Old Rivals Wharfedale Meet the Hawks at Dry Leas
Henley Hawks welcome Wharfedale to Dry Leas renewing rivalry which started in 1999 when the Hawks first gained promotion to National 1. Wharfedale have a remarkable record for consistency as they are now playing their 20th consecutive year in the league. This is in sharp contrast to the Hawks who can be considered a Yo-Yo club having been relegated and promoted on a number of occasions as recent experience shows for now they are back in Division 1 having been relegated two years ago after just one year in the league.
The Hawks, have to date, earned all their points away from home with a bonus point win at Darlington Mowden Park and two points last week at Ampthill after a 14-14 draw with the current league leaders, at the time.
For their second home game of the season the Hawks are fielding a team showing several changes to use the strength in depth they have in their squad. Thus the back division shows three changes from the team that drew at Ampthill.
Lloyd Owen will start his first game of the season having been away on flying duties. Fred Pierrepoint returns to partner Tom Allen in the centre. Elliot Cox resumes his preferred position at full back after being on the wing last week.
There are four changes amongst the forwards one of which is the switch to No. 6 from second row of last week’s try scorer Jake Albon. The front row is reshuffled with Curtis Langdon taking over from Tom Emery as hooker and Henry Sandys coming in for Dave Manning at tight head who will be on the bench providing cover for both prop positions. Charlie Davey after four games as a replacement takes over from Albon in the second row.
These changes do mean that the Hawks will field a strong bench.
Wharfedale have had a slow start to the season having unusually already lost two games at home.
Their strength is usually in games at home which is a difficult venue for visiting teams. Last season they lost only five games there in finishing 11th. However they have strong playing membership throughout the club with four regular adult sides their 2nd XV having won the Yorkshire Merit League Premiership for the seventh time of the last eight years. The Colts won the National Plate competition last season and were also Yorkshire Colts Champions. They had five players in the Yorkshire side who were national Under 20’s champions Some of these players will feature in today’s game, guided by the experienced Rob Baldwin (No. 8) who returned to the club two seasons ago after a spell with Leeds (now Yorkshire) Carnegie.
This should be an interesting competitive game.