Henley Hawks will hope to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they host Bristol side, Old Redcliffians RFC at Dry Leas in their latest National League 2(South), kick off 3pm.
Last week, against Tonbridge, the Hawks failed to reached the intensity that they had shown when pushing the Rams so close the week before. An error strewn performance against Tonbridge, who are difficult opponents, led to their second successive defeat and a second defeat against the Kent side this season. The Hawks will hope this is a blip in their campaign after a run of eleven victories from their twelve previous fixtures.
This makes this game against Old Redcliffians extremely important for the Hawks as they will want to get back into a winning mentality quickly and keep the pressure on the other sides around them. The Hawks have slipped into fourth place in the league, behind Taunton and Canterbury who play each other this weekend.
However, although the Hawks will start as favourites for this game, they will not have it all their own way against a Reds side who have started to adapt to the standards of the league. They have won four out of their last five games which include impressive victories over Redruth and Worthing and this run has allowed them to pull away from the relegation zone. They now lie in 13th place in the league on 36 points, 15 points clear of London Irish Wild Geese who lie one place below them. The Old Reds try to play a running style and have claimed twelve bonus points to date. They also have the leagues top try scorer in their ranks in winger Henry Bird.
However, there is no panic in the Henley ranks and the side selected for Saturdays match has a familiar look about it. The forward pack contains just one positional change with skipper Sam Lunnon taking his place in the second row replacing Ross Parkins who is on the bench. The ever reliable Tom Hall comes into the back row. The backs have four changes to last week. Xav Andre returns to the centre and George Griffiths reverts back to the wing. Craig Goodfellow, on loan from Chinnor makes his first start at scrum half replacing Leo Webb who takes his place on the bench. Ben Bolster also makes his first appearance for the Hawks at full back, he arrives from Dings Crusaders.
The full Hawks line-up for trip to Tonbridge is as follows:
1 Brad Cook, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Dave Manning, 4 Sam Lunnon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Tom Hall, 7 Marcus Lowe, 8 Alex Bradley,
9 Craig Goodfellow, 10 Roddy Giles, 11 George Griffiths, 12 Dan Barnes, 13 Xav Andre, 14 George Wood, 15 Ben Bolster
Replacements: , George Primett, Zak Clarke, Scott White,
Ross Parkins, Ryan O’Neill, Leo Webb
The only other Henley side in action on Saturday are the Vikings (3rd XV) who are home to Windsor 2nd XV, kick off 1.30pm.
The Henley Hawks Women have no game this week.