Hawks Make it Four Wins in a Row

southend-1Henley Hawks 31 pts Southend 13 pts

Henley Hawks ran in five tries to keep their unbeaten record intact and in the process earned a bonus point for the third consecutive match.

When they opened the scoring with a try by Connor Murphy their lively scrum-half after just two minutes, plus a conversion by Will Robinson to go 7-0 up the Henley faithful had vision of a repeat of the trouncing that they gave the Seasiders when the two sides last met at Dry Leas two years ago when they ran riot and scored 87 points. However this was not to be repeated although they were well on top for the first twenty minutes.

They moved the ball with a swift service from a dominant scrum through the swift service from scrum-half Murphy and lightning distribution by Robinson.

However it was the forwards that were the source of two further tries in the first 25 minutes. Lock Matt Payne had already created the opportunity for Murphy to open the scoring by peeling away from a line out within ten metres of the visitor’s line. He and the pack created the second try with a controlled drive down the right and he finished the move off southend-2to make the score 12-0 after twelve minutes. Robinson’s conversion attempt was deflected off an upright.

At this stage of the game the Hawks were well in control of the set scrums putting the Southend eight in retreat more often and not. With this advantage Robinson was able to launch an attack after a set scrum but this did not lead to a score as the movement broke down when a subsequent pass went astray. However another forward drive of some 30 metres led to flanker Andy Newman forcing his way over for a try which Robinson converted.

The Hawks led at half-time 19-6 as the only further scoring before the break came from two penalties by Southend centre Bradley Burr although Hawk’s   full back Tom Allen had an exciting run of 40 metres and Robbie Stapley lead a forward charge of some thirty metres..

Robinson relieved the pressure of any Southend attacks with some raking kicks some of which could have been turned into attacking opportunities but these were not pursued. The fly-half also made an exciting swerving run deep into the Southend 22 but was stopped short of the try line. The Hawks found it difficult to sustain attacks as referee Chris Ridley appeared to be advised by his assistants on the touch line of repeated off side offences.

The second half found the Hawks still struggling to launch sustained attacks. Centres Ed Yarnton and Simon Perry made two or three incursions which came to nothing. It was not until the second half was 20 minutes old that they could engineer another score although a dash for the line by Xavier Andre ended with the right wing being forced into touch a few metres from the corner.

The Hawks found it difficult to keep up sustained attacks as there was at this stage a break down in communication between their front row and the referee as to the correct way to scrummage which gave the Seasiders’ relief.

However they did mount probably their best move of the game when the ball was swiftly moved along their back line and replacement full back Piers O’Conor found an unmarked left wing, Lloyd Owen, with a looping wide pass for the wing to score, a rare touch of the ball during the game to make the score 24-6.

Southend at no time during the game were able to mount any pressure in the Hawk’s line but they scored a try out of the blue when a kick ahead down their right wing was not gathered by the Hawks and some loose hacking gave replacement Lester Pollard the opportunity to touchdown a bouncing ball in the Hawk’s dead ball area. Burr’s conversion made the score 24-13

However the Hawks were to have the last word when a ball went loose as the visitors were looking to advance in the Hawk’s ten metres area. This was seized upon by the alert Murphy who sprinted away into the Southend’s half and about 30 metres into it gave a neat inside pass to the marauding No. 6 Tom Hall who raced away some 25 metres to score his fourth try of the season which with Robinson’s conversion brought the final score to 31-13.

Henley Hawks

15. Tom Allen (Piers O’Conor 51), 14. Xavier Andre, 13. Simon Perry (Dan Barnes 69), 12. Ed Yarnton, 11. Lloyd Owen, 10. Will Robinson, 9. Connor Murphy 1. Tom West (Dave Manning 76), 2. Nathan Taylor (George Edgson 65-76), 3. Dave Manning (Hugo Milford Scott 55), 4. Dave Clements (capt.), 5. Matt Payne ( Will Woodward 57), 6. Tom Hall, 7. Ryan Newman, 8. Robbie Stapley (Payne 76).