Monday, 30 November 2020

Davies’s try the high point in side’s eighth successive loss

HENLEY HAWKS travelled to Esher last Saturday buoyed by their improved performance against Coventry the previous

HENLEY HAWKS travelled to Esher last Saturday buoyed by their improved performance against Coventry the previous week but were masters of their own downfall as numerous attacking opportunities went astray and defence lapses in concentration saw the hosts run out easy winners.

If this had been a game judged on possession then Henley might have just edged it. In reality the game was all but over as the Hawks conceded three tries in 10 minutes midway through the first half as unforced handling errors and defensive frailties handed gift opportunities to Esher. Despite this scoreline there were many aspects of the game where the visitors showed their capabilities.

The improvement in the set scrum continued and there were some notable performances from players new to this level of rugby, notably Iwan Davies who had to fill in at the unaccustomed position of number eight. His tenacious tackling, ball carrying and never say die attitude was rewarded with a good try after 20 minutes as the Hawks kept the ball for multi phases.

Unfortunately Henley handed the visitors so many chances which they gladly took and executed with pace and precision that often the scramble defence simply could not cope with the excellent support which Esher demonstrated. A number of these scores came from turnovers deep in the Esher half as the Hawks did not control the ball sufficiently well enough in the loose. The home side’s backrow were particularly effective at the breakdown and gained numerous penalties and turnovers with which to effectively counter attack.

The second half saw Henley dominate possession with the introduction of Manning and Jackson into the front row and numerous chances were created as the Hawks pounded the visitors line only to be denied by tenacious tackling and shrewd loose play.

The Hawks never gave up and credit must be given to some good performances from young players. Toby Davies showed his strength and skill to cope at this level. In reality this performance summed up Henley’s season admirably. Looking after the ball into contact situations and an ability to finish chances have been missing and this was very evident in this game.

The side now needs to enjoy the last three games to build some momentum for next year’s campaign. There have been enough encouraging signs in the last few weeks to suggest that the new young players are not only learning quickly but settling into rugby at this level.

Henley Hawks: 15 Alan Awcock, 14 Liam O’Neill, 13 Simon Perry (Connor Dolan), 12 Toby Davies, 11 Jake Randall, 10 James Comben, 9 Tom Allen, 1 Billy Moss (Dave Mannng, 32 mins), 2 Tom Emery, 3 Tom West (Billy Moss, 61 mins), 4 Dave Clements, 5 Charlie Davey, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Scott White (Harry Jackson, 29 mins), 8 Iwan Davies (Simon Perry, 68 mins). Replacements not used: Henry Sandys, Pete Davies.

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