Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Injuries prove to be Hawks downfall in final day defeat

ROSSLYN PARK’S winning margin was not a good reflection of the game at Dry Leas last

ROSSLYN PARK’S winning margin was not a good reflection of the game at Dry Leas last Saturday.

At the start of the last quarter the sides were level at 12-12 and although the Hawks then fell behind 17-12 they were in arrears by only five points with five minutes of the match remaining.

The Hawks territorially held more than their own. They were able to take the game to the Park showing some of the surest hands of the season and testing the visitors’ defence. They were also tackling effectively. In the first 10 minutes they pinned the Park on their line and were unfortunate when wing Simon Perry on joining the pack as they drove to score was held up.

However, the first time the Park moved on to the attack and established a spearhead in the Hawks half they scored. Referee James Sullivan awarded 17 penalties in the first half with Park proving to be the bigger culprit with 10. When they were awarded, one 30 metres from the Hawks’ line, Rosslyn Park put the ball into touch. They used this attacking position to drive over the Hawks’ line for number eight Sam Shires to touch down an unconverted try.

The Hawks continued to have a fair share of the game helped by the award of a yellow card to Rosslyn Park prop Harry Elrington and with Tom West putting in a driving run of 30 metres. The hosts then suffered a similar setback when lock and skipper Dave Clements was sent off for 10 minutes. Despite this handicap they mounted a sweeping handling movement from left to right for James Davies, up from fullback, to cut through to touch down wide out to make the score 5-5.

The visitors almost immediately countered when they stretched the Hawks defence having put a penalty kick into touch. Their dangerous running fullback Tom Whiteley broke through after Park won the resultant lineout to score under the posts to give him a straightforward opportunity to convert to make the score 12-5 at half-time. Park had the advantage of an extra man at this stage with Jake Randall in the sin bin having been given a yellow card.

The Hawks began the second half well despite being one man short again with Curtiss Langdon now languishing in the sin bin. They moved the ball well amongst the backs with James Comben using accurate wide passing to get them deep into Park’s territory. Ten minutes into the half wing Randall was able to outpace the visitors’ defence to touch down. Hawks fly-half Comben converted with a good kick from 35 metres to make the score 12-12.

The last quarter of the game saw events turn against the Hawks. First of all scrum-half Freddie Taylor, who had had a useful game, hobbled off with an ankle injury to be followed by Liam O’Neill who suffered a calf injury in a struggle to prevent centre Matt Hawke scoring a try which restored Park’s lead to 17-12.

A bonus point defeat seemed now to be the likely outcome of the game for the Hawks but as they were mounting an attack in the visitors’ 10 metre box on half way Whiteley intercepted a pass which he used to put his side in the Hawks 22 where Mike Macfarlane drove over for a try which the fullback converted. Further calamity for the Hawks came when on the restart the ball came loose to wing David Vincent who used his pace to score under the posts from half-way. Both tries were converted by Whiteley.

Henley Hawks: 15 James Davies, 14 Simon Perry, 13 Liam O’Neill, 12 Tom Allen, 11 Jake Randall, 10 James Comben, 9 Freddie Taylor, 1 Tom West, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Dave Clements, 5 Julian Watkins, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Connor Morrison, 8 Tom Haynes. Replacements: 16 Billy Moss, 17 Henry Sandys, 18 Charlie Davey, 19 Curtiss Langdon, 20 Louis Flynn.

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