Hawks Bubble Bursts at Worthing

hawks-logoWorthing Raiders 30 pts Henley Hawks 7pts

The Hawks run of 14 consecutive victories cam to a shuddering halt at Worthing. The home team were strongly motivated to beat he Hawks having had the best of the games with the Sussex club over the last two seasons when they did the double over them in 2013/14 and convincingly defeated them in the final game of 2012/13, 55-27, in the decider for the Division 2 (South) title.

The Raiders showed their dominance in every aspect of the game after the Hawks had started the game by controlling possession through seven phases after full back Mathew Mclean had given Worthing a very early lead with a penalty after just one minute. The Hawks were unable to use this early possession and thereafter the Raiders denied them any ball for much of the first half.

It became increasingly obvious that the home side were further motivated by the return after injury of three of their best players in Matt Miles (hooker /captain), prop Scott Barlow and centre Ben Loosemore. This was particularly true in the front row where the Raiders increasingly ruled the roost especially in the second half.

It was from a secure scrum on the Hawks 22 that fly-half Kieran Leeming put over a very accurate cross kick to the left corner which was gathered by centre Finlay Coxon-Smith to touch down to stretch the Raiders lead to 8-0.

During this period of play little was seen of the Hawks as an attacking force apart from strong bursting run of some 35 metres by centre Fred Pierrpoint which ended with the Hawks’ possession being turned over which unfortunately happened many times in the course of the game. On this occasion young Worthing scrum-half Calum Waters, now in possession, then used his pace to put the Raiders on the attack.

The scrum-half was a thorn in the Hawks game for much of the game and it was a thrusting run by him which caught the Hawks napping and put the home side 15-0 in the lead with the conversion of the resultant try by McLean.

The Hawks could not get into the game effectively and Waters again left them standing when he accelerated from the base of the scrum to make the score 22-0, with a another Mclean conversion.

However the Hawks developed a good attacking move deep in the home 22 and this was stopped by a deliberate knock on by Coxon-Smith as they threatened to score. He was given a yellow card but the Hawks decided not to kick the straight forward penalty awarded. With half time approaching they tried to create a try from an attacking scrum but failed to do so.

The Hawks began to get some worthwhile possession at the beginning of the second half and their handling and passing gave hope that they would again able to turn round a half-time deficit as they had done in three previous games but their finishing lacked the finesse to do so and they could not put the Raiders defence under threat who began to dominate the set-pieces.

There were promising breaks from prop Tom West and Oscar Horiskyj-Douglas but these were too individualistic and from midfield to build scoring chances.

Indeed Worthing stretched their lead further with an easy penalty by McLean who also squeezed over for a try in the left hand corner when good passing and handling gave him sufficient space to touch down stretching the Raiders lead to 30-0.

The Hawks did earn some considerable time in the Worthing 22 but their forwards could not get dominance in the set scrums being pushed off the ball on occasions and line out   throws were inaccurate thus denying them sufficient pressure to threaten the home defence.

Their only score came when they used pace in their backs to catch the Worthing defence off balance. The ball was then worked to James Comben in mid field on the Raiders 22 and he was able to outflank the Worthing cover to touch down behind the posts and convert the try to make the score 30-7.

For the first time this season, they also wanted to win on this occasion more than the Hawks.

Henley Hawks

15. Jake Randall, 14. Xavier Andre, 13. Fred Pierrepoint, 12. Tom Allen (George Eastwell 45), 11. Lloyd Owen (Simon Perry 75), 10. James Comben, 9. Tom Parker, 1. Dave Manning, 2. Stuart Philpott, 3. Jimmy Titchfield (Tom West 40), 4. Dave Clements (capt.), 5. Matt Payne (Oskar Hirskyj- Douglas 40), 6. Tom Hall, 7. Ryan Newman (Theo Vulkanisovic 58), 8. Robbie Stapley