Henley Hawks U10s had a unique day out with the London Irish club culminating in watching the Premier League match between London Irish Team and Bath at the Madjeski Stadium in Reading.
The event started with a mini tournament against four teams. After completing the matches, the boys had the opportunity to spend some time with the London Irish players before forming the tunnel for the Premiership teams to run under and onto the field at the beginning of the match.
In the tournament, both teams played 4 matches each, winning 3, drawing 3 and losing 2. The standard of play was excellent with Henley showing good skills in running straight, passing out of tackles, mauling where we managed steal a number of balls and in tackling where we are getting more of the boys willing to make the tackle.
Team 1 – Played 4, won 1, drew 2 and lost 1 (Ethan Shuttleworth, Charlotte Tong, Felix Cooper, George Bottomley, Freddie Coultas, Luca Coleman, Rory Cordingley, Thomas Ferguson, William Tavinor, Jake Robinson, Josh Turner, Lucas Edwards, Dominic Pusey-Arsyad)
Team 2 – Played 4, won 2, drew 1 and lost 1 (Alexander Clarke, Alistair Hall, Ben Chapman, Felix Richardson, Edward Tong, Jack Bradbury, Robert Murdoch, Jack Renders, Seb Phyillis, Olli Butler, Sam Snowdon, Leo Golledge, Henry French)
Team 1 played 4 matches, won against Alton, drew against Devizes and Reading and lost to Melksham. Each game was highly competitive with the Henley boys showing great teamwork, ever improving skills and confidence. The first game set the tone for the tournament as the Henley team produced some wonderful interplay from Rory Cordingley and Ethan Shuttleworth, with direct running from George Bottomley to smash through tackles and take a 2-0 lead. Reading fought back in the second after and managed to sneak a draw with a last minute try.
Next up was the toughest game against Melksham, Henley produced a brilliant team try involving great rucking from William Tavinor, with Dominic PA perfectly creating space for a fabulous finish in the corner by Freddie Coultas, However in the end they were out fought in the rucks to finish 1-3.
The third match started on a similar track with strong rucking and direct running from a huge Devizes team to be trailing 1-3 at half time. Inspired by wonderful cover defence from Charlotte Tong to regain possession, and excellent contribution from promising new boys Josh Turner and Jake Robinson the second half brought about brilliant comeback to secure a 3-3 result.
The team continued the positive team display into the final match against Alton, remarkably scoring 10 tries in the 12 minute game, including an incredible arching ‘length of the pitch’ run from Lucas Edwards, 2 brilliant solo runs from Luca Coleman, 2 blistering tries from Felix Cooper, and a second half hat-trick of defence splitting runs from Thomas Ferguson. A wonderful finish to a great tournament!
Team 2 played 4 matches, won 2 games against teams from Reading, drew 1 game against Tadley and lost 1 game to Overton. The excitement for both those playing and watching, particularly against Tadley, who were big, running straight and hard and also against Overton who do the same, was palpable. Against Tadley, the boys were clearly pumped up and hit the ground running, the Henley team had the upper hand for the whole of the match, lots of possession which was mostly in their half, tons of strong running and lots of offloads but Henley just could not get through for the killer blow as Tadley’s defence held up and frustratingly Henley found that when they were tackled, support play was late into the ruck or late with getting a scrumhalf to the ball and so the opposition was able to effect a number of steals. The end result was 0-0 draw.
Next up was a match versus Reading 2 and Henley opened up their now famous running style with Alexander Clarke, Seb Phyllis and Ben Chapman cutting through the Reading defence like a knife through butter. Final result was 4-1. The work rate of Robert Murdoch was exceptional with some barrelling straight runs and offloading to the likes of Felix Richardson and fast Leo Golledge. The third game was played against Reading 3 whom Henley 2 put to the sword with ease. Jack Bradbury stepped strongly to score a lovely try at the end of a run and an offload from Ben Chapman. Felix Richardson used his pace and power to go in from a long way out as did Leo Golledge. Olli Butler playing in his first tournament showed strong promise. Alistair Hall used his strong rucking and tackling to great effect and Henry French ran well.
In the game against Overton, it was a similar story with the excitement on the side-lines hitting fever pitch. Henley drew first blood but Overton were able to come back, scoring twice before the end of the game. Sam Snowdon and Ed Tong got stuck in against a tough opposition playing very well. Coach Nick Bradbury said, “Looking back over the season so far, the Henley boys have definitely increased their physicality but as we found from the games with both Overton and Tadley there is still an opportunity for us to work more in 3’s to either protect the ball or steal it in the ruck situation.”