ve had to change tactics a lot this season but the players have been really comfortable with that.” 

He added: “We’ve always got plans in place so if we are relegated or stay in the league all my bases are covered.”

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