Hawks Go Top of the League

Lydney 17pts Henley Hawks 43 pts

Hawks took top place on Division 2 (South) scoring six tries in a comfortable bonus point victory at Lydney.

They dominated the game in the first half to such an extent that the home side only managed to take the game into the Hawks half on one occasion. That was after 20 minutes when they scored a penalty through fly-half Brad Barnes from 35 metres.

The first ten minutes was played almost entirely in the Lydney 22 metre area. They failed to cross the Lydney line for two main reasons. The home side were well organised in defence, tackling effectively, and they failed to sustain their frequent passing movements because of failure to retain the ball in the tackle. They eventually crossed the line when fly-half Ed Yarnton, who was their most penetrative of the Hawks backs, stepped inside a tackle to feed centre Simon Perry to score near the posts for him to convert.

The combination between Yarnton and Perry was the lynch-pin of other scores. Perry who was promoted from the Bulls supported Yarnton therefore very effectively. But it was the forwards who created the next try just three minutes later when they put in a strong driving maul which Lydney could only stop illegally by dragging it down. Yarnton kicked the straight forward conversion to make the score 14-0 after 18 minutes.

The Hawks were able to sustain their attack in the home 22 with the benefit of some excellent line out play largely due to the pin point delivery of hooker Stuart Philpott. They could not turn this into points, despite a good break from the back of scrum 35 metres out by scrum-half Mark Bruce, which was unsupported, until 30 minutes, when a flowing handling movement which saw the ball moved from left to right. Perry score his second try, again converted by Yarnton to make the score 21-3.

The Hawks now striving for a bonus point try continued to move the ball at every opportunity and right wing Xavier Andre went close before being tackled on the corner flag and there were a number of scoring chances which went a begging because of knock-ons.

The Hawks started the second half in a positive mood and another combined move sweeping down the right between Perry and Yarnton ended with the fly-half this time taking a pass close to the line from Perry to make the score 26-3.

Lydney now started to come into the game which they could not do in the first half. A long break from half-way saw fly half Brad Barnes score near the posts which he also converted. With fifty minutes or so gone the Hawks began to use their substitutes which brought about the introduction of Connor Murphy at scrum half. His long raking passes from set-pieces gave the backs more space but his first effective contribution was to kick a straight forward penalty to make the score 29-10. His excellent place kicking was a feature of the second half and the next opportunity came when the forwards drove the hard working flanker Tom Hall over in the corner for a try which he majorised to make the score 36 -10.
Lydney, without No. 8, Liam Jackson being given a yellow card by referee James Clarke at the closure of the first half, for the first time took the game to the Hawks line and their pack drove over for lock Dave Bennett to be awarded a try which Barnes converted .With less than five minutes of the game remaining they now had their best moments of the game despite being without the services of replacement Jordan Fowke who had been awarded a red card for head butting, looked to be developing a promising move down the right but a fumble on half way led to the Hawks sweeping towards their line and then promptly finished the game from a tapped penalty which was worked to developing centre Dan Barnes to touch down. Another excellent conversion by Murphy made the score 43-17 on the final whistle.

The Hawks achieved a good victory over a less than full strength Lydney side which was encouraging in their aim to consolidate their position as the leading side in the league.

Henley Hawks
15. Tom Allen, 14.Xavier Andre, 13. Simon Perry, 12. Dan Barnes, 11. Lloyd Owen, 10. Ed Yarnton, 9. Mark Bruce (Connor Murphy 52), 1. Tom West (Hugo Milford Scott 62), 2. Stuart Philpott (Nathan Taylor 40), 3. Dave Manning , 4. Dave Clements (capt.,Matt Payne 65), 5. Matt Payne (Will Woodward 40), 6. Tom Hall ( Robbie Stapley 75) , 7. Ryan Newman , 8. Robbie Stapley (Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas 52)