Saturday, 13 August 2022

Former junior lock Bartlett set to make Hawks debut

HENLEY HAWKS, who were relegated after losing their last match at Fylde, will be attempting to halt

HENLEY HAWKS, who were relegated after losing their last match at Fylde, will be attempting to halt a run of six successive defeats when they host Coventry tomorrow (Saturday) in National Division 1 (kick-off 3pm).

Once again the Dry Leas side, who have failed to field an unchanged team all season, will be making changes to their line-up that played at Fylde a fortnight ago.

The back line apart from the half backs, Connor Murphy and Ben Palmer, is completely changed with the exception of Xavier Andre at number 14. Liam O’Neill and Tom Allen come into the centre while Jake Randall takes the number 11 shirt. With Alan Awcock suffering from a neck injury James Comben will start at fullback.

The forwards are strengthened by the return from the England U20s side of Jake Willis at number eight with Curtis Langdon (hooker) and Tom West (loose head prop) as cover on the bench and Connor Morrison, who was unavailable at Fylde, covering the back row.

Tom Hall is away this week so the back row will be completed with Scott White and Idwal Davies.

There will be a debut for Tom Bartlett at lock. Bartlett has impressed when playing for the Bulls and is a product of Henley Juniors.

Coventry come to Dry Leas on the back of a narrow 33-27 home victory over Cinderford which eased worries the Midlanders had about relegation.

In contrast to last season this has been a disappointing one for this proud club which prior to the advent of professionalism were considered to be one of if not the strongest team in England brimful of famous internationals. Last season was a positive one for the visitors who finished third. With 22 victories they achieved more than in any other season in National Division 1 which included a record unbeaten run of 18 matches.

When the teams met at Coventry at the end of November the Hawks suffered a 29-15 defeat when their defence let them down after a promising start, a feature in the Hawks play this season in which they have conceded 799 points more than any other side in the league.

Coventry’s win over Cinderford was marked by a hat-trick of tries by wing by Dom Lespierre in the first half. Although Coventry have missed Cliffie Hogson who kicked 252 points last season Caolan Ryan at fullback contributed 14 points with two conversions and three penalties in this important victory for his side. The Henley Hawks line-up for the match is as follows: 15 James Comben, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Liam O’Neill, 12 Tom Allen, 11 Jake Randall, 10 Ben Palmer, 9 Connor Murphy, 1 Billy Moss, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Dave Clements, 5 Tom Bartlett, 6 Idwal Davies, 7 Scott White, 8 Jack Willis. Replacements: 16 Tom West, 17 Henry Sandys, 18 Curtis Langford, 19 Connor Morrison, 20 Simon Perry or Tom Gardner.

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